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Old 12-05-2011, 03:24   #1
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Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

Hello,

I am considering to build a modification of Van de Stadt Moorea 45

The original design has a double helm position, but I think that a single helm a bit further back would provide for more seating space in the cockpit and I really don't need the double helm (considering also the added cost of wheels, electronics, etc.)

Would you advise on the pros and cons of a double helm position vs. single helm for blue water long-distance cruising.

Thanks!

Yavor
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:42   #2
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Re: Pros and cons of a double helm position

I think that the main reason for double helms is to allow people to move around the cockpit more freely. A single helm on the centerline is an effective roadblock in the cockpit.

Besides that, a double helm allows you to steer from the high side of the boat when heeled, giving you better visibility. You might have better visibility when docking, too, by steering from the side you are docking to.

Downside: more expense and complication.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:44   #3
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Re: Pros and cons of a double helm position

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Yavor.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:14   #4
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Re: Pros and cons of a double helm position

I view double helms as a racing affectation. They make little sense on a cruising boat. If the wheel takes up too much space, get a smaller one. Or make it detachable so that you can get it out of the way when at anchor or moored.

IMHO twin wheels do make sense on catamarans, because they are so wide.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:29   #5
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Re: Pros and cons of a double helm position

Never thought of it before, but second helm = spare helm. That's easier than messing about with an emergency tiller...
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:34   #6
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pirate Re: Pros and cons of a double helm position

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaucySailoress View Post
Never thought of it before, but second helm = spare helm. That's easier than messing about with an emergency tiller...
Damn... I thought it was for 'Learning to Sail'.... like driving schools cars with dual controls... if you screw up the YM Instructor can 'disengage' and take over...
Just goes to show.... one never knows it all Huh....
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Old 12-05-2011, 20:52   #7
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

It's not the wheel that breaks, it's the rudder.
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Old 12-05-2011, 21:13   #8
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

Upside: They look sweet!
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Old 12-05-2011, 21:14   #9
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

Twin helms can have single or twin rudders,single helm can also have twin or single rudder. Twin rudders make sense on some boats, twin helm are more for if you have xtra money and want to look kewell.
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Old 12-05-2011, 23:19   #10
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

Our cockpit is small, we built the binnacle so it can be canted (and locked) from side to side and in the center position.
Works great, gives the economy of a single helm with the ease of moving about in the cockpit, and also keeps the wheel on the high side.
Some pictures/details are here at an old thread.
Canting Helm
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Old 13-05-2011, 04:28   #11
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

The only rationale for twin wheels is to allow the helm to sit on the windward rail and steer effectively.

As boats have got wider over the past three decades, the single wheels continued to grow in size. But as someone else has already commented, the boats got so wide and the wheeels got so big designers had to find ways to make them fit.

On our Grand Soleil 42 the single wheel had a trench it dipped into but it did reach from side to side. Invariably such large wheels dominated cockpits and were an obstruction moving fore and aft.

The concept of twin wheels, one each side of the cockpit, was the best solution. And having two does allow you to did topside and continue helming - whilst seeing whats going on, or indeed slide down to leeward and use than lower wheel whilst trimming sails or keeping and eye on someone crossing you.........

Plenty of cruisers have a single wheel without issues, but IMHO twin wheels are more practical.

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Old 13-05-2011, 04:42   #12
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

One for the wife............
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Old 13-05-2011, 05:25   #13
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

Why are you steering for "blue water long-distance cruising"?
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Old 13-05-2011, 06:17   #14
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Re: Pros and Cons of a Double Helm Position

Ditto what most others have already posted. But also they increase the "footprint- helm area" of the helmsman without the need for a massive wheel in the middle. He is able to steer from a variety of positions -particulaly handy when he wants to get down low and look under the headsail or sit high to see forward, or when berthing.

The rendundancy option is there also if one steering system gives out. But that is only assuming it has dual controls all the way to the rudder post.
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