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Old 29-06-2009, 16:19   #1
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Prefer Center or Aft Cockpit?

I am daydreaming about when I can finally buy my boat and start my adventure. I have never sailed a center cockpit and was wondering what you prefer and why. What advantages does the center cockpit have?

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Old 29-06-2009, 16:23   #2
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Center cocpits have several advantages.........
Very roomy aft cabin
much dryer while underway
higher for inproved visability
most centers have a larger cockpit than aft cockpits
easier to totally enclose cocpit area for inclement weather
not to mention sexy looking..........

Do not go where the path may lead.........
go instead where there is no path........
and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Old 29-06-2009, 18:34   #3
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I prefer the cc for cruising for all the reasons above but prefer the AC for racing. You can see around the genoa easier and see all sails at once. I don't race any more and have a CC now.
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Old 29-06-2009, 18:37   #4
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I like center cockpits.
More central to the entire boat affords easier access to the mast & foredeck.
less motion.
Drier generally.
But, I think it's one of those personal preference issues if your used to aft cockpits a person probably gets used to that orientation as well.
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Old 30-06-2009, 07:30   #5
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Wow. Starting an arguement?

We have a center cockpit. However, it's all about the boat. Having a center cockpit gives the Admiral her Palace. And that's why we have a center cockpit boat. We didn't even look at an aft cockpit boat.
Bill Streep
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Old 30-06-2009, 07:55   #6
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Smaller boats are not well suited to Aft cockpits. I perfer the aesthetics of an aft cockpit though many of them are not comfy with small benches and a humped up helmen's seat.

Here is Shiva's cockpit (helm removed as I had just completed the rebuild) and you can see how it is large and provides lots lot seating and stretch out space. With the cushions you can really get comfy.

It's quite dry because (I suppose) we have a high freeboard and the visibility is no problem and of course the sail control lines are all convenient. I think this is a successful design.

I don't sit at the helm and so the raised seat is not necessary. I stand there and it's usually to come along side or depart a dock or pick up a mooring. Sailing up wind I sit on the coaming anyway when the A/P is not steering.

A large dry comfy cockpit is the main living space and one key to a good design.
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Old 30-06-2009, 08:12   #7
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Putting personal preferences aside, the differences you should consider are:

CC generally has a smaller salon, smaller cockpit with less available storage and a larger aft cabin
CC generally has aft boom sheeting
CC generally has a better view/perspective when docking
CC generally has a "galley" galley
CC virtually all require more climbing to get into the cockpit which is only an issue for those with limited mobility.

All of these differences tend to become minimized as WL increases above 50 ft.
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Old 30-06-2009, 08:29   #8
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this is Rhosyn mor, she does not look like a center cockpit, but she is
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Old 30-06-2009, 08:43   #9
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the biggest advantage is the aft cabin.

there's some evidence that they are slightly less stable than an equivalent aft cockpit. I haven't seen any hard evidence of that, but it seems plausible.

Aesthetically speaking, I think an aft cockpit looks better, but that's subjective.

Full disclosure: I have aft cockpit and have no strong preference either way.
Voyage of Symbiosis:
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:14   #10
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Center cockpit boats are generally bigger boats. The layout doesn't work optimally on boats less than about 44', smaller ones look like wedding cakes and the passageways below can be tight. The motion in the cockpit tends to be better on the center cockpit boats, there is obviously is more space and headroom below. Docking when short handed can be more difficult as it is a longer trip to the docklines from the cockpit
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:43   #11
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Aloha AKCoastie,
I have sailed on many boats with each configuration. I boat sat for a Celestial 46 cc and have sailed interisland on it and a Cal 2-46. I did some round the island cruising on a 55 foot schooner with a cc. I crossed the Pacific in my aft cockpit Mariner and have done a lot of instructing in many aft cockpit boats.
I much prefer the aft cockpit.
I like the visibility of all the gear/sails/rigging and safety of crew from the aft station while sailing with my eyes forward.
I like being able to get to the rudder post without going below.
I like not having to worry about long steering cables and hydraulic hoses.
I like being closer to the water so I can catch a bucket full from time to time.
I like the ease of access while med moored and the short climb from dockside.
And, I like the looks of aft cockpit boats.
Kind regards,
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:49   #12
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aft... nested between the two hulls ... :>)
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Old 30-06-2009, 12:26   #13
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it's a simple question of... close you want to be to the splashy part of the boat.

Something you learn pretty quickly on race crews: the more smart you are, the more aft you sit. (And the more aft you sit, the more dry you stay.)
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
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Old 30-06-2009, 15:17   #14
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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Something you learn pretty quickly on race crews: the more smart you are, the more aft you sit. (And the more aft you sit, the more dry you stay.)
.... right untill some smarta%$ crew figures out that, in the right spot and under the right conditions, you can utterly soak the helmsman by letting your boot just skim the water.


The sea is always beautiful, sometimes mysterious and, on occasions, frighteningly powerful.
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Old 30-06-2009, 16:49   #15
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Interested in your comments. I am about to change our 36 ft cutter from centre to aft cockpit (Steel boat so not too involved). I find the aft cabin too difficult to access, and the centre cockpit catches all the spray. In addition, the aft cab is full width, and often if she catches a wave on the weather deck, that water gets dammed up by the cabin and spills into the cockpit. I built the cabin for our daughter when she was a little girl, and she's 28 now.
Does anyone know of any good sites dealing with the basics of cockpit design? Regards, Richard.

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center cockpit

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