Over the past several years I've begun seeing more and more of these at helms of yachts. In fact some sail boat
seem to have complete instrumentation consoles integrated with the helm
This format does not lend itself to smaller yachts and certainly ones with tillers. I've seen them mostly in sailboats from about 32 - 45. Many of these yachts are well equipped cruisers and I am pretty sure most of them have below decks autopilots.
Sailboats being pretty slow take quite a while to get somewhere and so it makes sense to have an autopilot
steer especially once you can do a settle course for miles having trimmed the sails
with the occasional tweaking. Now you must keep watch regardless of whether you run on the pilot or drive the boat
. I use my pilot 99% of the time and fine the helm
mostly boring and only do it for docking
and when conditions demand I take it.
Therefore I am not behind the helm and it makes no sense for me to have all the instruments
there. Sure I can go back there and have a look. But even if I were sitting back there I would probably be too low to work
with pod mounted instruments
It is handy to have a plotter or a radar
so they can be viewed in the cockpit
. I just wonder if these pods are the best place for them IF you don't stay behind the helm most of the time (autopilot).
Aside from the fact that I don't think they are too attractive, they make no sense for my "technique". I usually am found sitting on the bridge deck
protected by the dodger
. I mounted the autopilot
to be accessible from there and I have an instrument dash above the companionway
as well. From there I can see the plotter at the nav station kinda but use a small hand held plotter which lives under the dodger
Do most people spend a lot of time at the helm and so that's why these pods are so popular? Are those who have them using slave plotters or is this the only one on board? For those who have them, what was the reason you put one aboard and did it meet your expectations and change the way you sail? Do other sailors agree with me that these things are not necessarily a great idea? Have any of you tried this and hated it, or loved it and were surprised?
What say you?