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Old 18-03-2014, 18:03   #31
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Re: helm location

Great summary Brad. Just one point about aft helm positions though. I'm a firm believer in the old adage 'Prepare for the worst and enjoy the best', so the worst I have experienced is having to hand steer for 2 days, and nights, in fully developed beam breaking seas (effectively fore reaching) to steer around the breakers. Autopilot NOT an option, it just wouldn't cope or be quick enough to steer around the foamy bits.

So protected helm with full visibility is a must have priority for me. The idea of being exposed on a side deck or aft transom in those conditions is not worth thinking about, regardless of the best foulweather gear and safety harnesses. I have eliminated Catana's solely for that reason. It's a pity they do not offer a bulkhead helm option for more bluewater extended cruising use.
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Old 18-03-2014, 18:18   #32
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Re: helm location

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
No pluses? How about being able to see the sail trim on either tack?
While I will grant you this point for aft helms, it becomes somewhat less important when cruising and you spend a great deal of time on one tack or another. Generally speaking, you are not overly concerned about fine tuning the sail trim endlessly as you might be if racing. Sure you need to pay attention, but I would rather trade off the protection from the weather that is available to be had from other helm locations.

To me an Atlantic 47 Mast Foil is a great choice. If the lottery would only pay off!!
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Old 18-03-2014, 18:42   #33
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Re: helm location

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So protected helm with full visibility is a must have priority for me. The idea of being exposed on a side deck or aft transom in those conditions is not worth thinking about, regardless of the best foulweather gear and safety harnesses. I have eliminated Catana's solely for that reason. It's a pity they do not offer a bulkhead helm option for more bluewater extended cruising use.
Rob

I completely understand these sentiments.

However, it depends on HOW you cruise. Nowadays, if you are careful, well trained, use good weather forecasting, and not in a hurry, then you can avoid these sort of conditions 99.9% of the time. The question is do you want to spend the bulk of the time closed in by fibreglass and glass rather then in the elements.

From my point of view there is not problem with a raised helm with a bimini cover (canvas or glass) with the option of full canvas/plastic surround which is only attached under these sort of adverse conditions. That way you can have the best of both worlds.

This is not to discount the idea of a FF46, as I understand you can open those front windows. Having not seen the boat I do not know how much openness you feel when they are open.

What I can say is that a raised helm works pretty well.

A flying helm and rear helm on the other hand is quite exposed regardless.
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Old 18-03-2014, 18:44   #34
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Re: helm location

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To me an Atlantic 47 Mast Foil is a great choice. If the lottery would only pay off!!
A great choice certainly and I would love to buy one. Unfortunately vetoed by the Admiral on the grounds of comfort, or rather lack thereof.
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Old 18-03-2014, 18:58   #35
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Re: helm location

CJW,

Yes you are 100% correct that nowadays you can avoid almost all such nasty weather events. The operative word is almost, however. That was a few years ago and the weather fax did not predict a normal southerly turning into an extended and more intense weather system. The Tasman and Coral Sea can be unfriendly places. It's not real common, but stuff happens. Weather systems can frequently be more intense than forecasted by even such excellent programs as PredictWind (which is fantastic for routing ).

If you are long distance cruising or circumnavigating, I believe sooner or later you are going to get beat up. And then the boat has to take care of you as much as you take care of her.

The FF46 has 360 visibility not only from the helm, but also from the cockpit seats looking forward. With all the windows open in both saloon and cockpit, it is a very airy and open feeling indeed, something the Admiral loved about the boat for warm climates, even when it's raining hard.
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Old 18-03-2014, 19:33   #36
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Re: helm location

BigBeakie.... what boat were you sailing in when you experienced 2 days of hand steering?... I assume it was an 2aft helmed boat... a Catana perhaps? and how did the other aspects of the boat fair in those conditions?

Bob
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Old 18-03-2014, 20:06   #37
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Re: helm location

REsCat,

No, not in a Catana thank God. It was a cedar strip plank 14m Simpson. Strong boat, port bulkhead helm position. Hydrive hydraulic steering and commercial trawler autopilot (and it still didn't cope!). Protection for helm was just OK as we looked over the coachroof & were under solid bimini. No protective windows, just looked through gap between coachroof and bimini top so lots of spray came through and some green water once in a while. Seas were over 5 meters breaking and running against the East Australian current.

My comment about Catana was just what we consider important as we consider what boat to get for bluewater liveaboard cruising, and remembering what it was like in those conditions and imagining how other designs would be better, or worse, as in the case of Catana helm position. There were just 2 of us steering for those 2 days and the fatigue and stress levels were something I never want to duplicate again. Hence my priority level for protected helm and excellent visibility under the worst of conditions.

It's quite easy to design a boat for fair weather sailing and pottering around the Med or Caribbean, but some areas are more testing than others I would suggest. Of course that is not to say that sailing through a strong Maltemi off Greece or across the Windward passage is a cake walk, but it is "relatively" protected and there is the possibility of running for cover at least.

Apologies to any Catana owners, no disrespect intended to the design. I love most of the rest of the boat, the fitout seems superb, but when the chips are down I know where I would rather be, and it's not at those helm positions.
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Old 19-03-2014, 09:47   #38
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Re: helm location

You guys have really opened my eyes about being protected from the elements. I think one of the reasons I LOVED the fly bridge on the lagoon 450... ( other than the fact that I could actually SEE where I was sailing... ) was that both of us.. and the dogs.. could all sit with each other.. and enjoy the sailing experience together.

