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Old 16-03-2014, 13:54   #1
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helm location

I think that one of our major deciding factors when we finally get ready to buy a boat.. is going to be 'where the helm is located'. (most of the boats we are looking at are in the 45' range)

After having been on a ton of boats at Miami.. I realized that I have a BIG problem.. or, perhaps I should say.. a SMALL problem. I'm only 5' tall. Frankly, many of the boats we looked at, provided little to NO visibility for me. The only "helm" I felt TRULY comfortable with was the lagoon 450... I could see EVERYTHING.. But.. there are a couple major problems with that helm as well.. (a) it is impossible to check on the "helmsman" unless you actually climb up to the helm... Can't do a quick check.. which concerns me during rough seas. you could lose your helmsman.. and not even know it... and (b).. the boom is SOOO high.. I couldn't even reach it..

a raised helm.. (like on the Helia) is better than most.. but I certainly can't see all 4 corners of the boat...

Anyone LOVE where their helm is located? or hate it? pluses or minuses? Any suggestions for a "little person" such as myself?
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Old 16-03-2014, 16:56   #2
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Re: helm location

I spent about 10 years on a 45' cat with a single bulkhead mounted steering station. I could not see the starboard bow from the (port side) steering station.
Who cares? If I needed to see the starboard bow while docking or performing some other close quarters maneuver, I put the transmissions in neutral, walked across the cockpit, looked at the starboard bow, and walked back to the steering station.
This is not a problem unless you're docking at 20 knots or thereabouts.
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Old 16-03-2014, 17:02   #3
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helm location

I have a distinct dislike of the cats with flybridge helms more suited to a sport fishing boat. The helm & boom being much higher raises the centre of gravity of the vessel etc etc.

In your case would it work for you if you installed a raised platform out of stainless steel & teak at the helm which was hinged and could be folded up when not in use which would give you the extra height to increase your visibility?
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Old 17-03-2014, 05:57   #4
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Re: helm location

Every helm position has its own pros and cons. Otherwise, every boat designer would have used the same helm position. In my view, FP position is ideal.
-easy to rush to in case of emergency,
-safe, almost impossible to get over board,
-not too much exposed, just enough to feel the breeze on yr face,
-every control is at yr reach, very easy to single handle. (a bit less with Helia and Salina as opposed to Orana..)
-More importantly, you are in eye contact with everybody on board..

What I don't like is autopilote control which is behind the steering wheel; it's catching yr wrist every time..

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Old 17-03-2014, 06:34   #5
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Re: helm location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozbullwinkle View Post
I have a distinct dislike of the cats with flybridge helms more suited to a sport fishing boat. The helm & boom being much higher raises the centre of gravity of the vessel etc etc.

In your case would it work for you if you installed a raised platform out of stainless steel & teak at the helm which was hinged and could be folded up when not in use which would give you the extra height to increase your visibility?
There ya go.
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Old 17-03-2014, 10:25   #6
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Re: helm location

Scarlet -
When we acquired the 45' cat I mentioned, the previous owner had been quite happy with visibility from the helm. Of course he was about 6'3".
We fabricated a wooden box to stand on to see over the cabin top, and had the helm seat support post lengthened for the same purpose. Worked out fine.
I don't like the "fly bridge" type helm positions. I always wonder what it's like when you have to be at the helm in cold, rainy, windy, nasty conditions. For that matter, how could you single hand one of those boats? I don't think you can get to another place on the boat very quickly in case of emergency.
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Old 17-03-2014, 13:13   #7
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Re: helm location

I bought a wireless reversing camera for a 4x4 I used to own but never got round to fitting it. Cost me about £40, still have it in storage.
Been thinking about adding a battery and a clamp to the camera so I can put it wherever I might need it for singlehanded berthing, security etc.
Maybe one or more cameras would let you choose the boat that suits you best otherwise?
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Old 17-03-2014, 13:31   #8
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Re: helm location

I like my bulkhead helm, can see all 4 corners when standing (and I'm short). I enjoy the weather protection the most, been is some pretty rough stuff and can't imagine being on a FB helm in 30-40kts & 10' seas. Notice how many are having enclosures made for their raised helms? There is a reason for that.
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Old 17-03-2014, 13:36   #9
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Re: helm location

I've found that most helms have the visibility needed. You simply step to one side or the other... usually one step from the helm and get a view. Perfect? no. My cat had the helm port/center on the main bulkhead. It had a step up at the helm. I felt the view was fine. Heck, your average tugboat, fishing boat or 600' freighter has worse view.
regarding seeing the helmsman... I think on a cat, if a wave event happened big enough to throw him off the boat... you'd be looking out the door to see whats left of the boat anyway.
I would avoid dual aft helms.... I see no pluses in those on a cruising boat, unless you like wet, cold and poor visibility to the opposite side....
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Old 17-03-2014, 14:20   #10
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Re: helm location

Agree with previous posters. A FB helm has advantages but most important to me is comfort/weather protection for a cruising cat. So I prefer bulkhead.
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Old 17-03-2014, 16:37   #11
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Re: helm location

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
a raised helm.. (like on the Helia) is better than most.. but I certainly can't see all 4 corners of the boat...

Anyone LOVE where their helm is located? or hate it? pluses or minuses? Any suggestions for a "little person" such as myself?

Have you considered a monohull instead? One of the advantages of a monohull is better visibility, and most of them have twin helm stations now that make it even better still.

Off the top of my head, the only production catamaran that uses twin helm stations is the Nautitech. That might solve your problem. I suggest you take a look, for example: Homepage*>*nautitech 442
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Old 17-03-2014, 17:58   #12
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Re: helm location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozbullwinkle View Post
I have a distinct dislike of the cats with flybridge helms more suited to a sport fishing boat. The helm & boom being much higher raises the centre of gravity of the vessel etc etc.
Why don't you like the flybridges? just curious..
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Old 17-03-2014, 17:59   #13
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Re: helm location

Quote:
Originally Posted by pathlesschosen View Post
Agree with previous posters. A FB helm has advantages but most important to me is comfort/weather protection for a cruising cat. So I prefer bulkhead.
I hadn't really thought of weather protection.... hmmmm....
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Old 17-03-2014, 18:00   #14
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Re: helm location

Quote:
Originally Posted by bornyesterday View Post
I bought a wireless reversing camera for a 4x4 I used to own but never got round to fitting it. Cost me about £40, still have it in storage.
Been thinking about adding a battery and a clamp to the camera so I can put it wherever I might need it for singlehanded berthing, security etc.
Maybe one or more cameras would let you choose the boat that suits you best otherwise?
this is really a good idea!!!
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Old 17-03-2014, 19:51   #15
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Re: helm location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohan View Post
Have you considered a monohull instead? One of the advantages of a monohull is better visibility, and most of them have twin helm stations now that make it even better still.

Off the top of my head, the only production catamaran that uses twin helm stations is the Nautitech. That might solve your problem. I suggest you take a look, for example: Homepage*>*nautitech 442
All Seawinds are Twin helm stations (Bulkhead), Catanas are in the main, if not all, twin helms (transom),
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