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Old 20-12-2015, 15:37   #31
pbr
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Re: Helm positions

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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.
It has been my experience that visibility through vinyl isn't very good when it rains, hence the need for something glass with a wiper, if you are picking out marks at night it can be rather critical. I would say staying out of the sun is a requisite 95% pf the time when cruising, and of course having to sit at an exposed helm when its cold and raining isn't much fun either. As for ac, the technology is there to do it today, just a diverter from interior to exterior can work, and make very unpleasant conditions when it is extremely hot and no wind bearable.






Vive la difference



It has been my experience that visibility through vinyl isn't very good when it rains, hence the need for something glass with a wiper, if you are picking out marks at night it can be rather critical. I would say staying out of the sun is a requisite 95% of the time when cruising, and of course having to sit at an exposed helm when its cold and raining isn't much fun either. As for ac, the technology is there to do it today, just a diverter from interior to exterior can work, and make very unpleasant conditions when it is extremely hot and no wind bearable, but also when in very cold climates.
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Old 20-12-2015, 15:42   #32
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Re: Helm positions

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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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It s nice to have the option, you could even do a hybrid solution and just remove the aft end of the saloon or leave only the front and as a fixed dodger. When the structure is not an issue there are a ton of choices
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Old 20-12-2015, 18:23   #33
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Re: Helm positions

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It has been my experience that visibility through vinyl isn't very good when it rains, hence the need for something glass with a wiper, if you are picking out marks at night it can be rather critical. I would say staying out of the sun is a requisite 95% of the time when cruising, and of course having to sit at an exposed helm when its cold and raining isn't much fun either. As for ac, the technology is there to do it today, just a diverter from interior to exterior can work, and make very unpleasant conditions when it is extremely hot and no wind bearable, but also when in very cold climates.
Yes I agree in some parts of the world thats a good idea thats why i wear a hat and if need be a sunshirt - much lower windage that and more flexible too in case i want to enjoy a bit of sunshine in a more temperate clime or move about the boat.

Wet weather gear if its cold and raining and i have to actually handsteer (rare), otherwise AP and remote and a dry and warm saloon or cockpit with good vision forward does the job for me.

On the AC that just seems circular to me - put yourself in a glasshouse and of course theres no breeze, then complain its too hot and so need AC.

You seem to want a boat that can be comfortable in the 5% of times when things are a bit snotty but at the expense of one thats less comfortable the other 95% of time. Im happy to go the other way and put up with a bit of bad weather, maybe get a wet face, for that 5% of time i need to actually be at the helm in it in return for a better sailing helm set up the rest of the time.

Its personal preferences like someone else pointed out not right or wrong.
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Old 20-12-2015, 20:20   #34
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Re: Helm positions

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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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Don't know about the Maine Cats but on a Seawind you can also sit on the hull by the steering station and put your legs inside and use your foot to steer if you want to be able to feel the wind and get the best view of lobster pots you are dodging on one side of the boat.

Not to mention when you do that you look too cool for school.
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Old 20-12-2015, 20:38   #35
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Re: Helm positions

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Don't know about the Maine Cats but on a Seawind you can also sit on the hull by the steering station and put your legs inside and use your foot to steer if you want to be able to feel the wind and get the best view of lobster pots you are dodging on one side of the boat.

Not to mention when you do that you look too cool for school.

Don't forget Tom, before you took our beloved Seawind away from us my ass sat on the exact spot you are talking about, and I do miss it!


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Old 21-12-2015, 07:35   #36
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Re: Helm positions

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Yes I agree in some parts of the world thats a good idea thats why i wear a hat and if need be a sunshirt - much lower windage that and more flexible too in case i want to enjoy a bit of sunshine in a more temperate clime or move about the boat.

Wet weather gear if its cold and raining and i have to actually handsteer (rare), otherwise AP and remote and a dry and warm saloon or cockpit with good vision forward does the job for me.

On the AC that just seems circular to me - put yourself in a glasshouse and of course theres no breeze, then complain its too hot and so need AC.

You seem to want a boat that can be comfortable in the 5% of times when things are a bit snotty but at the expense of one thats less comfortable the other 95% of time. Im happy to go the other way and put up with a bit of bad weather, maybe get a wet face, for that 5% of time i need to actually be at the helm in it in return for a better sailing helm set up the rest of the time.