With so many cats.. there is only seating for one.. and the visibility isn't great.. and when one person is enjoying the sailing.. the other person is stuck alone in the cockpit.. or the salon... I guess I just wanted us to be together.. especially if we are on a longer sail...

But, if it is going to cause a hardship due to inclimate weather.. we will need to look at the alternatives. and You have all given me many here...
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Old 19-03-2014, 12:19   #39
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Re: helm location

Each of the different helm locations have their positives and negatives, and each person can list the same characteristic in different buckets, depending on their priorities and perspective. As has been well pointed out by others, aft helm locations can provide great views of the sails and easy sightlines, but can leave you exposed to the weather. Others enjoy being out in the weather when they want to handsteer and have no problem using the autopilot and staying inside when they don't. Some people love the sociability of the Lagoon style flybridge and feel nice and safe up there in a blow, while others view it as too cut of from the rest of the boat would feel too exposed in foul weather.

There are lots of well meaning people on here who can share their opinions and experiences, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to what YOUR priorities are, and how YOU perceive the pros/cons of each helm location. But also don't forget that the helm location is just one of the features that you get to look at when choosing a boat. It may be your top priority, in which case you can narrow down your list pretty easily, or lower down and other features may be more important. Fortunately, we seem to be in a great period for multihulls and there are lots of great boats out there and at least one of them will match whatever priority list you end up with.

David
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Old 19-03-2014, 19:15   #40
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helm location

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
You guys have really opened my eyes about being protected from the elements. I think one of the reasons I LOVED the fly bridge on the lagoon 450... ( other than the fact that I could actually SEE where I was sailing... ) was that both of us.. and the dogs.. could all sit with each other.. and enjoy the sailing experience together.

With so many cats.. there is only seating for one.. and the visibility isn't great.. and when one person is enjoying the sailing.. the other person is stuck alone in the cockpit.. or the salon... I guess I just wanted us to be together.. especially if we are on a longer sail...

But, if it is going to cause a hardship due to inclimate weather.. we will need to look at the alternatives. and You have all given me many here...

Hi Scarlet,

Bit of a late response to your earlier question to me about why I did not like the flybridge helms. Apart from what I have already stated about how high the boom is which affects the boats COG and sailing performance & having much more windage and exposure in bad weather as many others have mentioned. Due to the height of the boom have you actually tried to physically zip up the boombag or reach into the bag if required to push in bits of the main which may be protruding through the lazyjacks or get your hands on the main sheet cars or reef attachment points etc etc?

In summary what I am saying is would you be able to easily reach all of these if required especially if the weather was inclement?

It also depends on how and where you are going to use your boat, if it is mainly for day sails and some overnighters and you are not planning long passages then these items are less of an issue but still should be considered.

There are also several cats on the market with bulkhead helms which have good visibility over the coachroof as well as through the saloon windows which also have a wide helmseat where 2 can sit side by side.
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Old 19-03-2014, 23:55   #41
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Re: helm location

Have to say I just dont understand the perceived bad weather exposure that twin aft helms are credited with. After all the vast majority of blue water cruising boats are still monos and the vast majority of them are aft helmed.

You dont see post after post on the mono forum about how those sailors feel exposed in bad weather due to their aft helms and wishing they had a center cockpit. So what is it about (some) cat sailors that feel the need to be more sheltered than mono sailors???
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Old 20-03-2014, 02:08   #42
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Re: helm location

If you like sailing then twin aft helms are better. If you can't see the sail then it's hard to sail well.
But it is more exposed than a saloon bulkhead helm position.
We like our wheels which are aft outboard but then the boat is a performance cruiser.
Sometimes you get wet but as already said, everything is a compromise.
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Old 20-03-2014, 06:46   #43
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Re: helm location

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Originally Posted by Barra View Post
Have to say I just dont understand the perceived bad weather exposure that twin aft helms are credited with. After all the vast majority of blue water cruising boats are still monos and the vast majority of them are aft helmed.

You dont see post after post on the mono forum about how those sailors feel exposed in bad weather due to their aft helms and wishing they had a center cockpit. So what is it about (some) cat sailors that feel the need to be more sheltered than mono sailors???
You also don't see post after post on mono forums about heeling, or rolling off the wind, or not being able to see outside from the saloon, or many other features they don't know they are missing…

Helm position would not be a deal breaker for me (within reason - I have been on an Outremer and Nautitech with helms I would not have), but I don't see any disadvantage to being sheltered from rain, spray, sun, wind, etc while steering.

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Old 20-03-2014, 13:48   #44
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Re: helm location

Well put Mark!

Brad
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Old 20-03-2014, 14:42   #45
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Re: helm location

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
You also don't see post after post on mono forums about heeling, or rolling off the wind, or not being able to see outside from the saloon, or many other features they don't know they are missing…

Helm position would not be a deal breaker for me (within reason - I have been on an Outremer and Nautitech with helms I would not have), but I don't see any disadvantage to being sheltered from rain, spray, sun, wind, etc while steering.

Mark
This is the key to helm position for many of us Mark.
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