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Old 08-11-2012, 21:24   #1
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Aft vs. Center cockpit?

What do you prefer?
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Old 08-11-2012, 21:57   #2
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Both have advantages. However, as is in most things, a person's personal preference comes into play.

I own a pair of CM 32'S. One aft cabin and one aft cockpit. For me, it is hands down in favor of the aft cabin. The center cockpit is in the middle of things, and the helm steering over the tiller steering on the other boat is also prefered.

Having two separate cabins is also a plus. The main cabin is a little smaller to pull off an additional aft cabin, but we do not seem to notice the reduction of room. Same everything, just a little more compact.

Part of why you choose a dance partner is not how they dance, but how that look on the dance floor. I think the aft cabin, center cockpit sailboats look better. IMHO. They also are more conducive to being set up as ketch rigs, which mine is.

The cockpit on my aft cabin is smaller than the aft cockpit, but sailing with just my wife and I, and two small dogs, it is plenty big.

I sail from a perch on the aft cabin deck. Nice high place to sit (or stand) to see everything well, facing forward. Much prefer this, over sitting sideways sailing a boat. The mizzen mast and rigging gives hand holds and back support to make the time on the water comfortable.

Thumbs up for the center cockpit.
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Old 08-11-2012, 22:35   #3
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

There have been many discussions on this subject. try these links.
Center Cockpit Sailboats and Blue Water Cruising
Center Cockpit Cruisers
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Old 08-11-2012, 23:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozskipper
There have been many discussions on this subject. try these links.
Center Cockpit Sailboats and Blue Water Cruising
Center Cockpit Cruisers
Thanks for posting those. Once a site gets so large, every topic has been hashed out before. Nice to start new threads with new insights.

I just read all the posts in your first link. Interesting comments.

One comment said all the wives would be jealous of the private aft bedroom, while another comment in the second link said the wife might not like the smaller main cabin.

It all boils down to preference.

Some of the comments said the CC sailboats got more spray in the cockpit. I have noticed none of that. In fact, in a year and a half of sailing, we have never gotten wet once.
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Old 09-11-2012, 00:25   #5
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

Not underway / at the dock: center cockpit.

Sailing: aft cockpit.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:16   #6
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

If I were in the market again I'd probably get a center cockpit but not just any of course. I've lusted after Amels for sometime and I think they do a great job with their center cockpits, not too high but high enough that you have the advantages of a better view of things, easier access to the foredeck and the mainsail and more protection from the elements. I don't see much disadvantage to the cc's if they aren't too high and butt ugly like some are.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:30   #7
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

My ideal for blue water would be a small centre cockpit, and a second steering position on the transom scoop, the latter for going to windward in heavy weather, and for picking up moorings single handed.

This implies a horizontal steering shaft passing fore and aft through the aft cabin, which makes it very easy to have a third steering location in that cabin for really nasty weather.

It's good to be as far aft as possible when going upwind in a breeze, because sheets of semi-solid spray blow diagonally across the boat, each time the bow dips deep.

Depending on other aspects of boat design and the presence or absence of a strong dodger, a centre cockpit can feel a bit like camping out in a white water rapid on such occasions.

An aft cockpit is often relatively dry, because by the time it gets to where the bow dipped, the water has all travelled sideways one boat width.

My rationale for keeping the cockpit small is that it is not really used that much offshore, certainly not for large parties. It also takes up less prime real estate (which is a problem with big centre cockpits) and holds less water during the time it takes to drain (in stability terms, a bad place for so much mass, high above the centre of gravity)

However in my opinion it needs to be long enough for the tallest crew to be able to lie full length in the cockpit, even in small boats. (Arguably, especially in small boats, where someone might have to sleep out, particularly at anchor with lots of guests and not enough bunks). Offshore, one reason for lying in the cockpit, if conditions and temperature allows: a lot of people take a day or two to get over seasickness and then come right. Avoiding going below during this period can be a good option: many people only succumb when below-decks.

