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Old 04-04-2014, 09:32   #106
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Those who are taking such vehement opposition to twin aft helms may wish to consider the following:

1. Experience: How many of you have actually done any extended sailing on a catamran that was equipped with them? I suspect few, if any. On the other hand, those who own and cruise on cats that are equipped with them do have direct hands-on experience and are in a good position to assess the relative merits. So too are the owners of so many monohulls that are now equipped with twin aft helms. If these designs were such a disaster, don't you think that the word would have gotten around? Don't you think that more designers/manufactuers of monohulls would be moving away from them, rather than towards them? Or do you think that the purchasers of monohulls with twin aft helms - many, if not most of whom are not first-time boat owners, actually prefer them?

2. In terms of catamarans specifically, manufacturers such as Catana do not specify twin aft helms for no reason. They are certainly not cheaper than a single bulkhead mounted helm. Are they crazy? Are they committed to going out of business? In a word, no. Here are some attributes of twin-aft helms that make them attractive to a certain group of purchasers and hence, sensible for Catana even though they drive up the cost of production.

3. Performance: Catanas are not only more expensive than FP's, Lagoons and Leopards etc., they are also significantly faster. Understand that purchasers of Catanas are not just people with more money than purchasers of those other brands - for the same money they could have purchased a much more spacious cat from any of those manufacturers. The fact is that people who purchase Catanas are, for the most part, people who prioritize performance. In that context twin aft helms are the most logical and efficient set-up, even though they are more expensive to produce.

THEY PROVIDE BY FAR THE BEST VANTAGE POINT FROM WHICH TO ASSESS SAIL TRIM! While this may not matter to charter companies or those who desire a condo on the water, it clearly does to the purchasers of some cats. Does this mean that the owners of Catanas etc. are stuck out in the elements for endless hours while cruising? Of course not. The reality is that for most lengthy passages helming will be done almost exclusively by autopilot. Indeed, Maxing-Out circumnaviagated without ever having to be at the helm in bad, let alone life threatening conditions.

However, on those occasions when one is making a short inter-island passage or a day sail etc., how many of us would not prefer to maximize our performance? To not only reap the benefits of proper sail trim, but to display proper sail trim to others out on the water? How many of us do not engage in little 'races' against other boats on the same heading? And how often will these situations arise in comparison to having to helm for extended periods in bad weather?

4. Ease/safety in docking: Make no mistake, twin aft helms enable the helmsperson to get the best possible view of an approaching dock. This is particularly important in catamarans where the rather extreme beam can be not only intimidating, but can increase the risk of striking the dock, or pulling in too far away from the dock to tie up without assistance.

5. Ease for the helmsperson in boarding/exiting the boat when leaving or arriving at a dock. Again, it is much easier/quicker to get to an aft helm on the same side as the dock than it is to a bulkhead mounted helm, or a raised helm. Unless you always sail with sufficient crew, this can be significant in moderate to heavy crosswinds.

All boats (and virtually all design elements of boats) are to some degree a compromise. Depending upon one's priorities, twin aft helms have a great deal to commend them.

Brad

You have certainaly put a lot of time and thought into your post,but i wonder why, you are not going to sway any body away from the buying decision they have made. People who have come from either a mono hull or racing background will want the wind in the hair thrill of aft helms, others want a more protective position, you will not change that any more than trying to change someones religion, its a wasted argument .
Everyone wants something different, so what.
I have a protected helm ,somtimes its boring so i go and stand down on my back windward steps and look forward for 5 minutes get spray in my face and a feeling of speed and then go back to the comfort of my covered helm.
Each to their own preferences, how long can this stupid discussion go on for.
I much prefer discussing anchors, i love my Manson supreme with the hoop cut off
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Old 04-04-2014, 09:55   #107
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Originally Posted by thorcat View Post
You have certainaly put a lot of time and thought into your post,but i wonder why, you are not going to sway any body away from the buying decision they have made. People who have come from either a mono hull or racing background will want the wind in the hair thrill of aft helms, others want a more protective position, you will not change that any more than trying to change someones religion, its a wasted argument .
Everyone wants something different, so what.
I have a protected helm ,somtimes its boring so i go and stand down on my back windward steps and look forward for 5 minutes get spray in my face and a feeling of speed and then go back to the comfort of my covered helm.
Each to their own preferences, how long can this stupid discussion go on for.
I much prefer discussing anchors, i love my Manson supreme with the hoop cut off

You cut the hoop off? I just don't know what to say!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:09   #108
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Originally Posted by smj View Post
You cut the hoop off? I just don't know what to say!


