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Old 03-12-2014, 10:33   #1
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Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

Searching for my new (used) cruiser, I was hoping to get some quick thoughts and opinions on the advantages of a Center-Cockpit monohull. I've only sailed aft-cockpit, but I'm intrigued on the difference.

For context, consideration of the following:

  • Typical coastal cruising / island hopping (i.e. SW-FL, Keys, etc..) with an eventual seasonal hop down to BVI
  • Typically weekend use and 7-day use (i.e. not a full time live-aboard)
  • Around the 38-42 ft length
My questions are around a center-cockpit design:
  • Ease of single-handling vs Aft-Cockpit?
  • Any safety advantages or disadvantages?
  • Smaller cockpit, yes..but...what do you like/dislike about that?
  • Advantages or disadvantages with cabin space/layout?
  • Any specific models jump out in the 38-42ft range that you like?
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:56   #2
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

One advantage is the nice engine room with easy access. Not all have that as well as some. Also the big aft stateroom.
In mid cockpit I like the older (non fin keel) Halberg Rassy's for one. They are not your typical CC type though. The Waquiez Amphitrite 43 is a great boat, but getting dated and a little bit "pirate ship" to many people!
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:03   #3
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I'm on a gulfstar 47 center cockpit. Main differences:

High and dry
Fishing and BBQ off the aft. Your not bringing fish in the cockpit. Or banging your head on the grill while sailing.

For what you want to do and go. I would look at a cheap 37 ft Irwin. You could get one for about 30k good sturdy boat for your needs. It's what we started out on. Just got too small for the two of us living full time.
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:43   #4
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

For typical coastal cruising use I think a CC mono has many advantages over an AC mono. Some of which have been mentioned...also: aft deck space for haninging out and fishing, typically a roomier cockpit, roomier layout below decks compared to same LOA AC (Delivered a CC Beneteua 36 once on which this made a huge difference...like a whole different boat than its AC cousin).

Usually better visibility forward. Easier boarding into the cockpit...step on the deck and step up into the cockpit...rather than the duck and semi crawl routine common on most ACs with full enclosures.

Single handing is really about how a boat is set-up not whether its CC or AC. Cockpit layout of winches etc is normally about the same. Only disadvantage to single handing could be that some have substantial distance from cockpit combing to deck (Some Endeavors, Irwins...). What I've done single handing some CCs like this is just walk the cabin top if I need to go forward rather than climb up and down.

I agree, the Endeavor 37 would be a good boat to consider, very comfy and sails reasonably well.

I used to captain a Gulfstar 50 Mk II, it is one of the prettier CC's (aesthetics are not always one of the pluses of a CC), very roomy below, and sails quite well....dont know whether Gulfstar made CC's much closer to 40.

Some ketch rigged CCs even come with a stripper pole (compression post) in the aft cabin! Conveniently located right next to a nice big queen sized bunk! What other advantages do you need? ;-)
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:58   #5
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

Most of the main points I can think of have already been mentioned, but I will add the following:

Advantage: "Coziness/Security", somehow I feel very much more sheltered in the CC setup. I always feel like something is going to leap out of the water and nip me on the backside with aft cockpit boats. (This didn't have to be a rational list did it?)

Disadvantage: Sail trimming is harder, very difficult to get a good look at how the sails are drawing, I find myself moving to the after deck and leaning back to get a good enough view. I understand now why the racers have their great big wheels right at the stern.

Matt
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Old 03-12-2014, 13:43   #6
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

IMO, aft cockpits offer greater ease of access and egress. Definitely easier to sail the boat from, if you like the sailing part, as GILow says, easier to get a good view of the telltales. Also, it may be that for each person who feels the CC is "cozy", the AC afficionado will think it's "claustrophobic".

To the OP, see if you can get a ride on a few CC boats, and see how you like how the boat is for sailing, and also if it feels "chopped up" below, to you, or you like the ways the areas are kept separate. See what attracts you. Remember that most of your waking hours will not be spent in an aft cabin, which occupies much of the volume of the boat.

Ann
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Old 03-12-2014, 13:51   #7
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Remember that most of your waking hours will not be spent in an aft cabin, which occupies much of the volume of the boat.

Ann
Yes, our aft cabin is just being used as a storage room. I've only travelled there while under way once, and it was not great. At the time we had a lot of people on board, otherwise I would have slept in the deckhouse.