Naturally such a person should remain harnessed at all times, even asleep.
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Old 09-11-2012, 14:00   #8
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

I have the aft cabin Norsea 27. The aft cabin makes extended time on board a small boat more pleasurable. You get a bit of separation from others on board and a cozy place to curl up with a book.

When in heavy seas the cockpit doesn't pitch as much, easier riding, and in my case a really long tiller which helps with my weather helm. You are also nearer to all of the sheets and halyards when single handing.
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Old 09-11-2012, 14:07   #9
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As with a lot of these topics i guess it comes down to size and intended use. I prefer the idea of centre cockpit for safety at sae and separation of the cabins. That's me planning on extended cruising. On a smaller yacht I might opt for rear cockpit for spray while beating into the wind and better use of space below up front... Horses for courses.
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Old 09-11-2012, 14:16   #10
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

For cruising use, I think a center cockpit mono has advantages: lots of aft deck space for fishing etc, Aft cabin....
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Old 09-11-2012, 14:19   #11
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

when I first started looking at boats I was drawn to the centre cockpit for the aft berth

but now I realize that the cost of space in the salon where more living activity goes on makes the aft cockpit better

And there are aft cockpit boats tht have a pretty big aft berth (like mine). And depending on the boat size you can get a nice forward centerline berth in an aft cockpit boat (takes about a 46' to make it work out)
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Old 09-11-2012, 14:28   #12
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryMayo View Post
Some of the comments said the CC sailboats got more spray in the cockpit. I have noticed none of that. In fact, in a year and a half of sailing, we have never gotten wet once.
Uhhh, Gary, you might remember that some folks sail in the ocean where the waves can be a bit larger than on a lake...

Cheers,

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Old 09-11-2012, 15:40   #13
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Not underway / at the dock: center cockpit.

Sailing: aft cockpit.
Exactly -- I just don't like the way a center cockpit exaggerates motion.

I've only done a few thousand miles of calm passages on a ~50' center cockpit design, but it was enough to know that I much prefer the feel at sea of the 40' aft cockpit I had taken much further. Maybe other center cockpit designs feel better, but I'm not sure. I think the key difference is that when the center of motion is far beneath your feet, rolling and pitching feels like swinging through space.
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Old 09-11-2012, 15:41   #14
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

Obviously, a center cockpit is farther forward, taking more spray going to weather, but that's what a good dodger is for. We like being higher off the water in the center cockpit and REALLY love having a center line queen sized bed (no custom mattress needed) and 6'+ headroom in the aft stateroom. Center cockpit certainly makes weaving one's way through reefs and docking much easier and it is the most comfortable place to be aboard as the ends move more than the center and it has the most beam.
We certainly feel much safer in following seas, with less chance of being pooped and having the cockpit fill up with water.
It also gives two areas of privacy with the salon and galley between for living aboard and a lot of center cockpit boats have more accessible engine room space under the cockpit, rather than a lot of panels or hatches for access.
A center cockpit boat may carry more beam farther forward, making the aft cockpit boat a better performer to windward, but generally exceptional windward performance is not high on the list of necessities for a cruiser's boat.
With the higher freeboard and less shear, many center cockpit boats are not as esthetically pleasing as their aft cockpit counterparts, but this to me is also very low on the list of truly important items that make a great cruising boat.
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Old 09-11-2012, 16:10   #15
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Re: Aft vs. Center cockpit?

Well, first boat was a 29' aft cockpit. Second boat is a 42' centre cockpit. I think the centre cockpits taking more spray is a valid comment but this can be negated by a good dodger / canopy which I regard as a cruising essential anyway. The helm position is higher although on our particular boat which is very stiff it is not an issue. At anchor I think the aft cockpit is more user friendly in the cockpit area when entertaining, the centre cockpit seems nicer at anchor when you are downstairs, although this can depend on the particular design layout. I do find the the centre cockpit harder to tie up when short handed in a crosswind as the helmsmen can't just reach across with the stern line. No concept is better than the other, just be sure to choose whatever your wife likes best!
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