Mailport: May 2012
In regards to “Cockpits Take Center Stage” (PS, April 2012): From a purely cruiser perspective, can I suggest that your article left out several very important aspects of cockpit use?
1. Center cockpits deal with fish blood and guts much better than do stern cockpits. Fishing and boat management should be two separate and distinct tasks, each with its own space.
2. When at anchor in an idyllic tropical anchorage, the biting bugs come out just when you are sitting in the cockpit enjoying the sunset and an adult beverage. We solved that problem by having a mosquito net cover, weighted all around the bottom, that I throw over the dodger. It completely encloses us in bug-proof, cooling-breeze accessible comfort.
3. We have one wheel, and it is less than two feet in diameter. Why have a bigger wheel when it is used only for entering and leaving port? Autopilots rule. That allows so much more of the cockpit to be used for living and entertaining, the reasons we cruise.
4. The ability to comfortably sleep in the cockpit when in port or during a passage cannot be over-rated.
5. Because our cockpit can be fully enclosed, we took our foul-weather gear out of the locker for the first time when we completed our six-year circumnavigation. Weather and sun protection, while in port or at sea, add considerably to the enjoyment of all.
6. The cockpit has to allow space for radar, VHF, wind, depth and other instruments, autopilot controls, engine instrumentation, compass, etc., to be seen and accessed from a position behind the wheel. There are times when immediate access to all of these, by one person, is a serious necessity.
Dolphin Spirit, Mason 53
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