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admiralslater 04-12-2015 15:19

Helm positions
 
I was looking at the 100% motoring thread as it drifted towards helm positions. I am not keen on the Chris White forward position But I do believe in the direction he takes his designs . From the owners I have talked to, the out board steering on the Catanas and new Outremers works quite well especially as auto helm is so ubiquitous. However the helm position on the Nautitec open40 gives me the willies .I know there are lifelines installed but it is one quick stubble from the wheel to the deep blue sea . Does anyone else feel like that .

barnakiel 04-12-2015 16:13

Re: Helm positions
 
I drove a Catana with aft outboard positions. No issues. Great when docking stern to the quay. But I prefer twin stations placed just aft of the bridgedeck - more protection from the elements and closer to the kitchen / nav table.

b.

colemj 05-12-2015 05:28

Re: Helm positions
 
1 Attachment(s)
The Nautitech 40 also gives me the willies, but it is tremendously improved over the older Nautitech models. Those gave me cold shaking chills.

Check out that helmseat and the fact that one needs to step up onto the narrow stern deck and across the traveller to get in/out of the helms. I consider this the worse helm I have seen on a catamaran.

Comparatively, the Catana and Outremer helms are buried inside the boat.

Mark

monte 05-12-2015 05:30

Re: Helm positions
 
Ive only experienced the L380 and L400 positions which are both comfortable in most conditions. The L400 more so, but less appealing to the eye with a tent on top of the coach roof. Yesterday we were sailing with a decent cross swell on the nose and a few waves broke over the bow and washed maybe 10buckets of water along the windward hull and down the rear steps. Pretty rare that happens but I was glad I wasn't sitting at a helm in that position. We do get the occasional splash from a wave over the bow at our helm and the clear screen is usually always up for better visibility, but we occasionally zip it down if we are getting too wet from squalls
A couple of benefits of the L400 style is that all lines run to the helm and electric winch so there is rarely a need to move from the helm except to stand and take the sheets. Everything is a one man operation, including tacking, reefing and raising sails etc while tending the helm. The double helm seat is nice for sharing with a friend ❤️
The location offers good access to talk with crew in the saloon or cockpit.
If I had to redesign it I would have a hardtop with fixed Perspex sides and sliding opening sections, and probably a bit lower than the current Bimini. I like this feature on other bulkhead helms such as the st Francis 50 or Antares. I'd also add a more cushioned and adjustable double seat.
I quite liked the new outremer 45s bulkhead steering position, but the lack of weather protection and no seat would bother me pretty quickly. Looks and performance wise, I don't think you can beat a flush roof with a low boom and preferably traveler on the coachroof. Any other option is a trade off for comfort/performance.
Often it's said that you do t have to spend much time at the helm and most tasks can be done at inside Nav stations or from other positions, which can be true. But I find often I do want to be at the helm, especially in adverse conditions, so having a protected helm for the worst conditions, with instant access to all controls and lines, is high on my perfect boat priority list.
Lack of weather protection and separation from the cockpit, crew and saloon would count out bridgedeck helms for me. Some go with a fully enclosed bridgedeck Bimini but the windage would count out that option for me also.
All in all its a lot of pros and cons and what ticks most of your boxes. Often the helm position is less important for others than the interior layout or boat performance and they might choose say a catana or outremer based on those preferences, or because they personally prefer the outboard helm to a bulkhead helm and are ok with less weather protection.
I'd be happy enough with any helm position for weekend sailing or tropical weeks or months aboard and I guess I'd put on a raincoat or get a bit wet some days. Also if I typically sailed with a few crew having all lines leading to the helm would be much less of a priority, and I'd probably prefer have the sheets and halyards located elsewhere to keep the crew amused and out from underfoot.
On a side note, I have to say that the raymarine wifi, and I guess other manufacturers have it as well, is absolutely fantastic for keeping an eye on the plotter from anywhere on board using an iPad. This allows you to keep an eye on wind, charts, AIS, radar etc from any comfortable position onboard. We used it a lot crossing the Atlantic, where a 3-4 hr watch at the helm isn't really necessary in settled weather. We use it less so on shorter day sails.