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Lets me overtake a Catana even with a protected helm
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:20   #109
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Re: Exposed Helm

Colemj, you are of course correct that not all boats with twin aft helms come with twin engine controls as part of the standard specification. On the other hand, they are relatively easy to retrofit (I had to do the same on my last boat - a Cartwright 36 pilothouse cutter, that came equipped originally with an inside steering station without a second set of engine controls). Not only was it relatively easy, it was relatively inexpensive as I was able to make use of aftermarket control levers and cables.

I should also make clear that my own cat has a bulkhead mounted helm and is anything but performance oriented. I wanted a cat that was offshore capable, with three decent sized staterooms, a large sit-down nav station and a large galley. The limiting factor was that I wanted to be able to buy the boat and upgrade all sails, running rigging, standing rigging, lifelines, portlights, hatches, upholstery, electronics as needed, etc.for a total of about $150 - $160 K!

If my budget had been much larger, I would not have gone for more interior or deck volume, but for similar accomodation with more performance. If I had been prepared to spend another $200 to 250 K, a Catana 471 would have been high on my list!

I must say that I find it interesting that many of those who decry the safety of aft helms in offshore conditions seem to be somewhat inconsistent with respect to other aspects of catamaran design. If the ability to deal the most comfortably and safely in extreme conditions trumps all else, then shouldn't people also insist upon the following:

1. A walkway dividing the forward trampolines. If one ever has to go forward to repair jambed roller reefing or to bend on a galerider storm sail in extreme conditions, this would be extremely important. Apart from providing a more secure footing for crawling forward, it also strengthens the attachment of the tramps (which can be blown out in heavy seas): one large tramp supported on only 4 sides is replaced by two smaller ones supported on a total of 8 sides.

2. A full-width forward pulpit. Really, for the same reason as the walkway: if you have to go forward to the forestay/roller reefing in heavy conditions, these will provide much more safey/security thant just the seagull striker and stays. Indeed, the latter can be more of a trip-hazard. A number of older cruising cats had them and while they can adversely effect the lines of the boat, some say the same about 30 inch stanchions and lifelines. If you are that concerned about safety in extreme conditions, have you retro-fitted your boat with a full-width bow pulpit?

3. Small fixed portlights/windows or storm shields. Self-explanatory, really. If you are worried about getting swept off board in heavy seas, what will happen to the huge fixed portlights that are fitted to the coachouse (and now even topsides) of so many cats? Did you deliberately go to a boat with smaller windows/ports, living with the reduced interior lighting? Did you at least fit storm shields for the larger fixed windows?

4. A rig designed to safely and effectively deploy a storm jib. How many even have a storm jib? And while galeriders or equivalent are better than nothing, they are not ideally placed for a storm jib as the Ce of the sail should really be brought not only down, but in. This is to say nothing of the difficulty of bending one on as conditions deteriorate. Do you really want to have to go forward on exposed netting, attaching the sleeve over the furled headsai, attaching the halyard and sheets and then, returning aft on each deck to lead the sheets through the sheet blocks (and to adjust the lead cars - assuming they are long enough to allow proper trim for a storm jib in the first place)? If you are so concerned about being exposed to the elements, let alone exposed to the elements when you are unable to rely upon the autopilot, shouldn't you also have a cutter or solent rig with a roller reefing staysail/storm jib that would allow you to deploy the sail without having to go forward at all? If you are being consistent, wouldn't that also be important?

5. A smaller cockpit and an interior without large open spaces. Again, this should be pretty obvious. Even cats move about in heavy seas and large open interior/cockpit spaces increase the risk of injury through falling or being thrown into hard furnishings.

6. Sufficient interior handholds and fiddles on all counters and tables. Again, this should be pretty obvious and, while the fiddles need not be as large as on a monohull, there still should be something to stop pots, pans, cutlery, dishes, books etc., etc. from being thrown around the interior when the going gets rough. If you boat doesn't have them, did you retrofit them?

It strikes me that if someone is that concerned about the safety of twin aft helms in the rare circumstances when an autopilot cannot be used, then they should be equally concerned about the foregoing. Lets face it, these would be of benefit any time the going gets rough - even in circumstances where one can still rely upon the autopilot.

Once again, folks, there are no hard and fast answers. This is anyting but a black and white issue. ALL BOATs ARE COMPROMISES!

Brad

PS Thorcat, in that context all discussions are stupid. I am not attempting to convince someone that they have bought the wrong or right boat. Believe it or not, some people on this forum haven't bought their final boat. Some might be considering buying their first catamaran (or replacing the one that they currently have). I am attempting to bring some balance to the discussion so that those who are looking to buy a cat, now or in future, can consider all sides of the issue. But you are entitled to your opinion and if you believe that entire discussion and my posts are stupid, so be it.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:38   #110
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Re: Exposed Helm

Our boat fits 5 of those 6 points. If you consider that the largest saloon window is only ~24" and heat formed into its curves, then maybe we fit all 6 points since those windows are much smaller than most catamarans. We also have a fully waterproof hatch for a companionway door instead of patio glass sliders. Does that count for anything?

