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Old 30-03-2014, 13:04   #76
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Originally Posted by REsCat View Post
As this topic has been and is discussed with other recent threads.... with regards to Catanas and having to "overcome" their helm arrangement...the owners of my sisterships or other model/size series report, with "few" exceptions that the aft helms are one of the their most appreciated features.

These boats are being or have been actively circumnavigated, "cross oceaned", continually lived aboard and regularly passaged 10+ days or more in all types of weather. The latitudes are primarily tropical/sub tropical as most cruising is done in the world.
If you are talking about higher latitude/sub arctic priority cruising then fully enclosed, barricaded, heated ,glassed helm areas certainly make more sense for the weather conditions typically encountered there.
If you are choosing your helm location for the once or twice "what if" hell weather scenario then you have made that issue a top priority consideration..."most" cruisers,full time liveaboards don't... from what I have observed/read.

If you have never actively helmed,cruised an aft helms boat in "all" weather conditions for any significant time then you really can't make an accurate assessment of the pros and cons of the arrangement...imho
Some aft helm arrangements are better designed and executed than others as has been pointed out in these discussions which is no different than with other types of helm layouts.
In the end ALL helm layouts are compromises to some degree.... most people on this forum and others agree on this fact.

Bob
Hi Bob,
We are one of the couples fortunate enough to have purchased our 'ideal' catamaran only to find out what we had read simply did not fit the bill for us. We changed cats twice more before before completing our circumnavigation. We are now seeking our next cat but this time am doing so with real time experience, and not just two week vacation time. Every yacht is a compromise somewhere. Reading others postings can be revealing. To us, we take very little to heart from the yachting press - they have a different interest to those of us that wish to live aboard / cruise long term. There is nothing wrong with Catana's (in fact they sail real good) but for my family the helm position is too way out. Try being at deep sea with steady winds of >50 knots and the decks being swept with waves and then imagine your auto-pilot failing. Yeah, its an extreme thought, but this can and does happen. If autopilot failure had happened on my last cat at least I would have been under cover - with 360 degree vision, & been dry and comfortable. Bad weather helming leaves is exhuasting and that puts the whole vessel in danger as most of us sail as a couple, without crew. We have not suffered autopilot failure but the thought is not far away and we have seen many others who have. Catana's were once high on my list - and now that they have a bulkhead helm version we shall take another look at this good looking and good sailing cat. Meanwhile, our deadline for a purchase is still two years away, but with the dearth of good cruising cats it is getting harder and harder to avoid the charter cat specials. Ughhhhh. Be cautious about what you read in cruising/yacting magzines - these cater for a different market that has significant influence on designs. We sail where there is no safe harbour close by and where you must be self reliant. An unlimited wallet is no good at some remote atoll when your autopilot has failed. Good luck.
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Old 30-03-2014, 14:56   #77
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Re: Exposed Helm

I'm not sure how to interpret the last part of your reply...if it was directed at me or multihull owners/wannabes, but I also sail to remote areas and have undertaken significant offshore passages in all types of weather, including handsteering when the auto could not for hours on end....in ****.
I helm my boat a lot... and at times I use the autopilot a lot... and my wife and I do not undertake passages solely relying on an autopilot to deliver us safely. That is not the type of offshore cruising that we would want or leave ourselves open to.
We plan our passages carefully, with as much preparation and safety as we can put into place... I'm sure no different than you and others do.

We put tremendous faith and reliance into our boat as a whole, the size, the sailing ability, speed,the layout and line/sail handling metric and the helms are one component of this package.
We are trying to keep our boat lightly loaded, as simple as we can and we do ALL our own work and maintenance. I have very little faith in the competence and good intentions of most Boat yards or repair trades.
I'm sorry, but for full time cruising or offshore passaging... I don't want to invest too heavily in "Luck" (But some is always welcome )

Bob
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Old 30-03-2014, 17:24   #78
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Hi Bob,
Try being at deep sea with steady winds of >50 knots and the decks being swept with waves and then imagine your auto-pilot failing. Yeah, its an extreme thought, but this can and does happen.
Yep recently did 2200 mile passage through the southern ocean with winds to 45 knots and 7m plus seas. Deck was swept pretty regularly and took a couple over the stern too. And it was cold, bloody cold with wind straight off Antarctica.

Oh and no auto pilot for the whole trip and dodgy rudder bearings for the last 800 miles. With a crew on board we could manage the hand steering watches but just a couple and we would have had to consider alternatives to continuing on.

To me at the end of the day thats just sailing so you just slap on the wet weather gear, strap on when necessary and try and make the most of it.

But then again I was on a mono delivery and like 80% of cruisers aft helms are par for the course....

Just not the big deal some make out IMHO
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Old 30-03-2014, 17:48   #79
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Re: Exposed Helm

It's not unusual for former open-cockpit sailboaters to "retire" to a boat with a pilothouse. I believe it's important for a pilothouse, however, to have a 360-degree view.

