Well, here's a different opinion;
We have chosen aft cockpit
sloop/cutter rigged cruising boats every time. Why? Well, we believe that using something like 30 or 35% of the internal volume of a cruising yacht for a sleeping compartment (AKA "great aft cabin") where one spends 8 hours a day asleep is wasteful. C/c aft cabin
boats suffer from smaller saloons and galley
areas than similar sized aft cockpit
boats due to the huge aft cabin
, and those are the areas where one spends one's waking hours if below decks. Further, many c/cockpits are pretty small, and the high location does increase the amplitude of motion at sea. The commonly expressed safety
from boarding seas issue is overstated IMO. We've done a lot of sea miles in our aft cockpit boats and never had the cockpit filled... never! Spray and slop, yes, but filling or flooding, nope!
room? Well, some aft cockpit boats have superb engine
access... like ours does. The engine lives under a large counter in the galley
. Counter is on hinges, and when tilted up, one has 360 degree, full head
room access to the engine.. lots better than the "engine rooms" we've seen on some c/c cruisers. No space for a gen set, but then we've never wanted one of those!
As to rig... we're kinda performance oriented sailors, and in the size range under consideration (<50 feet) the quoted advantages of the ketch
, shorter masts, ease of reducing sail etc) are outweighed by the better performance afforded by the single mast
configurations. With good furling gear
the foresails are not routinely handed at sea, so that their size isn't an issue. There are various reefing schemes available for main sails
that reduce the effort required there, all the way to in-mast or boom furling
If one's sailing grounds include the ICW
, the mast
height can be an issue, and in that specific case, and in the 45+ foot range a ketch
might be an advantage.
In the end, all this advice offered by others is not of much significance to you. You must make your own decisions based on your own needs and preferences. My suggestions and those offered above really reflect our own prejudices and situations; yours are unique and you alone can decide on the boat design that best meets your needs and wants.
Good luck with your decision.