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Old 21-03-2009, 15:24   #1
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Center cockpit vrs aft cockpit

I would like some members to explain to me the advantages and disadvantages of each.

A center cockpit Hunter Passage 42 or a Beneteau 423. One would be center and one would be aft.

Would someone explain the sailing differences. Thanks James

or refer me to where it was talked about here before..
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Old 21-03-2009, 15:53   #2
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Panama James, Colon calling here ;-)

Basically: if you want a large bedroom (as opposed to cabin) with full queen sized or larger bed, side couches and mirrors on the ceiling, you'll need a center cockpit. For that, you also get:

1. You're up higher where the effects of rolling are higher, so less comfort.
2. You're further forward so closer to spray, so less comfort.
3. Your steering wheel is further from the rudder, leading to more expensive steering systems or less "feel" on the rudder.
4. You have more deck behind you, so less chance that a breaker on the stern will flood the cockpit. But the chance is still there so washboards should be deployed anyway.

With an aft cockpit, you have none of the above. You also have more chance you find a nice swim-platform etc.

cheers,
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Old 21-03-2009, 16:02   #3
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Nick on Jedi makes some excellent obsevations, but the space with the larger cabin is not always a consequence of the center cockpit. You need to consider that a center cockpit occupies a wider area of beam than the aft cocpit & if the design includes a "hallway" of otherwise useless space to pass the cockipt below, there is some space loss to consider.
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Old 21-03-2009, 16:17   #4
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Panama James, Colon calling here ;-)

Basically: if you want a large bedroom (as opposed to cabin) with full queen sized or larger bed, side couches and mirrors on the ceiling, you'll need a center cockpit. For that, you also get:

1. You're up higher where the effects of rolling are higher, so less comfort.
2. You're further forward so closer to spray, so less comfort.
3. Your steering wheel is further from the rudder, leading to more expensive steering systems or less "feel" on the rudder.
4. You have more deck behind you, so less chance that a breaker on the stern will flood the cockpit. But the chance is still there so washboards should be deployed anyway.

With an aft cockpit, you have none of the above. You also have more chance you find a nice swim-platform etc.

cheers,
Nick.
Sorry I have to disagree but while a centre cockpit is higher but not much it is significantly closer to the centre of the boat which has a far greater effect on comfort. Easily tested by trying to sleep in the aft stateroom in a sea way which is very low down. You will find the centre of the boat is the most comfortable. As for keeping dry a good dodger on either design keep you dry. Have you ever tried to sleep on a hot tropical night under the cockpit in your average rear cockpit boat?
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Old 21-03-2009, 16:21   #5
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Until now I've only owned aft cockpit boats. We're just in the process of buying our first CC. An Island Trader (CT41) Center Cockpit. All of s/v Jedi's points are excellent and we considered them all beforehand. We still came to the conclusion that it was worth it. In this particular boat, the passage to the aft cabin is made useful by placing the galley there. Often, but not alwys you're closer to the pivot point (lengthwise) in a center cockpit, so more comfort. You also get an extra "room" where you can put unwanted guests and lock the door Another big drawback of CC is that often, external stowage is limited or non existant.

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Old 21-03-2009, 16:46   #6
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In a Beneteau the main cabin is located forward so no worries about ventelation in the back of the boat. Another question.

Which boat is more advantageous security wise when the bad boys come aboard at night?
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Old 21-03-2009, 18:22   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panamajames View Post
In a Beneteau the main cabin is located forward so no worries about ventelation in the back of the boat. Another question.

Which boat is more advantageous security wise when the bad boys come aboard at night?
The one that has an alert Skipper with a .12 gauge shotgun.
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Old 21-03-2009, 18:28   #8
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In a Beneteau the main cabin is located forward so no worries about ventelation in the back of the boat. Another question.

Which boat is more advantageous security wise when the bad boys come aboard at night?
The one with the biggest captain aboard and with the strongest doors/wash-boards in the companionway. The idea that bad boys skip center cockpits because of more difficult boarding doesn't even make me laugh after some cocktails. It's just silly.

When you are rolling, the pivot-point is along the length of the boat and it doesn't matter if you're on the bow or on the stern. It matters if you're closer to that pivot point and that's located close to the cabin sole. The higher up, the less comfort. When I'm in an aft-cockpit, my feet are what, 1-2' above the waterline. For center cockpit, it is much higher, my guess is 4-5' at least.

I agree that the stuffy cabins under an aft cockpit aren't great and we are very happy that we don't have that (the engine room is under there).

At sea, we prefer sleeping in the salon (nice looking round couch around the salon table is no good for sleeping) or the pilothouse. In nice weather I prefer the cockpit!

And also: the beds in an aft cabin are higher than further forward because the hull shape forces you to go higher for the same width. Some old salt sailors even sleep on the salon floor, but we are too spoiled for that ;-)

A dodger on a center cockpit is a necessity; on an aft-cockpit it is a luxury but I agree still needed for cruising.

