Every position has good and bad points, and depends in part on what type of sailing you do.
- I could not see why anybody would have dual helm
positions at the extreme stern of the hulls: need to duplicate instruments, poor visibility forward (as you noted), not under bimini
so exposed to the elements. BUT having tried it, you do get GREAT view of the sails
(better by far than the small window in a bimini), side-to docking
is much easier, and you have your face to the cockpit
, so you feel more part of whats going on, can keep an eye on sheets
and crew etc. And if you are under autopilot
for passage-making, the exposure problem is reduced. (Although some helm
positions of this type LOOK, to me, positively unsafe - I just cannot imagine having to helm from the 'rear corner' in bad weather
when the autopilot
has packed up or not up to the job)
- With helm on the saloon
bulkhead, where you see OVER the saloon
, you get 360 deg. visibility, plus (usually) can see all four corners, are under cover from elements, have one position for instruments, and is probably the best place to be in really bad weather. BUT - your back is to the cockpit
, you are higher than the cockpit, you can be a long way from the pontoon when doing side-to mooring
, and the view of the sails is poor (through bimini). Again use of autopilot will change the importance of some of this on passage
- With helm on the saloon bulkhead, where you see THROUGH the saloon: I have never tried it, but visbility must be poor.
440 flybridge approach may be OK for charter-party but I would not entertain it for cruising, for the reasons you state.