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Old 09-20-2018, 12:44 AM   #1
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removing flybridge

Does anyone here have any experience with (or opinions on) permanently removing the flybridge on an old 34? I'd love to see pictures and hear about the experience.

I have a 34 M1. Love the flybridge but in open water it's a lot of weight and windage aloft. I've been thinking of removing mine on an experimental basis to see how it changes performance, comfort and appearance.

Happy to discuss
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:28 AM   #2
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A flybridge can be a convenient storage area, like a house's attic. Nevertheless, my having purchased a new boat, it was easy to decline a boat with a flybridge. On the other hand, the vast majority of used boats available for sale have flybridges. That rather limits one's selection if wishing to avoid the disadvantages of a flybridge.

It might be worthwhile to rent or share rides on boats lacking a flybridge to see if a changeover is worthwhile. Could be more cost effective to sell your current boat for one lacking a flybridge.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:50 AM   #3
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I'm not a fan of flybridges for various reasons. I would remove it. I saw a pic of a MS 34 with it removed and I really liked it. The owner had put a small mast on it for radar and lights.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:46 AM   #4
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Removing weight aloft is a rwo edge sword.

It may reducd your roll a big but mack it snappier to the point where the reduction isnt worth the new motion.

There are other good reasons to remove it..... but everything is a tradeoff.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:52 AM   #5
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Jimisbell (Mainship 34 waltz across texas) on this forum poised the same question. We personally do like a flybridge for obvious reasons, mainly a better view and a whole other floor for entertaining or whatever. It's great for the type of inshore cruising we do.
I think a 34 would look fine sans the flying bridge & perhaps it would even improve the performance & stability. What I wouldn't like about being permanently committed to operating the boat from the lower helm on a model 1 34 would be the lack of a side door access/exits. It's probably no quicker to sprint from the bridge to the bow or corners of the boat regarding anchoring or docking single-handed verses from the lower helm but I don't think the boat was really designed as a lower helm-only boat.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:41 AM   #6
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Have you seen the later model yr 34 HTs?
They should give you a good idea of what it would look like.
We love our 34HT and get lots of positive compliments.
We obviously not bridge fans but won't ever debate w those that like them... lots of +\-
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Old 09-20-2018, 01:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
Have you seen the later model yr 34 HTs?
They should give you a good idea of what it would look like.
We love our 34HT and get lots of positive compliments.
We obviously not bridge fans but won't ever debate w those that like them... lots of +\-
I haven't seen one. It was actually a recent thread here that got me thinking about it. I hadn't realized that the newer 34s were offered in both configurations. Have seen a few newer 34s with the FB and they look a bit ungainly and top heavy to my eye. I know it's subjective, but I suspect I'd much prefer the 34HT.

I removed the inside helm seat on my boat last year because I wasn't spending any time steering from inside. I have an autopilot that steers 99% of the time, and have pretty much always done close quarters maneuvering from the FB. I think I'll reinstall the inside seat and try to live on one level for a while and tweak the inside station to see if I can get comfortable with it. Visibility is pretty good. I have trim tabs that do a good job of keeping the bow down. I really like the idea of having full sun protection and climate control available, and I travel mostly solo, so I'm not trying to maximize living space in the main cabin.

Also WRT the motion, the 34 M1 is quite a bit narrower than the newer 34 trawlers and pilots, which makes it 'tippier.' I understand the concern over snap, but I kind of think that removing a few hundred pounds from up top would have a net positive effect.

Thanks to all for the comments.
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:24 PM   #8
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I've been contemplating removing our "fly bridge" on our BYB PH 40 to make the boat deck more functional as a boat deck when underway and as an outdoor deck when at anchor on in a marina. The setup today sits behind the PH and consumes about 30% of the boat deck for what is a essentially an outdoor steering position. Plus, visibility up there is so bad (a common positive for fly bridges) we drive from the PH about 90% of the time.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:46 PM   #9
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It's hard to see out of the MS 1 from the lower station. I've got to put my head against ceiling during a rainstorm and still can't see that good.
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:44 PM   #10
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Interesting question Jeff and one I had asked myself a number of times when I had the Great Lakes 33. The previous owner of that boat told me that he had only used the bridge twice in 22 years. I always used the lower helm when locking through but found the view nicer on open water on the bridge. It may be advantageous also in not having to wait for a number of bridges to swing or lift. I'll bet Healhustler can photoshop your boat without one if you gave him some good pics. It was great to meet you on the Trent!!
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bluemainship View Post
It's hard to see out of the MS 1 from the lower station. I've got to put my head against ceiling during a rainstorm and still can't see that good.
I disagree. I helped a friend bring his MS 34 hundreds of miles from Baltimore to Troy, NY. We steered the whole way, by hand from the lower helm because the fly bridge helm wasn't functional. Visibility was fine.


