You feel protected from the elements thrown at you over the front of the boat.
You are lower down and so you don't roll through as big an arc as the boat rolls.
Some people say its easier to steer/park from back aft.
Makes aft cabins difficult to include decent headroom. (Lots of black holes in aft cockpit boats claiming to be airy cabins)
You are higher up and roll through a bigger arc.
Some people find steering/parking the boat more difficult.
Usually there because its made room for an aft cabin with lots of headroom and light.
No doubt othere will add to the lists. Personally, I don't mind where in the boat I am to park the thing, and we like the space and headroom, and light in our aft cabin with its en suite heads and shower. Having said that, if we won the lottery, we would look at Malo's and they are all aft cockpit. (mind you we might also look at Swans, Najads, HR's etc!)
In defense of the centre cockpit I had one on my last boat a Moody 36 and it was wonderful! I had previously owned 4 other aft cockpit boats bigger and smaller than the Moody.
Quite apart from the excellent aft cabin and comfortable accommodation it allows it is much much easier to park and anchor with it. Not nearly so far to walk to midships or bows. single handing or two handing I found it a real asset. Like wise the distance to the mast is smaller - easier to work on.
In a big following sea if you are pooped the cockpit does not fill up - in fact very little of the wave comes aboard because unlike aft cockpit boat which are close to the water line there is a quite a high freeboard. All other things being equal I would go for a centre cockpit every time.
Must agree with Bambola, I now sail Nicholson 38, it has a good working space centre cockpit, permanent coachroof (never tried to remove it) with excellent all round visability. Good access to the deck, all sheets led back to cockpit, needs a little practice mooring stern to, mostly because of prop walk to port, but like everything else do it a couple of times and its ok.
My aft cabin has two bunks, good cupboard space and fixed washing bowl with hot and cold, well ventilated and lots of light. The saloon, 6'+ headroom seats six in comfort, with an uncramped galley. Forward cabin and heads and shower.
It suits my requirements, wouldnt go back to aft cockpit, just my personal choice.
BUT, it is your choice based on what you want, take your time and look at lots of boats, with SWMBO, and then decide, he who pays the fiddler calls the tune.
Good luck and happy sailing,
One thing to add to all the other good stuff, is that there are centre-cockpits and centre-cockpits. Some boats (notably some Benetaus) that have the cockpits VERY central and VERY high up. On some others (e.g. the Swedish stuff) they tend to be rather lower and somewhat further back.
Most died-in-the-wool blue water sailors (particularly US) seem to prefer aft cockpits, but it does destroy the nice aft cabins and Pushrail seats make an excellent spot in calm weather.
OTH There can be a tendency with centre cockpits to forget how much you've got behind you!
I think it mostly comes down to whether you have tiller or wheel steering. With a tiller you would need to be as far aft as possible. With a wheel it does not realy matter. Apart from that they are much of a muchness having sailed on both I cant say which I would prefer. I do know that I prefer wheel stearing I also like the aft cabin because when you have guests etc on board you can get out of each others hair.
Both work reasonably well and have their adherents. I suggest that you think about who you usually sail with and how well you get on. If your normal sailing is with a bunch of hairy beer drinkers and it's all-mates-together, an aft cockpit may suit best. If you sail with a ladyfriend plus occasional assorted guests the privacy of the centre cockpit arrangement may suit you better.
Depends how high a clew there is on the Genoa whether you can see under it, but I take your point. I have fond memories of helming from the loo'ard side of the boat to see under the genoa in our previous two boats.
If I was supposed to be arguing in favour of centre cockpits - I'm not so sure: both centre and aft cockpit boats can be very good indeed. What I do know is that I like our current boat very much and she has a centre cockpit...
This is the most misleading article I have ever read on this subject. For a start they are comparing a jeanneau sun odyssey 43 deck saloon with and Beneteau oceanis 36CC. The especially misleading bit is the comparison of living space, where they say the beneteau has much less space because its centre cockpit.
Clearly the size difference of 7ft is nothing to do with it!!
Center cockpit! by far the best,when heading downwind you can ignor the waves catching you up! Less draft(wind when eating in sping autum,in the cockpit) handy aft cabin to throw lines fenders into if need be. And as has been said already parking and anchoring are no problem, I just make my lines ready aft the pass them ashore
Anchorings the same no problem, and i find it easiere to pick up the bow line when mooring stern to.Then of course you have some distence from the key you have the veiw with privacy.
Haveing said all that ive bought a Folkboat!! Coudent be more different!!
The arguments here are all sound regarding ease of use and extra room, etc but no one has talked about the aethetics.
To my, admittedly biased (aft cockpit R38 owning), eye CC boats under about 50 foot look a bit too caravanny. I have a similar prejudice about ketches, the masts look too close and out of proportion for the craft unless they are over 30 foot apart.
My guess is that centre cockpits are for sailors who have little interest in looking at the set of their mainsail or at a mast head wind indicator 'cause you just about have to break your neck to do so! I would also be interested to know which cockpit configuration dumps the most rain water over the helmsperson off the main and boom.
Center Cockpit: Owners cabin in stern means quiet nights away from the snoring crew up forward.
(If you are a couple going sailing then of course there are no snorers to escape from until the guests arrive!)