1. Check
2. No seagull striker, so a full double lifeline with 30" stanchions across the front
3. See above
4. Hank on jib. It is only a 90%, made with 9.8oz cloth and is theoretically reefable, so can be used in very rough conditions without a dedicated storm jib. A storm jib would simply hank on also.
5. Very small cockpit compared to more modern catamarans. The aluminum hardtop provides overhead handholds across the whole thing and there are grab rails mounted everywhere one would step up or down in it. Likewise inside we have a large vertical pole mounted right inside the companionway, no large spaces without some type of furnishing to brace on, and handholds wherever one needs to step up/down.
6. The saloon table does not have fiddles, but everywhere else does. In addition, there are the sinks and a sunken area in one of the counters to hold things. And our stove has pot holders.

And a fully enclosed bulkhead helm for comfort!

Helm location would not be a deal breaker for me, but specific helm implementations would. The Catana 471 has always been one of my dream boats. And yes, I have sailed outboard helms in nasty (and nice) conditions. I have never met an outboard helm owner who liked being out on them in nasty conditions (who would?). I do like being outboard in nice conditions.

Mark
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:52   #111
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Re: Exposed Helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Colemj, you are of course correct that not all boats with twin aft helms come with twin engine controls as part of the standard specification. On the other hand, they are relatively easy to retrofit (I had to do the same on my last boat - a Cartwright 36 pilothouse cutter, that came equipped originally with an inside steering station without a second set of engine controls). Not only was it relatively easy, it was relatively inexpensive as I was able to make use of aftermarket control levers and cables.

I should also make clear that my own cat has a bulkhead mounted helm and is anything but performance oriented. I wanted a cat that was offshore capable, with three decent sized staterooms, a large sit-down nav station and a large galley. The limiting factor was that I wanted to be able to buy the boat and upgrade all sails, running rigging, standing rigging, lifelines, portlights, hatches, upholstery, electronics as needed, etc.for a total of about $150 - $160 K!

If my budget had been much larger, I would not have gone for more interior or deck volume, but for similar accomodation with more performance. If I had been prepared to spend another $200 to 250 K, a Catana 471 would have been high on my list!

I must say that I find it interesting that many of those who decry the safety of aft helms in offshore conditions seem to be somewhat inconsistent with respect to other aspects of catamaran design. If the ability to deal the most comfortably and safely in extreme conditions trumps all else, then shouldn't people also insist upon the following:

1. A walkway dividing the forward trampolines. If one ever has to go forward to repair jambed roller reefing or to bend on a galerider storm sail in extreme conditions, this would be extremely important. Apart from providing a more secure footing for crawling forward, it also strengthens the attachment of the tramps (which can be blown out in heavy seas): one large tramp supported on only 4 sides is replaced by two smaller ones supported on a total of 8 sides.

2. A full-width forward pulpit. Really, for the same reason as the walkway: if you have to go forward to the forestay/roller reefing in heavy conditions, these will provide much more safey/security thant just the seagull striker and stays. Indeed, the latter can be more of a trip-hazard. A number of older cruising cats had them and while they can adversely effect the lines of the boat, some say the same about 30 inch stanchions and lifelines. If you are that concerned about safety in extreme conditions, have you retro-fitted your boat with a full-width bow pulpit?

3. Small fixed portlights/windows or storm shields. Self-explanatory, really. If you are worried about getting swept off board in heavy seas, what will happen to the huge fixed portlights that are fitted to the coachouse (and now even topsides) of so many cats? Did you deliberately go to a boat with smaller windows/ports, living with the reduced interior lighting? Did you at least fit storm shields for the larger fixed windows?

4. A rig designed to safely and effectively deploy a storm jib. How many even have a storm jib? And while galeriders or equivalent are better than nothing, they are not ideally placed for a storm jib as the Ce of the sail should really be brought not only down, but in. This is to say nothing of the difficulty of bending one on as conditions deteriorate. Do you really want to have to go forward on exposed netting, attaching the sleeve over the furled headsai, attaching the halyard and sheets and then, returning aft on each deck to lead the sheets through the sheet blocks (and to adjust the lead cars - assuming they are long enough to allow proper trim for a storm jib in the first place)? If you are so concerned about being exposed to the elements, let alone exposed to the elements when you are unable to rely upon the autopilot, shouldn't you also have a cutter or solent rig with a roller reefing staysail/storm jib that would allow you to deploy the sail without having to go forward at all? If you are being consistent, wouldn't that also be important?

