OK, I've owned both aft and CC boats, there are pros and cons for both, it really depends on what you want them for.
I now have knee high sea boots since the shorty bots got filled once when I got pooped in an aft cockpit boat with just enough water
to get about an inch above the top of the boots, the rest of me was dry due to good foulies but my feet were cold and squishy for the next few hours, that's never happened on my CC boat.
Yes there's a bit more roll in beam seas in a CC but not enough to get cranky about.
I preferred the feel of most of the aft cockpit but that had more to do with the overall design of the hull
and rig. The CC is definitely a cruising design but is an early performance cruiser design so I didn't give up that much.
Do I like the aft cabin
for long term livability? You betcha, I spent enough years nose to nose with my wife in the v-berth to know that love does not conquer all, especially if you snore like a chainsaw like I do.
At one time I swore I'd never own a CC due to the higher center of effort, increased roll in the cockpit, etc, etc, but then we decided to make a plan to step off with the kids
and suddenly the CC made sense.
I do agree that under 40' it becomes a really big compromise and doesn't make as much sense, but again, it's all personal preference.
I don't get any more spray in the cockpit in the CC than I did in the aft cockpit boats I've had, if your going upwind in snotty conditions you better have a dodger
(soft or hard) or your going to eat a lot of salt water
. So far I've found the CC to be dryer in general, but again that's a generalization and depends on the boat, some AC's are dry, some wet, I'm sure that holds for CC's too, my current
one just happens to be dry.
After going to boat shows for years (new and used) and looking at everything under the sun with my wife we were able to better define what it is that both of us wanted out of our long term (and distance) boat. With that in hand it took another three years of looking to find a used boat
we could afford that would fit our needs. She wanted the interior
and comfort points, storage
and entertaining space (hey, if your gonna live on it why not) I didn't want a barge that didn't sail well. We found both in this boat.
If you like the layout, if it fits your needs go for it. The Bendy's in the cruising range sail well enough for the most part, I'm not sure with that particular model since I haven't sailed one but have sailed other Bendy's in that size range, and they did have a decent layout from what I can remember on the CC Bendy's I've been on, so if it's right for you, what the heck, go for it.
Did you try any Bene owners sites to ask other owners? I do know that when I bought the latest boat the owner group was a good resource and they were pretty honest with the good and bad points of the boat.
I think the questions that would be more pertinent to your search would be does it have enough storage for our needs? Equipment
included? Sail inventory? ETC, etc.
We are stepping off in a few years and will probably end up owning this boat for 10 or so but I do know when we're done with this phase I'll probably go back to an aft cockpit boat in a smaller size, but that will be for coastal cruising and club racing
. All depends on what your doing.