One of the toughest things to get right in offshore boat design is the tradeoff between providing enough shelter to make sailing enjoyable while maintaining the primary function of the cockpit, which is the command and control centre of a complex machine that operates in a potentially hazardous environment. (I know you have read that last part at least ten times before but, judging from the state of modern boat design, it needs repeating.)
By the way, we just organized all of our articles on dodger and enclosure design into a Series (see Further Reading) so I'm not going to go through all that again here.
Rather, this chapter is a more general look at evaluating shelter on a prospective boat, and how to decide if we want to add things like a cockpit enclosure to an existing boat.
Let's start off with a few common issues to look out for: