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center steering v forward drive


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Quite agree with Jonzo on this one, despite the fact I owned a forward drive boat for a couple of years. The only thing against the centre cockpit ones is that they can be draughty out of season if a cold wind is blowing, and it can be a right pain lowering the canopy for bridges if the weather is inclement. Connoiseur used to supply a plastic sheet to cover the saloon upholstery to stop it getting we for just this reason!

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I have hired from all positions, for many years it was the Aston Concorde Class centre cockpit. It was a dream of a boat to handle in any weather conditions and with the roof down no upholstery was soaked. The draw back as the years went by was the up n down to both forward and strern access.


Today if I hire its a forward sterring, all on the one level and the throttle to the right so I can stand and look down the boat for reversing stern on.


I agree regarding the vista viewing with centre but, as said it and DOES get very draughty even turning the boat into the wind moored up.


You pays your money and takes your choice as they say, my old knees says all on the flat! lol :smile:

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smilie_girl_205.gif hi andy ive hired all different driving position boats , but my favourite has to be a sort of a centre cockpit boat, it's a sedan boat, you're able to see over the hedges with them & they are warm in autumn, but i do like centre cockpit boats, we hired quite a few from astons & sandersons at reedham, but it's each to his own. lori :-)
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I've hired and owned all three types, forward control, centre cockpit, and stern cockpit.


The forward control has the advantage in cold or wet weather being able to stay closed up and warm even when going under low bridges. The forward vision is the best, but the low viewpoint does severely restrict being able to see over the reeds. When exiting Ranworth Dyke for instance,  you can't see what's coming along the Bure until the nose is out. 


It's very claustrophobic when maneuvering or reversing though, like driving a truck, and the front steering is the furthest away from the stern swing, so perhaps the most difficult to allow for or get used to.


The ergonomics of Stern Cockpit can vary greatly depending on the height of the steering position and screen in relation to the height of the cabin roof that you're looking over.  With some boats, the helm's eyeline and windscreen only just clear the roof, so the forward view is very restricted, making it difficult to see what's just in front of the bows. I hired an Eastwood once, and it was like looking through a submarine's periscope. There's also the problem of the glare from the sun over the white cabin roof.


When the helm seat and windscreen are higher though, it's a great view all round, and makes stern on mooring much easier. You can get wet and/or cold though, when passing under low bridges, with the hood and screen folded down.


As most people have already said on here, centre steering probably has the best all round ergonomics. You get the best feel for how the boat is swinging when maneuvering, and the best all round visibility with less forward cabin to look over for the forward view.


I prefer to see as much as possible around me, and a high centre steering position on a relatively small boat is great for maneuvering in tight situations and the all round visibility is unsurpassed. 




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We have hired centre cockpit boats for years and then bought

our own, both being centre cockpit.

There was a 'flip-over' draft excluder fitted on the 'Swallowtail'

which worked well, with none on any of the others.

When we bought our AF 38 CC, I fitted draft excluders which

worked really well but when we bought our Sheerline CC, we

had to make figure-of-eight 'sausages' to drop into the slots

down the sides, with the small end(filled with washed pea gravel)

laying in the slot and the larger end (filled with small polystyrene

balls) on top. This works really well and is easy to remove for

sliding the roof back. We made them from the same material

as the curtains and doesn't look out of place at all.

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I hire both types regularly and both have pros and cons. I had Tropic Horizon(identical to Madeira).Centres are totally fab for all the reasons above. What I also love is the option to fold the screens down and feel the wind in your face on a fine day. Centres have an outdoor feel when the roof is open that forwards never quite match.

Forwards have great benefits too. Where they have a front door you can stop easily and safely right in to the front of the boat. Its a great chill out spot. Forwards are great for views of the water for non helmsman on the move and for the whole crew when moored. Sit on the sofa and get a great view through the windscreen.

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