5. A smaller cockpit and an interior without large open spaces. Again, this should be pretty obvious. Even cats move about in heavy seas and large open interior/cockpit spaces increase the risk of injury through falling or being thrown into hard furnishings.

6. Sufficient interior handholds and fiddles on all counters and tables. Again, this should be pretty obvious and, while the fiddles need not be as large as on a monohull, there still should be something to stop pots, pans, cutlery, dishes, books etc., etc. from being thrown around the interior when the going gets rough. If you boat doesn't have them, did you retrofit them?

It strikes me that if someone is that concerned about the safety of twin aft helms in the rare circumstances when an autopilot cannot be used, then they should be equally concerned about the foregoing. Lets face it, these would be of benefit any time the going gets rough - even in circumstances where one can still rely upon the autopilot.

Once again, folks, there are no hard and fast answers. This is anyting but a black and white issue. ALL BOATs ARE COMPROMISES!

Brad

PS Thorcat, in that context all discussions are stupid. I am not attempting to convince someone that they have bought the wrong or right boat. Believe it or not, some people on this forum haven't bought their final boat. Some might be considering buying their first catamaran (or replacing the one that they currently have). I am attempting to bring some balance to the discussion so that those who are looking to buy a cat, now or in future, can consider all sides of the issue. But you are entitled to your opinion and if you believe that entire discussion and my posts are stupid, so be it.

Don't go getting all sensitive on me brad ,i didnt say your post was stupid, but this whole discussion seems to be just going around in circles, how many times can the same thing be said in a different way without boring poeple to death, just go for a sail and enjoy the boat you've got ,if not change it.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:04   #112
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Re: Exposed Helm

Sorry thorcat, when someone responds to my post specifically (and reprints it above his post) and goes on to describe the entire discussion as stupid, I somehow thought that included me. My bad!

Anyway, no worries. I am not particularly thin-skinned. I am, however, out of here!

Brad
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:17   #113
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Originally Posted by thorcat View Post
You have certainaly put a lot of time and thought into your post,but i wonder why, you are not going to sway any body away from the buying decision they have made.
Each to their own preferences, how long can this stupid discussion go on for.
Don't go getting all sensitive on me brad ,i didnt say your post was stupid, but this whole discussion seems to be just going around in circles, how many times can the same thing be said in a different way without boring poeple to death, just go for a sail and enjoy the boat you've got ,if not change it.

I much prefer discussing anchors, i love my Manson supreme with the hoop cut off
Yes....you sound boring!..... suggest you move on to another thread (anchors perhaps?) so you don't have to waste your time here....

Bob
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:26   #114
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Re: Exposed Helm

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I wouldn't expect someone who bought a Mahe to understand.

If they're smart, Catana won't change their designs in this regard. If this causes them to miss a few sales, oh well. They're not after that market segment.

2 Hulls Dave
Oh but I do understand, because earlier Mahe's did not have a Helm Bimini, so the captain was unprotected. We did that for a few years until I could fabricate a helm hardtop.

Most older cruising sailors do understand the need for protection from the elements as you may have read in a few CF posts about cruisers getting spots of skin cancer removed.

You may not be in that league yet, but in a few years you may look back on some of these posts after your doctors appointment and say, WOW theses olds salts really do know what there talking about.

You really can have a performance boat and protection from the elements, you just need to make a hardtop that works for your boat. It's not that hard.
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Old 05-04-2014, 03:32   #115
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Re: Exposed Helm

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Not to pick nits, but this is only true if both helms have engine controls. Most do not.

Mark
It is true that many/most twin helm cats do not have engine controls at both helms. Ours only has them at the port helm, but that just means I dock port side to 90% of the time. Historically it was called the port side for a reason :-). As the helms and cleats are arranged on our boat, I can easily loop and secure a line over a dock cleat from the port helm, which makes docking much easier single or double handed.

When I need to dock starboard side to, I do need a crew member, but the person on the bow with the dock line easily acts as my second set of eyes. I also have a camera at the first spreader that shows me a view of both bows on the chart plotter, but it has not been as useful as I hoped, and I don't think I would bother installing one next time.

All in all, I personally think the outboard helm position is actually a plus for docking, but it does take a little getting used to. When it all works well, I just put the port bow a foot off the dock beside a cleat, the person on the bow drops a doubled line over the dock cleat, secures it short, then I turn the stern in using the engines against the bow line, and drop the stern line over a cleat from the helm. When going starboard side to, I leave a little more clearance from the dock as I don't have a view along the side of the hull as I do on the port side, but I suspect that most bulkhead mounted helms don't give you that view along the hull either.

Mark.
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