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Old 27-06-2015, 21:50   #1
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Helm station. port or starboard

Hey Guys, me again. The deeper I dive into the different models available the more I seem to be asking myself...why this, why that? This may be a really dumb question but why do some cats have the helm on the port side and others starboard side? Is this just manufacturers preference? I've been sailing in a boat with helm on starboard side but last week I went out for a sail on a Lightwave with helm on the port side. I'm sure it's just a matter of getting used to it but it did feel weird and I felt like I preferred the starboard side.
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Old 27-06-2015, 22:42   #2
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

I think you are referring to bulkhead mounted helms and to which side of the bulkhead they are mounted.

Before buying our boat, we chartered several different catamarans that had starboard side bulkhead helms. The boat we bought had a port side bulkhead helm and it felt weird.

For a day or two. Now starboard side bulkhead helms feel weird…

There really isn't a good answer to the question of why. It mostly has to do with the interior layout and how the helm mechanics would fit in and around it.

Mark
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Old 27-06-2015, 23:17   #3
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

Reason for starboard is steer board and better visibility to starboard..
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Old 28-06-2015, 01:13   #4
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

When under power one must yield to vessels approaching from your starboard side (for the most part). Thus there might be some safety advantage to the better visibility to starboard from a starboard helm position.

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Old 28-06-2015, 02:26   #5
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
When under power one must yield to vessels approaching from your starboard side (for the most part). Thus there might be some safety advantage to the better visibility to starboard from a starboard helm position.

Jim
Yep, which is why I mounted the engine controls on the starboard helm.
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Old 28-06-2015, 02:53   #6
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

Lightwave seems to have used the portside on most of their vessels.

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Old 28-06-2015, 09:45   #7
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Wink Re: Helm station. port or starboard

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I think the starboard mounting is probably the result of ancient steering methods (research the Med's historical vessels) that prior to center mounted rudders used a steering oar on the right side of the vessel--probably, in my opinion, because most sailor's dominant hand (strongest) was the right one. Rules of the road came later (be aware of unprotected by rule).
[Answer: the egg]
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Old 28-06-2015, 11:32   #8
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

The helm on my Lagoon cat is on the port side and IMHO starboard would be MUCH better. When powering with no jib not really an issue, but when sailing to weather (yes we do that sometimes) it becomes a big one.

When on port tack with the jib out the visibility to starboard is severely restricted. Since boats on starboard have right of way, we pretty much have to have someone on the starboard side that can see the "hidden" area. To me that is a major "oops" and maybe that is the reason that the newer Lagoons (and lots of other cats) now have their helms to starboard. Makes no difference on the interior as the designers can just flip the interior, as we used to do with tract houses. No change in construction, just reversed floor plan.

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Old 28-06-2015, 11:41   #9
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

Good analysis, Moontide
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Old 28-06-2015, 13:25   #10
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

I strongly agree with Jim Cate and Moontide. In addition, in close quarters and maneuvering under power, it is often helpful to be able to stand up and get out from under the bimini and steer just with the throttles. If the controls are to the right of the helm (wherever the helm is), then a starboard side helm's throttles are easily reached, while a port side helm would have its throttles inboard and out of reach. Of course, port side helm with throttles outboard would confer the same advantage, but might be uncomfortable - in other sit-down situations - for the majority of sailors who are right handed. I actually think these three reasons make the choice very logical and can think of no reasons to put the helm on the port side. Many larger monohulls, these day, have two wheels with the sugarscoop accessible from in between. One helm usually has the throttles. Do the majority also put the throttles on the starboard wheel?
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Old 28-06-2015, 13:55   #11
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

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Originally Posted by Moontide View Post
The helm on my Lagoon cat is on the port side and IMHO starboard would be MUCH better. When powering with no jib not really an issue, but when sailing to weather (yes we do that sometimes) it becomes a big one.

When on port tack with the jib out the visibility to starboard is severely restricted. Since boats on starboard have right of way, we pretty much have to have someone on the starboard side that can see the "hidden" area. To me that is a major "oops" and maybe that is the reason that the newer Lagoons (and lots of other cats) now have their helms to starboard. Makes no difference on the interior as the designers can just flip the interior, as we used to do with tract houses. No change in construction, just reversed floor plan.

Bill

Sounds like a good argument to have a high cut jib or Genoa so you see under?Maybe port side steering is the smart way to go as you aren't on the side of impact:-)
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Old 28-06-2015, 14:14   #12
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

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Sounds like a good argument to have a high cut jib or Genoa so you see under?Maybe port side steering is the smart way to go as you aren't on the side of impact:-)
So you put the helm on the wrong side and compromise the sailplan, and say it's better..
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Old 28-06-2015, 14:36   #13
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

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So you put the helm on the wrong side and compromise the sailplan, and say it's better..

If the sail plan is correct there should be no right or wrong side. The working sails shouldn't block visibility from the helm on a well laid out cruising boat in my opinion. Nothing to me is more frustrating.


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Old 28-06-2015, 14:58   #14
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

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Originally Posted by Seafari View Post
Hey Guys, me again. The deeper I dive into the different models available the more I seem to be asking myself...why this, why that? This may be a really dumb question but why do some cats have the helm on the port side and others starboard side? Is this just manufacturers preference? I've been sailing in a boat with helm on starboard side but last week I went out for a sail on a Lightwave with helm on the port side. I'm sure it's just a matter of getting used to it but it did feel weird and I felt like I preferred the starboard side.
Just like cars. It's what you are used to. USA cars left hand drive. Where I live and many other countries right hand drive. I don't worry as I have a tiller and change sides when I change tacks. I do have to be extra careful when I drive cars in America.
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Old 28-06-2015, 18:51   #15
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Re: Helm station. port or starboard

One each side might be good
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