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Community Contribution - Center/forward cockpit

Community Contribution - Center/forward cockpit

Have you considered a center/ forward cockpit?


Putting the skipper right there near the mast, reducing the complexity of sail handling, increasing safety as the crew can handle the lines without having to leave the center of the boat. A lot of added benefits to visibility, safety, reduced complexity of line handing, closers to the anchor, and safer in bad weather.

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February 21, 2022
1 answer
I agree this is worth exploring as an option. We have always preferred a forward helm position and will not buy anything with a fly bridge. We are short handed sailors and so we find the forward helm position to be great for us.

The reasons we feel it works well are that you are only a few steps away form the rear cockpit /entertaining area so it is easy to talk to anyone on board including if they are in the saloon. We find that friends come and hang out with you at the helm quite naturally also.

Most importantly you are also only a few steps from the helm to the mast something that is rare on any boat. Often when hosting, reefing or packing a sail you need to quickly jump up to fix a rope or flake a sail so having fast, inboard (safe) access to the mast is a huge benefit.

We have tried the Lagoon 42 helm and more recently the lagoon 52S which we absolutely loved. the 52S is a huge boat, but we felt it was very easy to manage (easier than our 42 mono hull) because all aspects of sailing the boat were accessible from the helm, including reefing and furling the head sails.

The mid station helm can fairly easily be protected from the rain and weather, not something that can be done with rear helms. We are looking for a boat for ocean sailing (rather than coastal) so we do feel the mid helm is attractive for that reason.

There are downsides also - a forward helm is always on one side so visibility when docking to the alternate bow is not perfect (we use a handheld radio for this). Mid station helms also let the rain into the cockpit below so the entertaining areas are not as well protected.

We are yet to try a catamaran with rear helms - but our monohull is a rear helm which we feel is just too exposed for long term, long distance sailing. Thus the search for a good catamaran.
March 11, 2022
Thank you for sharing your experiences and your view. We invite you though to test our catamarans in order to discover the Excess way of sailing. We would be interested on knowing your opinion. We have an Excess 15 that will be available to be tested at the Multihull Boat Show from 20th to 24th April, in La Grande Motte, France. Let us know if you would be interested in testing it. Or you can also visit our website to see our future events: https://excess-catamarans.com/our-events.
July 23, 2021
Saludos a todos:
Con esta configuración puedo atracar mi excess12 sin ayuda. En gran parte es por esto por lo que me decidí por un excess. En todo caso yo he cambiado los asideros del espejo de popa por cornamusas que facilitan aún más esta operación. Para los propietarios que no solemos contar con una tripulación experimentada esto es una gran ventaja, además de otras como la sensación de navegar, y juntos además. La visibilidad es la única pega, yo he instalado cámaras para solucionar esta cuestión.
July 10, 2021
Bonjour, je sais que cela devient à la mode pour certains catamarans. Mais à mon humble avis, ce n'est pas fait pour la grande croisière., Même si la vue est belle, on ne bénéficie pas de la protection de la nacelle. Les manœuvres avec les équipements modernes, ne sont plus trop difficiles. de toute façon, il y aura moins de longueur de cordage devant, mais plus à l'arrière. je ne veux pas paraitre rétrograde, mais ce sont des innovation gadgets. Ca va être super en navigation entre deux iles aux Antilles, mais rien de plus. Pour la sécurité par gros temps ? Je me demande pourquoi ? On sera obligé de se déplacer comme avec une barre sur la nacelle. Il y a des système où presque tout revient à la barre. Je comprends qu'il y a , maintenant, celui du voyage et celui de la location. Je pense que la location s'est énormément développée ces dernière années, mais en suivant un peu les forums de voile, je me rends compte que le voyage est l'aspiration des jeunes (surtout depuis la Covid). Il faudra vous adapter à ce changement car d'autre vont y penser.
June 28, 2021
2 answers
… and thank you very much for your input in the Excess Lab.
Putting the skipper forward, near the mast base, indeed has advantages in terms of lines and manoeuvres centralisation.
This solution, experimented for example on the Gun Boat 68, looks seducing especially on large boats, with dedicated skipper and crew separate from the clients and guests enjoying the cockpit.
In our -reasonably sized- Excess catamarans, the skipper is very often the owner, and we feel it is an advantage to let him steer and manoeuvre WHILE sharing time with guests and family in the cockpit.
Moreover, the smaller the catamaran, the more the area nearby the mast base becomes exposed to waves and spray…
I personally doubt that the forward location would be beneficial on 11 to 15m catamarans. However, the helmsman’s location is very often a debate, and it is probably worth an in-depth subject in the Excess Lab.
This topic will be put in the Lab-list, and you are of course more than welcome to participate and give your detailed inputs.
Thanks again for your constructive participation into the Lab,
Best regards,
Hervé Piveteau
Excess Catamarans Product Manager
Thomas Cachera
July 9, 2021
Totally agree. It's interesting to explore and consider different ways but this seems too extreme for an Excess.
Having everyone together in the aft cockpit under sail is actually a nice selling point and attrictive for monohull sailors considering a cat.
July 19, 2021
avec un cockpit central avant , vous perdez ce qui pour moi est un atout majeur de la gamme EXCESS, la facilité d'accostage en équipage réduit. Depuis le poste de barre , il suffit de tendre le bras pour passer une aussière à tribord, AV babord et descendre à terre pour saisir la seconde , le tout sans stress ...
Avec un peu de vent sur le travers, du courant et depuis le Cockpit central, ou pire un fly bridge et il est nécessaire d'étre à minima 2 personnes bien coordonnées.