Matt
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Old 03-12-2014, 14:04   #8
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

The biggest disadvantage for me is that a CC often ruins the visual profile of the boat (e.g. the Tayana 42). Also the boom will often have to be higher, with all the disadvantages that go along with that. I will say that over time as I've seen more and more CC boats, my eye has adjusted a bit and some of them look quite acceptable to me.
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Old 03-12-2014, 14:20   #9
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

In a ~40' boat, the advantages of CC are:

potential for large aft cabin

potential for large aft deck on which to safely stow or assemble dinghy

close proximity to (main) mast for simpler controls

farther from engine exhaust noise

Disadvantages are:

greater windage

more roll motion for crew

higher center of effort and center of gravity

often requires unusually tall and steep entry ladder

generally much more difficult to design a good looking one.
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Old 03-12-2014, 14:37   #10
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

I have owned a Moody 38 CC and now a Moody 46CC. Others have discussed advantages/disadvantages, so I won't belabor those but add new information. Both my boats and most center cockpit boats have a steep companionway. That is a negative but it is offset by both my boats and most center cockpit boats having a center line, often queen size bed in the aft cabin. One can stand up in the aft cabin and get in and out of the bed without waking the spouse/SO. One can also make up the bed quite easily, something not so easy in a pullman or athwartships bed.

I know, these things sound quite minor but spend a week or two on the boat, and .... For coastal hops you will be sleeping at anchor, so the center line bed works well.

The other features are noted in other mails. Moody also makes a great 42' center cockpit. Not many around.
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Old 03-12-2014, 15:37   #11
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

So, there's a Hallberg Rassey that we were slipped next to for a while. It's a CC. pretty boat, not too sure about the inside or the condition of the sails, but I know she's for sale. I've not ever seen anyone on her. I don't claim to be an expert on CC vs stern cockpit, just my opinion. Here's the listing if you're interested.


Mustang Island Yachts (Rockport, TX)
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Old 03-12-2014, 17:12   #12
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

My older CC seems to be quite different from "newer" models, or so it appears after reading all these replies (newer would be anything built after 1964), so I'm not sure my post will be relevant to your concerns.
FWIW ..... My boat is a smaller LOA than most CCs, being 35 ft., the cockpit is huge and when using the full enclosure it's like having a 3rd cabin even in the worst weather. My freeboard is lower than many AC boats I see. The aft deck is called " the back porch" by the grandkids, and gets the radar, solar panels and wind gen well out of the way. There is even a bench seat that doubles as a prep table right at the grill. Sail trim and visibility is just fine even with the full enclosure up. Designed by Olin Stephens it has craploads of stowage and tankage. The aft cabin is kinda tight but very comfy, and imparts a higher degree of privacy to the cockpit and forward cabin when not underway.Engine room access is fantastic compared to the few AC boats I have had. I have no problem getting in or out of the cockpit. I gave only 10k for the boat and dinghy/outboard and after another 25k invested I feel she could go about anywhere anytime. Also safer for crew when sailing thru foul weather. You won't be dragged behind the boat by your tether should the big poop wave ever get you. My boom height is no higher than an AC boat of same LOA, so CE is placed quite nicely, thank you.
Gotta love 'em.
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Old 03-12-2014, 17:22   #13
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
IMO, aft cockpits offer greater ease of access and egress. Definitely easier to sail the boat from, if you like the sailing part, as GILow says, easier to get a good view of the telltales.
Ann
I am with Ann on this personal choice... I also like AC when Med docking as you can better see and help with the stern tie.

One of my favorite features of my layout is a "walk in" aft cockpit

It keeps the crew's feet on deck when moving about in a seaway
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Old 03-12-2014, 17:42   #14
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

I think one of the key qualifiers should be that there are two different types of CC boat that I have seen.

In ours, you get to the aft cabin via a passageway below decks, but I know of a couple where the aft cabin is accessed directly from the cockpit. For instance, I saw a Ted Brewer design of the latter arrangement, and I have to say, just from looking, it seemed rather nice and I was a touch envious.

The passageway on our boat is kind of dead space, yes, there is some storage capability, but it just does not feel like an efficient use of the space. So that's a good 8 or 10 feet that might have been used in a better way with the aft cabin accessed from the cockpit. On the opposite side to the passageway on our boat, for instance, is the best below decks cabin on the boat, and the one everyone fights for. (Except me, I like the deckhouse.)

Counter to this, the couple on the Ted Brewer design said they did not use the aft cabin much, but I cannot remember why this was and whether or not it had anything to do with the access from the cockpit.

Matt
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Old 03-12-2014, 18:36   #15
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Re: Advantages of a Center Cockpit?

The answer depends on the boat size & layout. Our center cockpit is on a ketch. Aft cockpit means you get to stare at the mizzen mast. Our boat is 58 feet. Standing aft makes it a very long way to the bow & hard to see what is happening. Center makes it easy to lead lines to the central location. With a center, you probably get a laxerette. The center layout raises the crew - the ride is mostly dryer. Center is way closer to the gally
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