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Old 11-12-2019, 15:24   #1
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Seawind Helm Position

I am very interested in a 1260 or 50 or possibly 1160 to do some serious cruising in the pacific, including long passages.
I have many questions about the helm position. After doing my research and watching as many videos as possible, I have a few doubts.
It seems to me that the helm is fairly unprotected especially from rain and wind from behind, but also from big waves coming over the cockpit. The side plastic protection offers only very partial protection.
Do you need to use full weather gear when you need to helm in rough conditions?
How about the plotter? It seems to me that you couldn't lower the electric window and use your hands on the plotter if the weather is from behind...you might get the saloon soaked...
I have read many times that the visibility is not a problem and I can believe it.
But full weather protection on long passages is a very important aspect for short handed/older crews who need to stay dry and rested as much as possible.
Also if keeping watch inside it seems to me that there is not a comfortable place facing forward. How do the owners keep watch inside?
I would be very interested to hear form people with real life experience.
Thank you!
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Old 11-12-2019, 23:16   #2
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

I have a Seawind 1000 with stern extensions; a little smaller than the boats you mentioned but very similar in many respects. I have sailed it in 12-15 foot seas in 30 knots with triple reef and working jib. I realize conditions can be much worse than this.

That being said I was quite comfortable in those conditions. As with many Seawinds I have a kinda Bimini that stretches from the salon cabin top to the arch which not only offers protection from rain (and maybe more important to me sun) but also is modified to catch rain water. While I also have side flaps I really have not seen the need to use them, except in cold weather when they function as a virtual sun room and keep the wind out.

I do understand your concern about a wave from a following sea coming into the cockpit and salon. I have also seen cats in very big following seas and they tend to surf down the face of a wave and out run them. Not saying it can't happen; just that if it did it might well happen in lots of other boats as well. Another point I would make is that I have an auto pilot with a paddle and I often sit in the salon and steer from there (in large part to get out of the sun when it is low in the sky). I have never found it uncomfortable but I do have some portable seats with backs I can move into the salon and face them forward.

Guess my bottom line is that my experience has been a Seawind is a very capable boat that I would choose over lots of other boats in bad weather. Are there better heavy weather boats, definitely; but there a lot more boats that would be worse in heavy weather. If you are concerned about how a Seawind would stand up to bad weather my advice is to make a list of boats you think would be a better choice and see just how long it is.
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:49   #3
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

Hi Tom,

I am not concerned at all with the sea worthiness of the Seawind, I am convinced already!

My concern is only about the unprotected nature of the helm station, and how to mitigate it.
The bimini you are talking about is your own adaptation? Or is it an option by Seawind? Do you have a picture by any chance?
When you talk about autopilot with paddle, you mean a remote control with a joystick?Which model is that? So you sit in your chair facing forward in the saloon and steer from there, correct? Do you put it on your lap or on the table?
Thanks a lot for the feedback.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:20   #4
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

If you ever get big waves coming over the cockpit in a Seawind they will be useful as you will need them to wash your trousers!
You have 2 helms; if you even have to use them, surely one is going to be protected from the sun or tropical downpour? That's without dropping some clears to enclose the whole cockpit.
You are right about forward facing seating though, a personal bugbear of mine.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:31   #5
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

What about a downpour going downwind with strong wind? Wouldn't you get drenched at either helm stations?
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:56   #6
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

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Originally Posted by tone-wreck View Post
What about a downpour going downwind with strong wind? Wouldn't you get drenched at either helm stations?


Can you really think of any boat that this wouldn’t be a problem?
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Old 12-12-2019, 05:05   #7
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

Yes, many who have the option of full enclosure of the cockpit or helm station. Which in a way is a related question...what are the option and attachments to protect from mosquitos, sun , rain at sea and anchored. After all my research I have only seen the roof and the side flaps. Are there options to attach something more substantial or has it to be all bespoke?
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Old 12-12-2019, 14:03   #8
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

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Originally Posted by tone-wreck View Post
Hi Tom,

I am not concerned at all with the sea worthiness of the Seawind, I am convinced already!