Its personal preferences like someone else pointed out not right or wrong.
An enclosed cockpit doubles the living space and can be opened up for ventilation. I personally believe when standing watch you should be able to see the horizon and 360, as well as be in arms reach of sail handling. The market trend is toward more comfort from the elements when sailing, (Gunboat, Surfari 44 (Jimmy buffets new boat), etc) And if in the business you ignore it at your own peril. Most of the folks I am talking to these days like the idea of double digit speeds in a climate controlled cockpit, and a properly designed cat will lend itself to this very well.
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Old 21-12-2015, 08:51   #37
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Re: Helm positions

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An enclosed cockpit doubles the living space and can be opened up for ventilation. I personally believe when standing watch you should be able to see the horizon and 360, as well as be in arms reach of sail handling. The market trend is toward more comfort from the elements when sailing, (Gunboat, Surfari 44 (Jimmy buffets new boat), etc) And if in the business you ignore it at your own peril. Most of the folks I am talking to these days like the idea of double digit speeds in a climate controlled cockpit, and a properly designed cat will lend itself to this very well.
Actually, twin outboard helms allow for a much more open and uncluttered cockpit as well as better visibility forward from the cockpit (due to a window being where the helm would be on the bulkhead ) than bulkhead helms. Anyone who has been on a catana etc would know that, which leads me to conclude that you've not spent much time on these sorts of boats. And as to where the market is going, I'm seeing the opposite, sales in cats with outboard helms are doing really well and the market has way more educated buyers than ever before, who are normally folks buying their second or third cats.

I'll also say that the idea that a bulkhead helm is more comfortable in really bad conditions is not always the case at all, if ever. Some years ago on the way to new Zealand on a French cat with bulkhead helm from Tonga, a tropical depression spun up behind us and turned the downwind slide into new Zealand into a 2 day upwind battle into 45-50 knots with very large breaking seas. The forward clears very soon had to come off as we could not see (they were looking like they would fly soon anyway) through them properly due to amount of water hitting them. After that for the next 2 days we were copping Neptune's faceshots at the bulkhead helm where each helmsman was soaked after 1 minute on watch. To add to that, the cockpit was uninhabitable for anyone not in full foulies. This meant all secondary watch crew had to hang out in the salon unless they wanted to get drenched by the seas coming in over the coachroof and thru the big hole in the bimini for the helm which meant they were not always immediately available for sail duties. Now just behind us was a custom roger Hill with twin outboard helms (at cockpit deck level) and fully a enclosed cockpit (clears) with no gaps or holes in it apart from the curtain unzipped at the way to the leeward helm. The guy on the helm was in a warm tracksuit and simply took a single step to the side when a big one went over the top and his crew were all chilling out in the dry warm cockpit with a clear view forward and available to help with sail handling at any time. Now.... In those sort of tough conditions, which boat would you rather be on?
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Old 21-12-2015, 09:20   #38
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Re: Helm positions

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Actually, twin outboard helms allow for a much more open and uncluttered cockpit as well as better visibility forward from the cockpit (due to a window being where the helm would be on the bulkhead ) than bulkhead helms. Anyone who has been on a catana etc would know that, which leads me to conclude that you've not spent much time on these sorts of boats. And as to where the market is going, I'm seeing the opposite, sales in cats with outboard helms are doing really well and the market has way more educated buyers than ever before, who are normally folks buying their second or third cats.

I'll also say that the idea that a bulkhead helm is more comfortable in really bad conditions is not always the case at all, if ever. Some years ago on the way to new Zealand on a French cat with bulkhead helm from Tonga, a tropical depression spun up behind us and turned the downwind slide into new Zealand into a 2 day upwind battle into 45-50 knots with very large breaking seas. The forward clears very soon had to come off as we could not see (they were looking like they would fly soon anyway) through them properly due to amount of water hitting them. After that for the next 2 days we were copping Neptune's faceshots at the bulkhead helm where each helmsman was soaked after 1 minute on watch. To add to that, the cockpit was uninhabitable for anyone not in full foulies. This meant all secondary watch crew had to hang out in the salon unless they wanted to get drenched by the seas coming in over the coachroof and thru the big hole in the bimini for the helm which meant they were not always immediately available for sail duties. Now just behind us was a custom roger Hill with twin outboard helms (at cockpit deck level) and fully a enclosed cockpit (clears) with no gaps or holes in it apart from the curtain unzipped at the way to the leeward helm. The guy on the helm was in a warm tracksuit and simply took a single step to the side when a big one went over the top and his crew were all chilling out in the dry warm cockpit with a clear view forward and available to help with sail handling at any time. Now.... In those sort of tough conditions, which boat would you rather be on?
e

I don't know about Australia, but here the trend if anything is to raised or fly bridge helms, usually fully enclosed. However a proper bulkhead design I believe is a better solution. As to the your isolated example of "clears" blowing out, I would suggest maybe they were in disrepair or poorly made, with over 120 boats built all with partial or full enclosures, many sailed in all kinds of ocean conditions I have never heard of that happening. As to visibility that is also why I recommend a glass insert or windshield with wiper directly in front of the helm position.