But on the question of stability with hundreds of pounds removed from the top, I don't think it will be improved. That much weight way up on top slows the roll period so the boat will roll quicker with it gone.


Do this: Before removing the fly bridge, get on board and rock the boat back and forth by moving your weight side to side. After you get it going time the roll period through a couple of roll cycles. Then do the same thing with flybridge off. It will be shorter, how much shorter????


Don: It would be interesting if you could compare the roll period of your boat with a fly bridge 34T. The wide beam and hard chine of that boat may dampen any effect of weight up on top though.



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Old 09-20-2018, 09:24 PM   #12
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If you removed your FB, how would you run the boat? I think our 400 has a lower helm, but I'm not certain of it. I've never used it. :-)
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:33 PM   #13
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"Don: It would be interesting if you could compare the roll period of your boat with a fly bridge 34T. The wide beam and hard chine of that boat may dampen any effect of weight up on top though."

David
Interesting comparison... must be the engineer showing??
I'd give it a try but we are on the hard as of last week. Off on a fall trip and catching up on chores ignored all summer.

I have not been aboard a 34T but don't feel any noticable roll discomfort on our 34HT. We do notice the following seas motion common on the 34's which is sort of a combination of roll and yaw. I'd guess the perceived motion has to be greater on the bridge than lower helm which is closer to the axis of roll.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:43 PM   #14
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I disagree. I helped a friend bring his MS 34 hundreds of miles from Baltimore to Troy, NY. We steered the whole way, by hand from the lower helm because the fly bridge helm wasn't functional. Visibility was fine.

David
I agree with you. I would say anyone that thinks it is hard to steer from the lower helm never sailed a sailboat from a helm at the stern!!!!!! Get some good experience there first and you will love the lower helm of a MK1

My 34 MK1 has excellent visibility from the lower helm and I dont like the FB because when at the FB you cant see close to the sides of the boat because the FB blocks that view!!!! Cant see the dock!!!

This can be compared to the argument between tricycle pilots and taildragger pilots or stick vs yoke pilots. It is a matter of lazyness and not getting experience to make them better pilots/helmsmen.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jimisbell View Post

This can be compared to the argument between tricycle pilots and taildragger pilots or stick vs yoke pilots. It is a matter of lazyness and not getting experience to make them better pilots/helmsmen.
I think you're right. This was my first inboard power boat, and I was initially enamoured by the FB and spent all my early days running from there. I don't see any reason why I couldn't get equally comfortable operating from the lower helm if I spend some time there.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:15 PM   #16
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I was thinking the same since many new boats lack the fly bridges but have both options. How hard are they to remove? Would you have a new roof constructed?
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:35 PM   #17
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One of the reasons we bought Willy was that some PO removed the FB. Saved us the trouble.

But we have a small trawler that rolls a lot in beam seas.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:12 PM   #18
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I was thinking the same since many new boats lack the fly bridges but have both options. How hard are they to remove? Would you have a new roof constructed?
Removing the bridge is a piece of cake on the 34's, especially if it's the bridge without the integral seating. All that would be involved would be to fill the screw holes where the bridge & helm seat fasteners were ,removal of the clutch & engine cables, capping the steering lines below and terminating the few electrical wires that were run to the bridge. Probably the hardest part would be changing the sending units for the oil & water temperature on the engine from dual to single gauge.
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:12 AM   #19
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Don't like the exaggerated movement on a second-story flybridge, nor climbing up or down from same. Also, spent too many years in an open cockpit while sailing exposed to too much solar radiation. Put my bet on a pilothouse at deck level with doors on both port and starboard. Simplifies single-handed docking.
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:42 AM   #20
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The OP is considering removing the flybridge....but has also removed the lowerhelm seat...... Will you be using a tiller ? You gotta steer from somewhere !!!
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