Did we talk about height of the main boom yet? It's higher off the water on a center cockpit which is bad.

The reasons for center cockpits are all about the interior.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 21-03-2009, 19:15   #9
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Can we talk about something a little less emotionally charged, like religion or politics?

Ours is a CC with a pilothouse. It's nice to be able to see the bow. Its nice to have both staterooms separated by most of the boat. Feels more private with guests aboard. Remember that 80%+ of cruising is at anchor or in a slip. Choose a comfortable live aboard. When you row away from these two boats in your dink, which boat will make your heart skip a beat?
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Old 21-03-2009, 20:16   #10
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Can we talk about something a little less emotionally charged, like religion or politics?

Ours is a CC with a pilothouse. It's nice to be able to see the bow. Its nice to have both staterooms separated by most of the boat. Feels more private with guests aboard. Remember that 80%+ of cruising is at anchor or in a slip. Choose a comfortable live aboard. When you row away from these two boats in your dink, which boat will make your heart skip a beat?
I agree about the emotion. I am not a centre cockpit evangelist unlike our rear cockpit mate. I would think that a 40ft or longer boat set up for liveaboard cruising suits a centre cockpit design. Less than 40ft I would stick to rear cockpit mainly because interior advantages are lost in the shorter boats. Yes the higher you go the more movement but on most centre cockpits this height difference is not enough to make it a real issue unless you are trying to win an argument. The big difference is in the see saw effect of being further away from the mast (centre of the boat). Why when sleeping in the rear compartment did it feel like riding the big dipper at the show, while sleeping in the sea berth beside the mast was like heaven even though they were the same height?
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Old 21-03-2009, 21:04   #11
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Chris , I always find an anchor discussion very soothing myself
Nick don't you think you are generalising a little too much, you cannot categorise all centre cockpit boats using the Hunter type as a model. And after all I always thought the S64 was centre cockpit boat which an aft cockpit yacht landed on the stern deck - nice yacht by the way.
But seriously, have a look in Steve's book at "Beach Party" for a real nice CC yacht, with none of the problems you suggest - of course I am biased, my yacht is the original to the design. Cockpit floor about 18" above waterline, aft bunk no more than 1' above the waterline. And a nice low boom!
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Old 21-03-2009, 21:21   #12
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CC steering complication? What about late model aft cockpit boats with twin steering, I think this would be a whole lot more complicated with more to go wrong. Please do not start rubbishing late model boats as that will start a bigger battle of the egos
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Old 21-03-2009, 21:30   #13
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The main reason I like a center cockpit is the private aft cabin. With guests aboard it gives a lot more space to owner and friends. Also I have not found an aft cockpit boat under 48-50' or so that has a "good" owners cabin that is not the forepeak. Living in FL where everything tropical is upwind (except Mexico and then it is upwind to get home). I learned early on that the forepeak is not useable when beating. Also, I don't like sleeping in the living room or kitchen of my house and prefer not to sleep in the main salon or galley on a boat so that pretty much leaves an aft cabin.

I have looked at some aft cockpit/aft cabin designs, but the few aft cockpit boats I have seen had the stateroom crammed up under the cockpit or a very small cabin tucked into a corner (anyone know a good aft/aft design 39'-43' I am interested).

I have not found the aft cabin uncomfortable at sea on the two center cockpit boats I lived on though one crew member turned green everytime she went aft.

Another advantage of a center cockpit is much better visibility when docking. Years ago I owned an old 65' steel ketch with an aft cockpit and felt like I needed binoculars and a forward observer to keep track of the bowsprit.

As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of center cockpit boats do look a bit tubby (unless you go with something like the Alden 55 - drool, drool). However as I have gotten older I find I am more willing to give up some good looks for a little comfort (not referring at all to the admiral for all of you degenerates out there trying to read a double entendre into my remarks).
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Old 21-03-2009, 22:56   #14
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Center Cockpits

If you look in most of the anchorages around the world, the cruising boats 45' and over seem to be center cockpit, which would say something for the cruising choices. I've never owned one but the only disadvantage I really see is getting off/on while single handing. But, in that respect how often does a 45'er dock single handed.

As for motion, pitching would seem more comfortable but rolling would not. When my wife starts feeling woozy she usually heads below and towards the mast step on the keel. That's where she does the best in the rough.

We have an aft cockpit but it's slightly forward of most. I still have 4' of sloping transom behind me at the helm.

And for ventilation of the aft berth I have a pair of opening portals that open into the cockpit bulkheads, which is nice for venting out motor heat. I'm not sure I would like a full aft cabin. There is a lot of machinery back there that needs constant maintenance, or at least to keep an eye on.

Our aft berth is only used when at anchor or docked, otherwise we use the berths in the solon P/S.

FYI-Please don't get me wrong! This post is not about me and mine, but just to be informative.
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Old 21-03-2009, 23:29   #15
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the last two post say it all, I would only add that when looking for cc boats make sure the aft stateroom is useable eg height etc
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