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Old 03-05-2013, 11:30   #16
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Originally Posted by FLLCatsailor View Post
Just a better way to get sun burned and rained on... Not to mention if you only have one set of throttles it can making docking a pain in the ass if you are docking a boat from the far side...
+1. I really dislike the Nautitec 44 helm positions (among other features)...very far aft and low...cant see jack....and totally exposed to the elements. But hey what do I know...Cruising World gave it a BOTY award (one reason I no longer even bother to read that ad rag)...did they ever actually sail it I wonder? I did. First time aboard was in 30 knots wind and blinding hard rain...boy that sucked!

I happened to dink by a Nautitec 54 recently...looks like there would be better vis from her aft helms, but I have not been aboard...yet. (looks like they got rid of that idiotic bow mounted anchor too...do any designer/builders actaully use this crap before they put it up for sale? ...obviously the folks at Cruising World dont either.)

As I recall Catana's helms are a bit further fwd and higher.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:30   #17
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

The above advice is good and I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.

Aft wheels are great for racing and allow you to have a great view of the sails, but a limited view of you downwind side, which means moving around between wheels a lot.

In docking situations, aft helms are great for side tying vision, but terrible for driving into a slip or close quarter maneuvering without moving behind helms and having lookouts.

Cruising is supposed to be comfortable and most of us doing it don't like to get wet or expose ourselves to sun/winds all day. As stated, most cruisers will have their Auto Pilot on for 95% or more of their long distance sailing.

My suggestion would be get out and drive the different models before you commit to one. You can do this through sailing schools, chartering or making friends with boat owners. I think after you go out, you will have a better idea which type fits you best.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:03   #18
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The above advice is good and I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.

Aft wheels are great for racing and allow you to have a great view of the sails, but a limited view of you downwind side, which means moving around between wheels a lot.

In docking situations, aft helms are great for side tying vision, but terrible for driving into a slip or close quarter maneuvering without moving behind helms and having lookouts.

Cruising is supposed to be comfortable and most of us doing it don't like to get wet or expose ourselves to sun/winds all day. As stated, most cruisers will have their Auto Pilot on for 95% or more of their long distance sailing.

My suggestion would be get out and drive the different models before you commit to one. You can do this through sailing schools, chartering or making friends with boat owners. I think after you go out, you will have a better idea which type fits you best.
I have found the PERFECT solution with my new Outremer 5X , wheels at the bulkhead and tillers with bucket seat on each stern when I want to have some fun on a nice day
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:06   #19
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

Call me crazy, but I love to steer and will do so throughout my watch just for the fun of it, even when offshore. On day sails I happily steer all day long. There are stormy conditions where steering is important, like when dodging breakers, or if someone is taking in a reef. A lot of cats aren't much fun to steer because there is very little if any feedback, and very poor visibility, and the helm position is too high, meaning a lot more motion for the helmsperson. However, those Catana steering positions are very exposed. Steering position is one thing I don't like about most cats. Some of them have such poor visibility that routine things like docking are difficult.
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Old 03-05-2013, 13:10   #20
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

Interesting points. Soon as I get a chance, I will check out sailing a boat with helms aft. I suspect I'll prefer the bulkhead position. Sailing here on the Chesapeake, I could see aft helms being a pain as you try to dodge the millions of crab traps and other obstacles. But who knows, I also like to get an extra 0.2 knots from sheeting in/out.

I have not seen any pics of a bulkhead helm position on a Nautitech, not even on their website. Would be very interested to see that, if it in fact exists.
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Old 03-05-2013, 13:22   #21
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

God, not again!
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Old 03-05-2013, 13:45   #22
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

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God, not again!
Yeah, sorry. I did search the forum for the same and I see this is a thread that pops up every so often. But truth be told, some of the older threads didn't have that much useful information (eg., Nautitech updates). Besides, it's somewhat the nature of web forums.

But personally, I'm satisfied. I see both sides to the aft helm / bulkhead helm thing and look forward to trying the former when I get a chance. Living pretty close to a US Nautitech dealer, I'll hopefully get the chance before the Summer is over.