Sure in ideal conditions the outboard helm offers great visibility of the horizon and sails, however it dose not lend itself to bringing all sail handling and electronics to one location, another criteria for easy single handed sailing. Just look at the numbers sold and compare bulkhead or raised helm positions vs. outboard exposed helms today.
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Old 21-12-2015, 12:17   #39
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Re: Helm positions

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Sure in ideal conditions the outboard helm offers great visibility of the horizon and sails, however it dose not lend itself to bringing all sail handling and electronics to one location, another criteria for easy single handed sailing.
Roger that - and having all controls led to a single helm is exactly what I didn't want. This means you almost have to single hand because it's all crammed into a small space and too crowded for multiple people to work (elbows flying about) and usually too few winches. And with lines running across decks and through multiple blocks just to get them to the other (wrong) side of the boat. Again, a personal preference.

All cruising cats are easy to single hand with an AP. When I do single handed tacks I do have to stroll to the other side of the cockpit to grind the genoa sheet. Big deal. But I don't have to walk back and I get to see upwind all over again. When we have multiple quests who want to enjoy sailing the boat we can give line handling jobs, for example when tacking, to 4 people - each with room to work and their own winch. We enjoy teaching them and having the team effort - and they enjoy it more. Most cruisers don't race, but we do occasionally and having the spread out working space allows having enough crew to efficiently sail the boat.

Why belabor this? Because a lot of prospective cat buyers read this stuff and they may benefit by "exposure" (pun intended) to differing views. I'd advise them to do some short tacking and reefing and furling (or imagine doing it) with more than one person at those "all inclusive" helms. I do expect some are ergonomically better than others.

See this video for an example of a good working cockpit.



Dave
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Old 21-12-2015, 13:17   #40
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Re: Helm positions

This is an image of a cockpit in a custom 52ft. I built for a retired doctor who single hands routinely. The jib is self-tacking (another feature I am a big proponent of) and the secondary winches for the Code 0 are located on the aft corners of the cockpit and can be handled from inside or outside the enclosure. The cockpit is full enclosed with U zip panels for quick ventilation on the sides and aft and center flip up panel, with aluminum frame canvas wing doors in the aft corners for easy entrance/exit on either side. As you can see it has a tempered glass windshield insert with wiper in front of the helm. With a single electric winch and manual snubber winch, all sail handling functions, mainsheet, jibsheet, main, jib and spinnaker halyard, reefs, and boom brake come to the helm position. In this case the vang is hydraulic with the control panel adjacent to the helm. The fully adjustable Stidd helm chair is very comfortable for long watches. The cockpit has ducting for ac cooling or heating if necessary.


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Old 21-12-2015, 13:39   #41
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Re: Helm positions

Couple more images of helm and cockpit

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Old 21-12-2015, 13:40   #42
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Old 21-12-2015, 13:52   #43
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Re: Helm positions

You always lose me with your argument about preferring a cockpit setup that requires multiple people to operate the boat, Dave.

To each their own, but this is the direct opposite of what we prefer.

There is only two of us, so we are single-handing all the time because one person is always busy doing something else. It would be tiring to always need to drop the cooking to come out to tack, to be woken from sleep to help put in a reef, etc. And the last thing I want from guests is to have them working with unfamiliar systems under high load and quick speeds. We have never had a guest be bored or disappointed because they couldn't tail or grind a winch. I guess our guests aren't as easily amused?

Our helm is very well suited to do absolutely every thing with just one person - raise, lower, reef and trim. We consider it a safety item in cruising to have these functions so easily handled by a single person without ever leaving the cockpit, or even the helm seat.

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Old 21-12-2015, 14:09   #44
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Re: Helm positions

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You always lose me with your argument about preferring a cockpit setup that requires multiple people to operate the boat, Dave.
It doesn't require multiple people, but when you want to use multiple people the room is there.

In normal situations I can do everything I need to do by myself if I'm the only one available. At most I'll have to walk from one side of the cockpit to the other. But when I want to or can use additional people the room is available for as many people as I want to use. We've been in passage situations when everyone was called on deck at night for hairy sail maneuvers. Plenty of working room and the stations are far apart.

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Old 21-12-2015, 14:10   #45
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Re: Helm positions

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You always lose me with your argument about preferring a cockpit setup that requires multiple people to operate the boat, Dave.

To each their own, but this is the direct opposite of what we prefer.

There is only two of us, so we are single-handing all the time because one person is always busy doing something else. It would be tiring to always need to drop the cooking to come out to tack, to be woken from sleep to help put in a reef, etc. And the last thing I want from guests is to have them working with unfamiliar systems under high load and quick speeds. We have never had a guest be bored or disappointed because they couldn't tail or grind a winch. I guess our guests aren't as easily amused?

Our helm is very well suited to do absolutely every thing with just one person - raise, lower, reef and trim. We consider it a safety item in cruising to have these functions so easily handled by a single person without ever leaving the cockpit, or even the helm seat.

Mark
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