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Old 12-11-2021, 16:58   #1
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Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

I’ve been doing a bunch of “research” on YouTube and it’s amazing how so many modern boats have their helmes way in the aft corners of their hulls. I’ve seen videos of people sailing these boats all over the world but I can’t help but think that having the helms in the stern corners of the boats is a little dangerous. all the videos show ideal conditions, but what if you have to helm the boat in stormy weather? Wouldn’t something like an Amel be better? Am I missing something?

Edit Amel, not Amex!
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Old 12-11-2021, 17:04   #2
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

I believe you meant Amel, not Amex (like credit card)

Anyway, here are a few discussions to get you started

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/center-cockpit-vs-aft-cockpit-14051.html

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/center-vs-aft-cockpit-sailboats-245201.html

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/centre-vs-aft-cockpit-67362.html

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f2/aft-vs-center-cockpit-58876.html
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Old 12-11-2021, 17:11   #3
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

None of those really address my issue. My point isnt centre cockpit versus aft cockpit. Even comparing aft cockpit boats, the newer boats seem to just put the Helms so far back without any protection apart from lifelines.
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Old 12-11-2021, 17:23   #4
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

Since helms are where the cockpits are even though your question is different the above discussions are definitely not irrelevant, hoped you would get something out of them (not trying to argue, just help).

My personal preference is to sit as far back and to one side as possible, even though I can sit on the cockpit seat behind the wheel I often find myself sitting on the coaming all the way back leaning against the stern pulpit - I would say I have never felt unsecured sitting there. I like the clean view of the heading and the entire boat from my position.

Modern aft cockpit boats often have wide beam aft and dual helms, it only makes sense to sit on one side all the way aft leaning on the lifelines.

Most boats are on autopilot if they are going some distance so it doesnít really matter where the helm is, pick whatever you prefer.

Big ships can have multiple cockpits and a single helm station - either in the middle or aft, maybe you wanna look at those too to get an idea.
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Old 12-11-2021, 19:17   #5
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

In the "old days", boats were shorter on the WL as a portion of the LOA.
This gave them long overhangs in the stern, and the rudder would be further forward than in todays boats.
This dictated that the tiller or wheel be also further forward.
The discussion about B40s is an example,, lots of room/deck behind the helm.
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Old 12-11-2021, 20:35   #6
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

Putting the rudder at the back end of the boat gives it more leverage to turn the boat. This means you can use a smaller rudder, which has less drag. This is a good thing. Having the helm at the back end of the boat puts it near the rudder. This makes it so that the connection to the rudder can be simpler. This means there is less to break and it can be made stronger without it being too heavy. A tight connection also helps provide better "feel" to the helm. These are all good things. Having the helm aft puts most of the boat between waves and the helmsperson, so they stay drier, even though they are closer to the water. They can also see what's going on all around the boat and not just in the front half. Center cockpits usually have to be raised up above the inner cabin space. This makes them less comfortable to be in, as it amplifies the motion of the boat. The long distance to the rudder requires complicated connections that can more easily break increase weight and reduce the "feel" of the helm. Boats CAN have center cockpits. Most don't.
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Old 12-11-2021, 22:11   #7
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

position of the helm is only partly tied to position of the rudder ie with some thoughtful engineering you can easily site the wheel/s some distance from the rudder post if you wish

i feel the wheel position right in the back corners of the boat has more to do with vision for the helmsman. in almost all conditions and situations - including bad weather - it is a whole lot easier to steer from back there.

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Old 12-11-2021, 22:30   #8
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

Some boats do have the helm at the front of the cockpit. Itís a compromise sorta thingy. Keep the cockpit clear and open? Block the companionway? Can the helmsman reach the sheets?

FWIW, my helm position is at the front of the cockpit. Snug under the dodger (or behind the bulkhead) in cold weather. I prefer it that way. But the tiller sweeps the cockpit, which is awkward when there are guests. And I canít reach the traveler (and barely reach the main sheet) without letting go of the tiller.