AD28 05-12-2015 06:47

Re: Helm positions
 
pre-1993 Catana helm:

http://www.saillistings.com/images/2...tana-40s_3.jpg

admiralslater 14-12-2015 16:49

Re: Helm positions
 
Our Outremer 45 2003 does not have a helm seat just a bar,Last year was our first with it ,not as bad as I thought .I have a tendency l tend to move around a lot which might be why it is not an issue yet

Barra 14-12-2015 22:34

Re: Helm positions
 
I agree with you. The nautitec helms that ive seen give other better designed twin aft helms a bit of a bad rap. They might look kinda cool at the dock but once underway you cant see the opposite quarter of the boat since they are so low. That would get very frustrating i reckon.

Some might get the heebie jeebies from the seemingly transparent nature of whats keeping you out of the water too ie the safety lines seem almost invisible in a storm :biggrin: and on the nautitec again that is much worse.

The admiral certainly had that for the first few times offshore but you do get over it.

Likewise you can feel pretty exposed on offshore raceboats with the low profile topsides etc once the weather is up, which is maybe why Ive got a slightly different take on the exposure thing which is that it encourages you to use a harness and clip on if the weather demands it. Something you should be doing in any helm set up if short handed offshore in a storm IMHO.

The more central helms kinda give you a false sense of security since if you do get hit by a rougue wave any of the helms are pretty much equally dangerous in terms of potentially being swept overboard in reality (except the chris white etc types) its just that you might bash into more stuff on the way over maybe.

Its a personal thing but I eventually came to the conclusion that I preferred the catana style set up based on a preference for maximising the sailing enjoyment. I thought I would have gone for a bulkhead helm initially since the layout makes alot of sense for cruising but after sailing quite a few I found that I really missed the helm feedback and the feel for the boat under sail from an aft position. Its simply the best spot from which to helm a cat under sail hands down.

The bulkhead options are better protected and some people may feel safer but to me they felt like I was driving a motorhome not a boat. Bridgedeck complete non starter with the extra windage, boom height and mast height needed to manage it.

2Hulls 15-12-2015 04:38

Re: Helm positions
 
1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Barra (Post 1987747)
....felt like I was driving a motorhome not a boat.

HA! Those are almost exactly the words my Admiral used.

Dave

chris in SG 15-12-2015 23:45

Re: Helm positions
 
2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Barra (Post 1987747)
I agree with you. The nautitec helms that ive seen give other better designed twin aft helms a bit of a bad rap. They might look kinda cool at the dock but once underway you cant see the opposite quarter of the boat since they are so low. That would get very frustrating i reckon.

Some might get the heebie jeebies from the seemingly transparent nature of whats keeping you out of the water too ie the safety lines seem almost invisible in a storm :biggrin: and on the nautitec again that is much worse.

The admiral certainly had that for the first few times offshore but you do get over it.

Likewise you can feel pretty exposed on offshore raceboats with the low profile topsides etc once the weather is up, which is maybe why Ive got a slightly different take on the exposure thing which is that it encourages you to use a harness and clip on if the weather demands it. Something you should be doing in any helm set up if short handed offshore in a storm IMHO.

The more central helms kinda give you a false sense of security since if you do get hit by a rougue wave any of the helms are pretty much equally dangerous in terms of potentially being swept overboard in reality (except the chris white etc types) its just that you might bash into more stuff on the way over maybe.

Its a personal thing but I eventually came to the conclusion that I preferred the catana style set up based on a preference for maximising the sailing enjoyment. I thought I would have gone for a bulkhead helm initially since the layout makes alot of sense for cruising but after sailing quite a few I found that I really missed the helm feedback and the feel for the boat under sail from an aft position. Its simply the best spot from which to helm a cat under sail hands down.

The bulkhead options are better protected and some people may feel safer but to me they felt like I was driving a motorhome not a boat. Bridgedeck complete non starter with the extra windage, boom height and mast height needed to manage it.

I know I'm going to regret getting involved, but oh well..

I'm quoting Barra because he gives a sensible comparison with many equivalent monohulls, in terms of exposure, height above water level, and risk of tipping backwards off the transom. You only need to thumb through a few yachting magazines to see how exposed most modern monohull helms are, even more so now that there's a trend of easy access to bathing platforms and so forth.

I'm attaching a couple of still shots (taken from a video of my wife helming) and if you look at the first one (closer) and imagine this is a 40ft monohull, you would surely not cry "ridiculous!". but the 2nd photo, from further away, certainly looks more exposed and those of you bothering to read this will say "yes, that's what we mean!" but the position is the same and the physical risk / exposure is no different. Certainly any monohull sailor, familiar with typical aft-cockpit designs, would not find this dangerous.

