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Old 03-05-2009, 13:47   #31
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That's some photo.

My older British Cat has an exposed bulkhead helm position. After a few years of sailing her I've come to the conclusion that I need some protection, and we'll be adding a soft Bimini this year. You'd think this was an easy decision. It wasn't. I love being able to glance up and check the sails and will admit it being the sole reason for procrastinating on adding a Bimini.
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Old 03-05-2009, 14:12   #32
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That's some photo.

My older British Cat has an exposed bulkhead helm position. After a few years of sailing her I've come to the conclusion that I need some protection, and we'll be adding a soft Bimini this year. You'd think this was an easy decision. It wasn't. I love being able to glance up and check the sails and will admit it being the sole reason for procrastinating on adding a Bimini.

the same here (i think) i like the idea of a cockpit helm station, where one cannot only enjoy the contact with the elements, but also stay connected with the other members of the sailing party, who, weather permiting are usually enjoying the cockpit. but as you can see, the Catana, takes this connection to nature to, in my opinion, an absurd level. but on the other hand, because they are such a successful, highly regarded brand, i find myself second guessing what my eyes are revealing to me. which is why i ask, is this helm-station design loopy to anyone else?


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Old 03-05-2009, 14:33   #33
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I was surprised to see that it's outside of the Bimini coverage. You figure that creature comforts would trump sailing in a boat in this price range. OTOH I know why they did it. You also see an elevated, exposed, helm position on the FP Mahe 36' which is also a new design.

My conclusion is that if you sail in the tropics, sun protection is necessary. If you sail where it rains a lot, it's also necessary. Once that Bimini is installed a catamaran's windage increases considerably. So, it's a trade off. Which is the bottom line in the design of all boats.
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Old 03-05-2009, 15:39   #34
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Short, no problem.

Also, 360 degree view, no problem. In the summer, we zip the vinyl down, during our Christmas break delivery up the Chesapeake Bay in up to 35 knots / 35F, it was a God send.

Note the runt foot box. My daughter is ~ 5'1"

It is all about the individual designer and how they solve problems. Some do it well. Some don't - we rejected several boats where we could not see well. Always take a sea trial. Boat shows are a good low-pressure venue, compared to after-survey trials.
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Old 03-05-2009, 15:48   #35
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I was surprised to see that it's outside of the Bimini coverage. You figure that creature comforts would trump sailing in a boat in this price range. OTOH I know why they did it. You also see an elevated, exposed, helm position on the FP Mahe 36' which is also a new design.

My conclusion is that if you sail in the tropics, sun protection is necessary. If you sail where it rains a lot, it's also necessary. Once that Bimini is installed a catamaran's windage increases considerably. So, it's a trade off. Which is the bottom line in the design of all boats.
while not desiring to bludgeon a dead mule, i have seen a few rear cockpit helm-stations that tha were placed within the bimini coverage. it would seem to me that the main playeers for this Cat could be in the mid 40's to 50 ish range? a little less tolerant to prolonged exposure to raw sunlight?

i know helming that Cat in my home waters during the summer months, would distress nearly anyone, and in short order!

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Old 03-05-2009, 17:21   #36
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Looking to hear from some of you out there sailing cats with exposed helms (ie: Catana, Privilige etc.) In shopping for my first cat, I've decided that a bulkhead helm station is a must.

In nice weather and general cruising it obviously doesn't make too much difference, but I can't imagine being exposed with an outside helm station in bad weather. Sure, you can use a/p, but take a worse case scenario and you have to hand steer... that can be a fatiguing and possibly dangerous place to be over time (IMO).

To a great extent, it appears to come down to personal preference, but perhaps I'm missing some advantages that make the exposure an acceptable trade off?
CB Cat, I'm with you on the helm location. I was considering a Privilege 39 with an outboard helm, but switched to a Privilege 37 primarily because of the bulhead mounted helm. I think the outboard helms might be OK for long ocean passages, where the autopilot steers 99% of the time. We do mostly coastal/Bahamas cruising and being at the helm under the bimini with fold-up vinyl glass windows has been a beautiful thing. When we're in the ICW, many spots are too narrow to use AP and you don't want to use the AP when operating near other boats. Several times we were caught in showers in the ICW and it was nice to be dry and have forward visibility. Avoiding the sun is a another good reason to have a bimini over your head when hand steering is necessary. We can see the "4 corners" of the boat from our nav seat, so docking is easy for port or starboard.

Good luck with your boat shopping.
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Old 03-05-2009, 17:33   #37
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I like the look of the hard bimini in the photo on thinwater's PDQ three posts up from this one. The window is a nice touch.

Now it has me thinking... do I really want a soft bimini? Here I go again....grrrrr...
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:15   #38
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Rick, hard biminis are terrific but a retrofit will be very expensive. You can have an overhead window installed in your bimini with, as on my boat, a roll down/velcro tabbed sun cover. For real protection at the helm you should consider a dodger, or at the very least, a front panel down from the bimini to the deck with zip out windows; and of course, the best of all worlds when things turn very nasty and cold is an easily removable, full cockpit enclosure.

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Old 05-05-2009, 00:17   #39
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It really depends on the type of sailing you intend to do, for voyaging and full time live aboard sailing i would recommend, a good pilot house type for protection from the elements, that allows you to stick your head out into the weather if you want to, with a slightly elevated helm position to see beyond the bows. I had this type of position on my Crowther cat, with a sliding hatch above the wheel, in the center of the cockpit, and found it just right, i really didn't appreciate this, until i had spent some serious time handling my cat, in all conditions, bad weather, hot sun, squalls, tight marina spaces, anchoring, checking sail trim...and some racing, and then when you just want to sail on a perfect day... you can pop your head and shoulders up and be in the action..... and the visibility is excellent when you have to look over 40-50 foot of catamaran...... and scare people in the anchorage with the prodder...

but too each his own...

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Old 05-05-2009, 04:40   #40
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Since I rarely helm I have not out helm protection as a priority, but with the increasingly harmful UV it's a good idea if you have to be out there a lot and certainly for inclement weather.

My dodger allows protection under which I see and control the auto pilot and the throttle. I can't even imagine not having one.
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:59   #41
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It really depends on the type of sailing you intend to do, for voyaging and full time live aboard sailing i would recommend, a good pilot house
I can see how this is an important consideration in Canada. Down this way a 'good pilot house' would roast you alive. Tropical sailing requires sun / uv protection but with as much ventilation as possible. Most boats in these parts get by with just a bimini of some sort and a few have side curtains which can be deployed as necessary.
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:28   #42
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I like the look of the hard bimini in the photo on thinwater's PDQ three posts up from this one. The window is a nice touch.

Now it has me thinking... do I really want a soft bimini? Here I go again....grrrrr...
OK.. Cat 3 hurricane approaching and you are busy stowing everything inside the boat to reduce windage. Which bimini cover do you want now? Hard or soft?
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:51   #43
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I know..... I know...... (sigh)
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:09   #44
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For me, I'd have to have a dodger. On a cruise you've got to get out of the wind and sun or rain & snow.
Also with a dodger & center cockpit in nearly any weather the drop boards can be left out or mostly out leaving the interior well ventilated and pleasantly habitable. I was surprised reading some racing blogs of crews off hours being stuck in a hot miserable confined space.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:28   #45
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Sitting at anchor in the river while in Daytona. 60MPH a typical summer after noon squall came through. The previous owner built the bimini with the frame running through it. This 60mph wind pulled the frame loose, and only the boom kept it from being completely destroyed. I had to cut the cover repeatedly with a knife to stop the windage. I know have a new cover that is laced, and with the small velcro window to watch the mainsail.......i2f
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