With a hydraulic wheel, you can put it pretty much any place you want to.
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Old 12-11-2021, 23:17   #9
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

To maximize the interior. If you push the cockpit aft a bit, that space can be added to the interior of the boat. Interiors sell boats.
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Old 13-11-2021, 07:29   #10
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Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emoyeni View Post
Iíve been doing a bunch of ďresearchĒ on YouTube and itís amazing how so many modern boats have their helmes way in the aft corners of their hulls. Iíve seen videos of people sailing these boats all over the world but I canít help but think that having the helms in the stern corners of the boats is a little dangerous. all the videos show ideal conditions, but what if you have to helm the boat in stormy weather? Wouldnít something like an Amel be better? Am I missing something?

Edit Amel, not Amex!


I am a tad confused. I own a Tartan 33 that is 40 years old abs deliver vessels almost that old and brand new boats.

The only difference between my T-33 and a new boat is the shape of the transom. While the newer vertical/plum sterns place you closer to the aft end of the LOA, the wheel is fundamentally in the same spot- just forward of the push pit.

On the older boat the sloping transom places the end of the cockpit 24Ē forward of the aft end of the LOA.

What DOES drive me bonkers, is that new boats have inadequate hand holds.
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Old 13-11-2021, 08:03   #11
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

I'm surprised more boats at least up to about 33' don't have tillers.

With a tiller, you are usually sitting near the hatch whether you are on autopilot or steering.

It makes it nice during bad weather or when it's rough also so you can stay dry.

Plus the tiller autopilots are quite inexpensive as compared to an autopilot for a wheel helm.
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Old 13-11-2021, 08:12   #12
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
I'm surprised more boats at least up to about 33' don't have tillers.

With a tiller, you are usually sitting near the hatch whether you are on autopilot or steering.

It makes it nice during bad weather or when it's rough also so you can stay dry.
You mean steer a boat

I do wonder about safety with just a couple of guard rails stopping you going over the back on the latest fashion for wheels in each stern quarter. I guess you should be clipped on if there is any risk. However, given that people fall overboard whilst at a dock, it could easily happen on a nice calm day. Even a catamaran mesh net would be better.

The clipper yachts have something like this, probably leant the hard way.

https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/fleet
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Old 13-11-2021, 08:26   #13
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
You mean steer a boat

I do wonder about safety with just a couple of guard rails stopping you going over the back on the latest fashion for wheels in each stern quarter. I guess you should be clipped on if there is any risk. However, given that people fall overboard whilst at a dock, it could easily happen on a nice calm day. Even a catamaran mesh net would be better.

The clipper yachts have something like this, probably leant the hard way.

https://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/race/fleet
Yes I mean to steer a boat .......with a tiller seems so much better up to a certain size boat anyway.

You are in a much better location especially if single handing to handle the sails, go forward, and be out of the weather plus in a safer more secure location.
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Old 13-11-2021, 08:49   #14
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

Even on boats near the size I have now they have wheels way in the back. I have thought to buy one of these C&C 29 MKII's a time or two but that wheel location seems strange.

Whereas on my boat I have a tiller.
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Old 13-11-2021, 08:55   #15
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Re: Why are helms placed so far back on modern yachts?

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
Even on boats near the size I have now they have wheels way in the back. I have thought to buy one of these C&C 29 MKII's a time or two but that wheel location seems strange.

Whereas on my boat I have a tiller.

I don't mind the far aft wheel position on that C&C, although I think that engine panel placement is stupid (why bother having gauges, etc. if you can't see them while actually using the engine?). It helps keep the cockpit clutter down like a tiller can while folded up.

And remember C&C's racing heritage, so while that setup may not be ideal for singlehanding, it's logical for racing. Keeps the helmsman out of everyone else's way. Singlehanding or sailing short handed, I'd probably sit on one of the side benches and hold the wheel from there to save climbing around the wheel on a regular basis.
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