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Old 19-12-2015, 08:49   #16
pbr
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Re: Helm positions

Anyone that has done any amount of cruising, particularly in varying climates, pretty quickly figures out they want to be protected from the elements when standing watch at the helm. In my opinion the cockpit and ergonomics on most catamarans have been an afterthought over the years. Exposed helms outboard are fine for limited day sailing, but not a desirable place to be for extended watches.

Sitting in the cockpit with the auto pilot steering with no one looking forward with 360 visibility is less than prudent. Same holds true standing watch inside the salon where again limited visibility and no sail controls. Fly bridges or elevated helms can be an option but again need full enclosures, and raise CG and windage, with further isolation from the rest of the crew. To my mind the only and best arrangement for serious cruising is a bulkhead mounted helm with comfortable seating, 360 degree visibility with all sail handling leading to that position.

Equally a full cockpit enclosure with U zip windows for quick ventilation should be standard. Today people want there comforts so optionally ducting in air conditioning/heat into that area to be used when necessary makes things very comfortable. Another important part of the equation would be to have a glass windshield or insert with wiper/washer in front of the helm position for all weather visibility.
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Old 19-12-2015, 10:13   #17
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Re: Helm positions

PBR,
You could be describing an Antares 44 or a St. Francis 50 :-)



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Old 19-12-2015, 10:38   #18
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Re: Helm positions

Or a Manta.
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Old 19-12-2015, 11:55   #19
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Re: Helm positions

For me the perfect option is the open bridgedeck cat like the Maine Cats or Seawind. You can sit anywhere in the cockpit or at the salon table and have a 360 degree view. The problem with the bulkhead stations is you are confined to one seat which to be honest usually isn't that comfortable.


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Old 19-12-2015, 12:18   #20
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Re: Helm positions

I don't know SMJ, I find my bulkhead mounted helm with pedestal seat pretty comfortable. It adjusts fore/aft, swivels, has an adjustable footrest and padded seat as well as padded arm rests. If I want to stand, I slide the seat aft a bit and there is an indent in the bulkhead for your toes. Under anchor the seat swivels arouned to face the rest of the cockpit. Since it is located by the companionway door, it permits quick, easy, safe and dry access to the saloon/nav station - particulaly helpful in inclement conditions if you want to check paper charts, use the SSB/VHF, or need to converse with another crew member who is doing the same.

Brad
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Old 19-12-2015, 12:35   #21
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Re: Helm positions

We have been in the ICW several times desperately heading south in cold sleet and high winds, unable to get offshore for hundreds of miles. An autopilot is useless there, and we were very happy to be inside a full enclosure on our protected helm.

However, I don't think any of the outside helm boats can even do the ICW, so perhaps the point is moot.

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Old 19-12-2015, 14:49   #22
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Re: Helm positions

The comfort of the helm seat is directly proportional to how much money you want to spend on it. The last boat I built had Stidd chairs that you could recline in and sleep if you wanted to. Open bridgedeck I think is fine, but I prefer something with a coach roof for full time cruising and live aboard.
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Old 19-12-2015, 16:21   #23
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Re: Helm positions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbr View Post
Anyone that has done any amount of cruising, particularly in varying climates, pretty quickly figures out they want to be protected from the elements when standing watch at the helm. In my opinion the cockpit and ergonomics on most catamarans have been an afterthought over the years. Exposed helms outboard are fine for limited day sailing, but not a desirable place to be for extended watches.
Anyone?

I've done a large amount of serious cruising on monos and cats with varying helm positions and pretty quickly figured out that dual aft helms were the best for my tastes.

It's just a preference. It may not be your's.

It's sad that some people have acquired such a level of arrogance that they consider their conclusions and preferences superior to other's and feel compelled to speak for others.

Dave
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Old 19-12-2015, 17:01   #24
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Re: Helm positions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
I don't know SMJ, I find my bulkhead mounted helm with pedestal seat pretty comfortable. It adjusts fore/aft, swivels, has an adjustable footrest and padded seat as well as padded arm rests. If I want to stand, I slide the seat aft a bit and there is an indent in the bulkhead for your toes. Under anchor the seat swivels arouned to face the rest of the cockpit. Since it is located by the companionway door, it permits quick, easy, safe and dry access to the saloon/nav station - particulaly helpful in inclement conditions if you want to check paper charts, use the SSB/VHF, or need to converse with another crew member who is doing the same.