My concern is only about the unprotected nature of the helm station, and how to mitigate it.
The bimini you are talking about is your own adaptation? Or is it an option by Seawind? Do you have a picture by any chance?
When you talk about autopilot with paddle, you mean a remote control with a joystick?Which model is that? So you sit in your chair facing forward in the saloon and steer from there, correct? Do you put it on your lap or on the table?
Thanks a lot for the feedback.
As others have noted Seawinds have two steering stations so if one is unprotected that means the other one has more protection. I frequently switch sides for sun protection but have also done so to get out of blowing rain.

The Bimini came with the boat, but after over seven years I had another one made. It basically attaches to the salon roof with a track and grove method and to the arch with bungee cord passed through grommets on the Bimini and wrapped around the arch. I have added a plastic through hull fitting and a short hose in the middle of the aft section to collect rain water. It also has two flaps over the steering stations that can open up to view the main sail and tell tails. I have Eisenglass sides I can add for extra protection from spray and rain but really don't/haven't used them; I just go to the other side of the boat. I have added a vid below that shows kinda how it works, but it is a simple tarp I use when in a slip to protect things from the sun.

The auto pilot paddle is a box with rounded corners with buttons that alter course one degree or five degrees to port or starboard and buttons to correct course if the boats gets five degrees or ten degrees off course as well as a button to turn off the AP.

See my next post for more.

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Old 12-12-2019, 14:16   #9
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

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Originally Posted by tone-wreck View Post
SNIP

So you sit in your chair facing forward in the saloon and steer from there, correct? Do you put it on your lap or on the table?
Thanks a lot for the feedback.
If you look quickly at about the 30 second mark in the vid below you can see the blue adjustable portable chair I can easily move. Just after that there is a view of the salon with the bench seats around it; I place the blue chair on those seats port or starboard depending facing forward, and since the chair is adjustable I often lower the back so it is more like a LazyBoy than a straight back chair. I also have a big deckbox in the cockpit I can put the chair on. On a passage I will often secure the deckbox with a line around the post the table is on.

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Old 12-12-2019, 21:59   #10
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

We have a new Seawind 1160. The hardtop extends at least ten feet aft of the steering station. Rainfall can easily be voided by just leaning in. If its driving in from the side, just step over and steer from the other side, or snap on the clear sides.

We have the optional captains chair at the steering station that is quite comfortable. All of the aft seating - also under the hard top - provides for seating facing forward. Honestly, we took delivery of our 1160 Lite in February, spent three months cruising thru Exumas, Eleuthera, Abacos and Berrys, and then crossed back to Florida. Shortcut across the Gulf from Ft Myers, Florida to Freeport, Texas in some absolute miserable weather conditions. The boat handled beautifully, for 2300 nm in four months. Including even some rain!

You probably need to get on one, stand under the hard top, check out the seating. Salon windows are plentiful and nice open views. We had a Seawind 1000 for twelve years before having this 1160 Lite built. Both are good sailing boats.
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Old 12-12-2019, 22:07   #11
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

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Originally Posted by tone-wreck View Post
What about a downpour going downwind with strong wind? Wouldn't you get drenched at either helm stations?
No. If the rsin is from behind, both steering stations would be dry as the hard top extends aft about 10 ft. If rain driving in from port side, steer from starboard. Etc. Frankly when we are cruising or doing overnights, the autopilot is steering anyway. I will walk around, look out the other side, sit on the seat in the back, sit in the salon, etc. The 12 inch Zeus 3 chartplotter can be seen from anywhere in the salon or cockpit as it is mounted on a rotating arm.
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Old 12-12-2019, 22:24   #12
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

These pics don't exactly have the angle to show how much the hard top extends laterally over each steering station, but you can see it is at least halfway to two-thirds across the steering wheel. If you have driving rain, then just pop in the windows above each of the steering stations. You can see the chartplotter thru the window, and if you need to adjust, just step around and do it.
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Old 13-12-2019, 10:33   #13
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

SJ, what a beauty!
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Old 13-12-2019, 16:33   #14
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

Ok, I have to correct something I wrote. Took the boat out sailing today. If sitting at the steering station, and you look up, the hardtop does not extend over your head. Not sure why I never noticed this. But if it starts raining straight down, and you don't have the side clear snapped in, you will get wet.
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Old 13-12-2019, 16:34   #15
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Re: Seawind Helm Position

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SJ, what a beauty!
Thanks. We are very happy with her.
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