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Old 22-11-2010, 13:44   #1
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Center or Aft Cockpit ?

For sometime now we (my wife Samdy and I) have been researching the best yacht to cruise around the world. We have limited experience (but are learning fast) I am ex Royal Navy, my wife a landlubber until recently. We have been living on boats (power, not sail) for the last 6+ years. We have caught fire once out at sea and survived physically and emotionally intact. We have sought advice, read a library and have come to the conclusion that the best boat is a compromise. So what do we want?
1. something costing less than 60K UK pounds.
2. 38 to 40 feet LOA (Accomodation for us and to allow our two grown up children, husbands, wives and maybe later children to visit in reasonable comfort: room for a generator, a watermaker, stores, safety equipment everything we own - we do not have a house).
3. A boat that will be easily handled by two and able to be handled by one weaker crew member with li,ited strength.
4. survivable on a cruising income of 1000 uk pounds per month with an emergency fund of 20k.
5. Able to explore the coasts of the world but cross the oceans to get there
6. Safe - reliable- will forgive me when (not if) i make a mistake.

A tall order.
We have read and talked to many - famous and unknown and I have come to the conclusion that I need a bilge, deep fin keeled yacht, medium displacement, steel, GRP, old, modern cruiser, a Beneauteau, Moody, Westerly, Endurance, etc...
Yes you get the message - I'm as confused as when I started. One question that seems to be poorly covered though is the choice between centre cockpit and aft cockpit.
What are the advantages and disavantages of these designs for serious blue water cruising?
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Old 22-11-2010, 13:55   #2
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It might not be worthwhile to use this cockpit placement among your purchasing criteria. Some might suggest that this cockpit placement will determine headroom, windage, salt spray exposure, engine room size, cabin privacy, comfort and more; however, all these potentials vary with designs.
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Old 22-11-2010, 14:04   #3
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This is the point. I am trying to find out the advantages and disavvantages of each. Many of the designs we like are centre cockpit - they give a good doulbe aft cabin, nav station, storage, sea berth, yet others say to me that they are not good in heavy weather. Hopefully enough sailors on this forum have experience that I can learn from.

PS - why does my photo in my profie not display?
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Old 22-11-2010, 14:06   #4
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The larger the boat, the more a center cockpit makes sense. And vice versa. I really don't get why someone would want to sit closer to the bow on a 40-footer--isn't the point to get away from all that splashy stuff? By the same token, on a 70-footer an aft cockpit really wouldn't make sense--you'll be so far away from the action that you'll never know you ran over a crab pot until it has wrapped around your prop.

On a 40-footer, a center cockpit will diminish performance in terms both of increased windage and a higher center of gravity. On a 70-footer, the deleterious effects of the center cockpit will be unnoticed on all but the out-and-out racers.
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Old 22-11-2010, 14:07   #5
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I too have been wondering about center vs. aft cockpits... and why my avatar is pictureless despite upload!
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Old 22-11-2010, 14:11   #6
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Searanger,

Maybe check out this thread.

There are advocates on both sides. The center cockpit concept seems to work better on larger boats, but maybe you can find one you like in the 38-40 ft range.
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Old 22-11-2010, 14:17   #7
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Gonna spend a lotta time at sea? Go aft cockpit. Drier, less violence there.
Center cockpit is about jamming more accommodation into a boat. Not nessessarily a bad thing. The downside of center is actually sailing the boat.
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Old 22-11-2010, 15:44   #8
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Have both

Why not just have both like my new ketch.
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Old 22-11-2010, 15:52   #9
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Beautiful design Bob! I assume there is a steering wheel in that center cockpit also? I can't really tell.

Is this one going into production? It looks like a classic to me.
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Old 22-11-2010, 16:03   #10
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Trav:
There is no wheel in the CC. We discussed it but in the end went with one wheel aft.

We are doing this as a custom project but PSC is bidding on it so anything could happen.
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Old 22-11-2010, 16:08   #11
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after about 42 feet it's just hard to beat the space of a center cockpit, just my opinion
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Old 22-11-2010, 16:25   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Searanger50 View Post
We have read and talked to many - famous and unknown and I have come to the conclusion that I need a bilge, deep fin keeled yacht, medium displacement, steel, GRP, old, modern cruiser, a Beneauteau, Moody, Westerly, Endurance, etc...
Yes you get the message - I'm as confused as when I started. One question that seems to be poorly covered though is the choice between centre cockpit and aft cockpit.
Made me laugh, i'm in a similar position to yourselves, I'm presently (hopefully) selling my motoryacht to get back into sailing for some adventures next year and have been going through some of the same discoveries that you no doubt have, so i'll share what i've learned so far.

If you want some decent room and a half decent 2nd cabin for the kids, you're looking at 38-40ft plus in size. For the budget you have, you'll be looking at an older boat as i'm sure you've guessed, probably late '80's on average. There are some bargains from the '90's out there but most i've found will be 'charter spec' and so have 3 tiny double cabins instead of 'owner's spec', one small (bow) and one larger cabin at the rear. An 'owners spec' boat will be far more livable for a couple like yourselves so that would be my first reccomendation.

Like has been said, center cockpits are nice over 40ft and you get less pitching movement too making a more comfortable ride. However, aft cockpits are easier to moor up and drier.

Water maker, do you really need one? In an older boat, if one is already fitted, it'll no doubt need servicing and fitting a new one will make a BIG dent in your budget, we're talking 5k upwards for a decent system so i'd put that to one side if I were you. They only really come into their own for ocean crossings, coastal cruising you'll have plenty of marinas to top up from.

Generator, again, do you need one? They're noisy, cost money to run, add weight to the boat and take up space. Invest in a couple of solar panels, a decent wind generator and a good inverter and you should have all the electric you need. You can easily run a decent microwave, TV, DVD, etc. off an inverter. Spend the money on the above and a decent set of deep cycle batteries instead of a nasty, smelly genny any day.

As for the rest of the boat, no one here can give you an exact answer, its down to personal taste. At that sort of age, its a bit like buying an old car. The way it has been maintained and used is FAR more important than the name on the side, IMHO. I'd rather buy a well looked after 15 year old Ford than a 5 year old Merc' that has been abused for example.

My best advise is to keep asking questions. I've found this forum a hugely valuable resource so don't be afraid to ask. Good luck in your search!
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Old 22-11-2010, 18:23   #13
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Well, there they are,- many strong opinions about the center and aft cockpits, but all with exceptions. As an example, my 41' center cockpit Morgan ketch is sharing a finger pier with a 31' aft cabin Hunter. The 31' aft cabin has a freeboard ten inches higher than the center cockpit 41'. The cabin top of the 31' is also far higher than the highest points on the deck of the 41' center cockpit. I'll repeat that it will be best to judge the individual boats and not to expect a pervasive character of a boat with a center or aft cockpit.
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Old 22-11-2010, 19:48   #14
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Quote:
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However, aft cockpits are easier to moor up and drier.
Could you explain your reasoning? It seems to me that canvas arrangement has a bigger impact on ease of mooring than cockpit location. Also, while my CC is one of the driest boats I have ever sailed, I think arrangement of dodgers and sea hoods has a bigger impact than cockpit location.
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Old 23-11-2010, 03:39   #15
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Just the simple fact that you're further away from any breaking waves, so less spray in your face. There's not a huge difference for sure. As for mooring, here in the Med', stern too mooring is the norm so it does help to be right at the back when mooring up.
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