Brad

I'm sure your helm is pretty much like our old Cherokee 35 as it was built of the old Cherokee molds. There's no doubt the Cherokee had a fantastic helm with unrestricted visibility of all four corners, something to be appreciated. The Seawind 1000 had the options of sitting at either of the twin wheels, sitting at either of the radar arch seats or sitting at the salon table. While on autopilot sitting at the salon table on watch was unbeatable. The new boat we just purchased has twin tillers so as of right now the steering station is either side with your back against the lifelines. We are tossing around the idea of cutting the cabin top of to form an open bridgedeck cat. Not a setup for everyone but one we truly appreciate.


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Old 19-12-2015, 17:08   #25
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Re: Helm positions

I find it sad that sailing has become an indoor sport.......
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Old 19-12-2015, 18:29   #26
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Re: Helm positions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbr View Post
Anyone that has done any amount of cruising, particularly in varying climates, pretty quickly figures out they want to be protected from the elements when standing watch at the helm. In my opinion the cockpit and ergonomics on most catamarans have been an afterthought over the years. Exposed helms outboard are fine for limited day sailing, but not a desirable place to be for extended watches.

Sitting in the cockpit with the auto pilot steering with no one looking forward with 360 visibility is less than prudent. Same holds true standing watch inside the salon where again limited visibility and no sail controls. Fly bridges or elevated helms can be an option but again need full enclosures, and raise CG and windage, with further isolation from the rest of the crew. To my mind the only and best arrangement for serious cruising is a bulkhead mounted helm with comfortable seating, 360 degree visibility with all sail handling leading to that position.

Equally a full cockpit enclosure with U zip windows for quick ventilation should be standard. Today people want there comforts so optionally ducting in air conditioning/heat into that area to be used when necessary makes things very comfortable. Another important part of the equation would be to have a glass windshield or insert with wiper/washer in front of the helm position for all weather visibility.
We are very different - to me your are describing the wheelhouse of a motor boat not a sail boat. I thought at first this bold bit was a bit tongue in cheek actually. Air conditioning and a fixed windshield seriously?

The biggest difference between us though is that I get that different people have different preferences hence the wide variety of boats and helms. Some of us dont want to sacrifice sailing enjoyment 95% of the time for a bit of weather exposure 5% of the time as thats why we have sail boats and not motor boats.

Likewise some dont feel comfortable standing watch away from the helm and then spend so many hours there they look at ways to make it as comfortable as possible. Fair enough. But its not the ONLY way.


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Old 19-12-2015, 22:52   #27
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Re: Helm positions

"Anyone that has done any amount of cruising, particularly in varying climates, pretty quickly figures out they want to be protected from the elements when standing watch at the helm."[quote]

Randomly flicking through yachting magazines for something like this. A "good offshore cockpit" for "world-girdling cruising". [sounds like British back-slapping, but actually it's a review in the US Sail magazine]
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Old 20-12-2015, 10:52   #28
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Re: Helm positions

"We are tossing around the idea of cutting the cabin top of to form an open bridgedeck cat. Not a setup for everyone but one we truly appreciate.".

Smj , On many Catamarans the saloon portion of the boat is an integral part of the structure and can form the main beam. For example on a PDQ36 you actually sleep in side the main beam . I really like the layout of the boats that have open center IE maincat etc. but they are engineered that way from the get go . Talk to the designers before you go make any decisions.
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Old 20-12-2015, 11:11   #29
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Re: Helm positions

Quote:
Originally Posted by admiralslater View Post
"We are tossing around the idea of cutting the cabin top of to form an open bridgedeck cat. Not a setup for everyone but one we truly appreciate.".



Smj , On many Catamarans the saloon portion of the boat is an integral part of the structure and can form the main beam. For example on a PDQ36 you actually sleep in side the main beam . I really like the layout of the boats that have open center IE maincat etc. but they are engineered that way from the get go . Talk to the designers before you go make any decisions.

Thanks Admiral, I've spoken to John Marples the designer and he says the cabin top and rear bulkhead ad no structural support. The boat was originally designed as an open bridgedeck but this is their "cruiser" model as it had the cabin top added. Not sure if we will do this but the option is there. It would make a really nice open bridgedeck cruiser.


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Old 20-12-2015, 12:13   #30
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Re: Helm positions

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Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Anyone?

I've done a large amount of serious cruising on monos and cats with varying helm positions and pretty quickly figured out that dual aft helms were the best for my tastes.

It's just a preference. It may not be your's.

It's sad that some people have acquired such a level of arrogance that they consider their conclusions and preferences superior to other's and feel compelled to speak for others.

Dave
I guess I should have said "Most everyone" it's not arrogance, just 38 yrs. of listening to and providing what people want. The typical demographic (50and older) that buy, live aboard and cruise multihulls in this range want their comforts and I don't blame them.
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