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Old 20-01-2022, 14:30   #1
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Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

I am sure this has been discussed before but cannot find anything on search.

I am only planning on having a single (wheel) helm position mounted in the cockpit on the saloon rear bulkhead. Question is whether to put it port or starboard.

My inclination is starboard as being an old mono sailor I spent a lot of time on a tiller helm to leeward looking behind the genoa to see who I had to give way to.

I have seen pictures of cats with both but the predominance seems to be starboard.

Any thoughts or preferences?
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Old 20-01-2022, 15:00   #2
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

we have helm on port side and as you say, for pure collision avoidance in congested waterway, stb is probably better

however there are all sorts of other design factors that come into play eg we have a cockpit drinks fridge. this is located on stb sid as its back to back with the freezer which is inside. freezer needs to be on stb side 'cause that's where the galley is. all this means helm must be to port

another factor is that with single helm you are almost always berthing helm side to dock (on our boat it's almost impossible to see anything on the other side). think about where your sleeping cabin/s and bathroom/s are - it's not always ideal to put such on the side against the dock.

overall the decision may not be as simple as first appearance !

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Old 21-01-2022, 02:01   #3
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Helm to Port, sleep to Starboard
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Old 21-01-2022, 02:53   #4
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Just by way of arbitrary interior design, my helm is starboard.

My fuel fill is to port, so maybe those should be on the same side I think in retrospect.
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Old 21-01-2022, 04:00   #5
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Doesn't really matter have an autopilot remote you can use from both sides and somewhere to sit both sides. Who ever steers?
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Old 21-01-2022, 05:47   #6
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

It doesn't matter if you put the helm in a position where you can see all four corners of the boat. Mine is port but I can see all corners. I do however seem to put the dock on the starboard side in most cases and if it's not possible to put the helm in a position to see all four corners then I would think starboard is better.
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Old 21-01-2022, 09:18   #7
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Always wondered why so many cat manufacturers put the helm to port. From a safety standpoint there is no question. When sailing to windward on my Lagoon 470 I can not see any crossing traffic. If the helm were on the starboard side I would have much better visibility when sailing on port (give way) tack. One of the things I like about the Lagoon is that I can sit in the salon and have great all around visibility. This is fine since the autopilot is steering 90%+ of the time.


This would have been an easy thing to do, just flip the blueprints over (or tell autocad to flip them). Did this all the time when I was developing housing tracts. Just layed the house out the opposite of the plans for a "reverse" floor plan.


Many of the more recent designs seem to have realized this as more have starboard helms now.
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Old 21-01-2022, 12:07   #8
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Think about what direction you have prop walk (if any). Both of my props are right handed so when I am in reverse, the stern walks to port. This is inconvenient as my helm is on starboard and I can't see the port side very well. I rely on my crew to tell me how close I am (BTW: the Marriage Saver headsets are one of the best things that I have bought). I don't know why the manufacturer (Roberts & Cain) didn't put in a right and left handed turning prop (it probably costs a little more). Prop walk is really helpful when trying to move sideways toward a dock, so I almost always dock to port.
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Old 21-01-2022, 12:08   #9
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moontide View Post
Always wondered why so many cat manufacturers put the helm to port. From a safety standpoint there is no question. When sailing to windward on my Lagoon 470 I can not see any crossing traffic. If the helm were on the starboard side I would have much better visibility when sailing on port (give way) tack.

You could also argue that when passing in a channel protocol is Port to Port so being able to assess the clearance to the oncoming vessel, when you are actually steering, is best done from port side. Six of one half a dozen of the other.
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Old 21-01-2022, 13:23   #10
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Thank you all for your input. Clearly there is no obviously "correct" answer so I will probably stick with starboard. This gives me the "give way" view, works better with the cabin layout and, it has just occurred to me, puts the main halyard winch on the right of the helm position which will probably be more comfortable to use as a right handed person.
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Old 21-01-2022, 14:53   #11
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMNZ View Post
Thank you all for your input. Clearly there is no obviously "correct" answer so I will probably stick with starboard. This gives me the "give way" view, works better with the cabin layout and, it has just occurred to me, puts the main halyard winch on the right of the helm position which will probably be more comfortable to use as a right handed person.
One of the reasons we drive on the left and have right hand drive cars in England.

The first time it became necessary to decide on which way to pass on the road occurred in the 1700's when mail coaches followed set routes. Most (all) coach drives were right handed and they would sit on the right so they didn't inflict severe injury to passengers sitting next to them and would pass other coaches on the left side of the road so only the drivers were at risk when passing.

American vehicles were right hand drive up until about WW1 giving the driver the best view so as to not fall off the side of the road when passing on the left.

Lots of reasons but no right, or left, answer.
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Old 21-01-2022, 15:52   #12
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Re: Single Helm Catamaran Port Or Starboard

Other options are twin helms or a central helm
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