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Old 31-03-2014, 03:51   #80
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Originally Posted by REsCat View Post
I'm not sure how to interpret the last part of your reply...if it was directed at me or multihull owners/wannabes, but I also sail to remote areas and have undertaken significant offshore passages in all types of weather, including handsteering when the auto could not for hours on end....in ****.
I helm my boat a lot... and at times I use the autopilot a lot... and my wife and I do not undertake passages solely relying on an autopilot to deliver us safely. That is not the type of offshore cruising that we would want or leave ourselves open to.
We plan our passages carefully, with as much preparation and safety as we can put into place... I'm sure no different than you and others do.

We put tremendous faith and reliance into our boat as a whole, the size, the sailing ability, speed,the layout and line/sail handling metric and the helms are one component of this package.
We are trying to keep our boat lightly loaded, as simple as we can and we do ALL our own work and maintenance. I have very little faith in the competence and good intentions of most Boat yards or repair trades.
I'm sorry, but for full time cruising or offshore passaging... I don't want to invest too heavily in "Luck" (But some is always welcome )

Bob
Hi Bob,
There is no intended 'pop' at any individual. My gripe is with manufacturers who bow to pressure from the charter market. However, without the charter market there would be even less choice available as we all realise its about marketable products. The end result is that there are fewer and fewer new models of cats being produced that lend themselves to the long term live aboards. This is resulting, for me at least, in fewer and fewer cats being available with an acceptable criteria. I do not favour exposed helms but also recognise that 99.9% of the time the autopilot is doing its thing enabling us to be rested. I also sleep well, when off watch, knowing that my wife is safely clipped on (always at night regardless of weather / protected helm) and is as comfortable as practicable. This is obviously possible on most vessels where a reliable autopilot exists. Our protected helm enabled a watch to take place with everything to hand including the vital hot drink whilst also able to see the set of the sails and the instruments plus having the 5 minute timer next to the watch position. This timer alarms every five minutes to ensure the watch does not fall asleep for more than a couple of minutes. Again, a lesson learnt from beating to weather for a few weeks constantly whilst making a South-North transit of the Red Sea - one of our best forgotten passages that took far longer than planned.
Another 'issue' is that many of make our choice and then defend that particular selection without acknowledging the shortfalls. Obviously, we try to stop negative comments that ultimately may affect the resale value. Having circumnavigated 1 1/2 times over a seven year period I now have my requirements clear. Before setting off, we had been sailing for over 20 years with up to six months at one go - but still made errors in the selection of our cat and some of our equipment. Regardless of what we read, we form your own opinions, but to be genuinely relevant these are usually made retrospectively - and then its rather late. Typically, we have met several cruisers who do not carry a trisail or a parachute anchor .....'been sailing non-stop for 30 years and never needed them' is a typical response. My own belief is that they have been very fortunate but it is very hard to admit a mistake after your vessel is destroyed and you have been swallowed by a big fish. We have had very limited use of our own storm gear but I would not leave without it being aboard and we pull it out regularly to check condition and access.
I also read about the delivery crew and having to helm under cold conditions. There is a subtle difference to this tho' - the vessel was not owned by the author and the crew were most likely professionals being paid. We had a similar experience many years ago when we undertook a Southern Ocean passage on our previous cat. A big half-boat was undertaking the same passage with a professional delivery crew. After a few days the mono-hull called us on the SSB to advise us they were retrning to port due to exhuastion. They had a six man crew, whilst we were just two. The difference was that we had a hard top bimini with fixed windscreen and a powerful autopilot. The bimini also had half-sides - the helm seat was only open to the rear. We were dry and comfortable and well fed. They, by contrast, were swept by waves several times an hour, were very,very cold and as result were also not eating properly. The skipper wisely decided to turn back whilst we happily continued. For us, that demonstrated the benefits of such a helm.
At the end of the day most of us buy what we can afford and then either adapt ourselves or the boat to enable us to do what we want.
Best wishes.
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Old 31-03-2014, 05:05   #81
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With all due respect the difference would likely not have been the helm protection but rather the need to constantly helm for days on end for that delivery crew. Ie in the rough seas the professional crew would have likely been steering by hand the whole time you were on auto. Thats a difference between a big performance mono and its big rudder vs a cat and its manageable twins though.

We agree on this much though and thats the trend towards less seaworthy boats driven by the charter market priorities. Each to their own though and there are still plenty of cruiser oriented bluewater cats out there to choose from luckily. Some of them even have twin aft helms :-)
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Old 31-03-2014, 07:01   #82
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Re: Exposed Helm

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With all due respect the difference would likely not have been the helm protection but rather the need to constantly helm for days on end for that delivery crew. Ie in the rough seas the professional crew would have likely been steering by hand the whole time you were on auto. Thats a difference between a big performance mono and its big rudder vs a cat and its manageable twins though.