I also appreciate that the thread didn't devolve into a bicker-fest between Catana / Nautitech owners and the rest of the world.
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Old 03-05-2013, 14:15   #23
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

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Originally Posted by Sid at SailAway
Most of the high performance cats have outboard helms.



This is a key statement!!!!

High performance cats = Aft helm positions. Need to see sails 99.9% of the time and always trimming sails.

Cruising cats = Protected behind bulkhead helm positions. Use Auto pilot 99.9% trim sails at leisure or maybe not at all

I have not seen a Gunboat with aft helm !
And Star Dust (all carbon TAG 60) has double helm positions but they are certainly not aft.
So the currently most performence oriented cats do not have aft nor bulkhead helm positions.
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Old 03-05-2013, 14:57   #24
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

The fastest (good sized high performance) cruising boats here don't have them. And neither do Chris White Designs, probably the benchmark for performance cruising.

But like most things on this archetype of dichotomy it really isnt that big a deal. If you like the nautitech otherwise, then go for it. I think that design has bigger deal breakers for me - eg the anchor placement and the underwing shape. But I have tested a number of Nautitechs for our local magazine and they all appeared to be bolted together pretty well and sailed without vices, Overall I would probably think they are a better all round thing than many of the other high production volume french boats. Having said that on the boats below 44 the crowded transom step is an issue. And the concept leads to having weight aft particularly if you are a larger person, which is not always desirable.

I would rather the Catana/Nautitech thing than climbing up and down to a raised helm station. I have done the ankle on a climb up to the helm boat. But neither is necessary.

I am with the gentleman with the Outremer 5X, best of both worlds and plenty of performance.

The photos are a couple of G Force cats.
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Old 03-05-2013, 15:13   #25
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

I think the OP needs to figure out how to sail on some boats with the different helm positions, because it is very much personal preference--there is no single correct answer. I have only sailed on a Catana once, across a pretty boisterous Caribbean sea. It was great fun steering from back there, and gave me tremendous visibility on sail trim, but I did feel very exposed. Not sure I would want to be out there at night offshore.
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Old 03-05-2013, 15:13   #26
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

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I am with the gentleman with the Outremer 5X, best of both worlds and plenty of performance.
Please note the 5X is 59 feet ? Not comparable to a 44 Nautitech. Not the 441 nor the 442. Although the 5X has standard only one steering wheel (like the 441). The tillers are optional at 13k euro ? And the second steering wheel is custom as it is not on the option list.

But the 5X was by far the nicest boat at the Grande Motte boat show a few weeks back.
If I can spare a million+ euro I will certainly join that gentleman with the 5X
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Old 03-05-2013, 15:23   #27
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

I like Chris White and his designs. That said, I don't feel much for his cockpit in front of the superstructure.

Check out this custom from down under; keep an eye out for that traveler

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Old 03-05-2013, 15:51   #28
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

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Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
This is a key statement!!!!

High performance cats = Aft helm positions. Need to see sails 99.9% of the time and always trimming sails.

Cruising cats = Protected behind bulkhead helm positions. Use Auto pilot 99.9% trim sails at leisure or maybe not at all
If you're using the A/P 99.9% of the time what's the issue?

Our helm positions are a sort of compromise - there are two, fairly outboard so you can see the sails, but they still offer some protection from the weather. If you need to hand steer in heavy weather, you use the leeward helm, which is well protected. We've had to do this while using the HF, because on some frequencies the autopilot interfered with reception.

When you want to hand steer for the fun of it, the windward helm gives a very good view of the sails.
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Old 03-05-2013, 18:48   #29
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

A multi million dollar boat. Check out the helm position in a gale. And I like Catanas. The fun starts about 1:45 in.
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Old 03-05-2013, 21:35   #30
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Re: Aft helm position (pros and cons)?

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This is all irrelevant as theauto pilot is steering. The only times you need to be there is during docking, anchoring and racing.
I personally maintain watch from the helm when I am underway...
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