As for Barra's comment on visibility, I admit that care is required to hop up to deck level regularly to check the opposite bow. This 'hop' can be achieved without leaving the wheel. Anyhow, mine is a (now) old Nautitech 40, so this is historical in a sense.

I just get a bit defensive, not on my account (I found the perfect design for my needs) but on behalf of Nautitech who are repeatedly ridiculed for a design which was innovative at the time and they have remained loyal to the concept and no doubt improved it along the way.

Attachment 115126

Attachment 115127

Barra 16-12-2015 16:19

Re: Helm positions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chris in SG (Post 1988784)

I just get a bit defensive, not on my account (I found the perfect design for my needs) but on behalf of Nautitech who are repeatedly ridiculed for a design which was innovative at the time and they have remained loyal to the concept and no doubt improved it along the way.

Attachment 115126

Attachment 115127

Chris

On your last point I couldnt agree more. One of the things that concerns me is the way the dominant demands of the charter market dictate far too much on the boat design at the high volume end of the cat market and their demands are often at odds with those of us that want to sail our boats or even be safe in extreme conditions on some recent designs IMHO.

Then the marketing machine gets involved and tell those that are looking to buy new that charter design cats can "do it all" and at a lower price. Its just their job and basic economics to get volume up even further. New buyers often dont know any different and are instead wowed by dockside appeal etc and so the "market" dictates poorer and poorer sailing designs being built in too many cases.

Then they start motoring everywhere and we get that other record breaking thread :biggrin::biggrin:

The knocking of cats like nautitech is just an extension of that at times I reckon so dont be too sensitive - its not always knowledgeable criticism.

I wonder what will happen now that bavaria is involved though as their mono designs are clearly of that charter boat ilk too with huge beams to squeeze in another few berths etc. Clearly the focus for them will be to come up with designs that charter companies put in some big orders for so they can scale up.

Could be that nautitechs of today and earlier will become sought after vs their more modern charter based equivalents. A bit like earlier catanas.

smj 16-12-2015 17:57

Re: Helm positions
 
1 Attachment(s)
I think the aft helms on the Catana and Nautitech would probably be the ultimate for actually sailing the boat but for cruising maybe not so. I couldn't imagine spending much time out there on a really sunny day, a day of constant rain or in rough weather.
Attachment 115157
I couldn't feel secure helming this boat in rough weather, but that's just me and I'm sure many love them as they do have some great attributes.


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum

Barra 16-12-2015 18:21

Re: Helm positions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by smj (Post 1989561)
I think the aft helms on the Catana and Nautitech would probably be the ultimate for actually sailing the boat but for cruising maybe not so. I couldn't imagine spending much time out there on a really sunny day, a day of constant rain or in rough weather.
Attachment 115157
I couldn't feel secure helming this boat in rough weather, but that's just me and I'm sure many love them as they do have some great attributes.


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum

Yep the aft helms are a compromise just like everything on a boat and it comes down to personal preferences.

The exposure issue has been brought up often but its not as bad as you might imagine since the AP lets you move watch keeping to other parts of the boat if you choose to. Rarely you might need to be at the helm when the weather says you would rather not be but from experience its much more rare than you would initially think.

On the perceived safety thing thats personal too but if my non sailing wife can get used to it in a few trips then so can most people I guarantee (after all shes the reason we have a cat as she freaked out when our last boat heeled past 12 or so degrees :wink:)

chris in SG 17-12-2015 06:28

Re: Helm positions
 
1 Attachment(s)
I'm sure most opinions about helm position are formed by past experience. This photo is me helming my last boat, also 40ft and exposed to sun, rain and rather close to 'green' water. That was a Cheoy Lee Offshore 40 and the previous owner sailed her from Hawaii to Alaska, then Mexico and New Zealand, all without a dodger or bimini.

I hope I never lose the desire to put the autopilot on stand-by and hand steer when the conditions are right..

admiralslater 17-12-2015 13:31

Re: Helm positions
 
in the OP I was really thinking of the lack of structure behind the helm not the fact that they are aft and out board .The Catana has a solid seat and though not the same so does the Outemer(new style). I like the out board style

chris in SG 17-12-2015 18:20

Re: Helm positions
 
2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by admiralslater (Post 1990407)
in the OP I was really thinking of the lack of structure behind the helm not the fact that they are aft and out board .The Catana has a solid seat and though not the same so does the Outemer(new style). I like the out board style

Yes, point taken, I was getting side-tracked. My original point (in relation to common monohull designs) is better illustrated by these - particularly the Oceanis:


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