We agree on this much though and thats the trend towards less seaworthy boats driven by the charter market priorities. Each to their own though and there are still plenty of cruiser oriented bluewater cats out there to choose from luckily. Some of them even have twin aft helms :-)

Yeah - sort of. Helming is fun for a short while and very necessary at certain times. However, and I'll keep repeating this, it is no fun when you are faced with endless days of helming whilst being exposed to the weather. It is really worth while when sailing in good weather to learn to balance the sails - keep your course with the rudder neutral whilst trimming the sails. Should the worst happen and you have to resort to hand steering, you can lessen your burden (in fair weather) by adopting this arrangement. The folk that we have met who suffered autopilot failure always had it happen under the worst conditions - and that brings us back to the original situation; exposed helms!! We have met several yachts that had suffered total autopilot failure and it had quite an affect on the crews - being out of the weather make a significant toll that should not be under estimated. One Australian family had to had steer from Sri-Lanka to Aden and then again for the whole Red Sea to Cyprus where their pilot was repaired. Unfortunately, the wife had got of their cat in Egypt - disillusioned and very exhausted. Would she had stayed had it been a protected helm? I can't honestly answer that as we only met the husband and one of their sons. They had both become very disillussioned with sailing. Sailing is a whole life experience, and is wonderful when things are all working well, including the weather. I believe also that we should prepare for when things are not aligned so well. Reduce risk as far as practical.
Of course, many of us have a totally redundant (fully fitted ready to engage) autopilot. Ours was fully fitted and ready to go - all we had to do was hook on the drive ram and fit the split pit - a few minutes work. I even cable tied a spare split pin to the ram to ensure everything was ready. Thank goodness we never needed it. We left the drive ram disconnected such that the ram was not being constantly activated. I have always thought that if, for any reason, we did end up with such a cat [exposed helm] then we would ensure that the two autopilots were more than beefy enough for the job, and that we would likely carry a third autopilot as well. If you read sailing magazines (I used to) these aspects are simply not considered as testing is carried out with many people on board and the long term time constraints simply do not factor into the equation.
For my part I have said more than enough about my opinion on exposed helms so shall not post any further on this subject.
Cheers to everyone.............and fair weather.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:13   #83
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Re: Exposed Helm

Mr Bulawayo - I strongly suggest that a cat with exposed helms is not for you and recommend you not get one.

2 Hulls Dave
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Old 01-04-2014, 18:33   #84
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Re: Exposed Helm

Bulawayo,

This is the type of helm you are looking for. FF46
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Old 01-04-2014, 20:00   #85
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Bulawayo,

This is the type of helm you are looking for. FF46
And the price? no outside dining? that wouldnt be much fun for the 80% of time spent anchored. (leave aside the sailing vs driving analogies already mentioned) Quite a trade off for the once in a lifetime (unless your really unlucky!) failed auto pilot foul weather helming event mentioned.

Not sure i like the stern bridgedeck either - no safety line or rail in site with the coaming at a nice tripping height!
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Old 01-04-2014, 20:58   #86
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Re: Exposed Helm

Hunnneee....Can you climb out and clean the salt off this again!...I can't see the @*^$@*% mainsail !....
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Old 01-04-2014, 22:01   #87
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Re: Exposed Helm

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And the price? no outside dining? that wouldnt be much fun for the 80% of time spent anchored. (leave aside the sailing vs driving analogies already mentioned) Quite a trade off for the once in a lifetime (unless your really unlucky!) failed auto pilot foul weather helming event mentioned.

Not sure i like the stern bridgedeck either - no safety line or rail in site with the coaming at a nice tripping height!
Incomplete vessel. Just needs table and seat padding to be fitted easily fit 8.

Perfect protection from sun rain and cold from Tasmania to tropics. There is a screen in cockpit roof extra hatches can be done for any improved sail viewing .

Designed by the builder of Lightwave 45 it takes some cues from that and Crowther 46 in my view.

http://www.cata-ballotta.com/Price/FREEFLOW46.pdf
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:41   #88
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Hunnneee....Can you climb out and clean the salt off this again!...I can't see the @*^$@*% mainsail !....

My guess is if the weather is bad enough to have to keep wiping the salt of the viewing window, then you on your exposed aft helm would be salt encrusted!
The best compromise to me are the new Outremers. Single wheel on the bulkhead for good protection when the weathers bad and twin tillers when nice weather and you want to enjoy a nice sail.


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Old 02-04-2014, 16:12   #89
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Re: Exposed Helm

Nope....You are wrong, wrong, wrong...
I was just poking a little fun at the photo as us exposed helm people are constantly under attack.... and I am willing to bet you wouldn't turn down owning and enjoying an aft helms boat if the right boat and opportunity came along. But I could be wrong about you...?

Bob
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Old 02-04-2014, 17:55   #90
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Nope....You are wrong, wrong, wrong...

I was just poking a little fun at the photo as us exposed helm people are constantly under attack.... and I am willing to bet you wouldn't turn down owning and enjoying an aft helms boat if the right boat and opportunity came along. But I could be wrong about you...?



Bob

Your not wrong at all, it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. Though you have to admit, the Outremers with the tillers and bulkhead helms are looking pretty sweet!


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