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Old 03-29-2013, 08:02 PM   #1
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So Eric..... In the past we've had discussions about forward visibility, with you saying that you can't stand anything blocking your view in front of you and me saying that I simply don't notice the bow rail, Rocna hoop, etc. and have long learned to not even see them anymore.

All of which is still true.

But...... last weekend I found myself thinking of you and your forward visibility fetish when we took the boat out for the weekend. In various places in Bellingham Bay and particularly off the south end of Eliza Island there were forests of commercial (tribal I assume) crab pot floats. And of course, they were all set right along and across the course we wanted to follow. There must be some sort of law that makes that happen.

With both my wife and I looking we threaded our way through with no issues but there were times when it was getting frustrating to have to keep moving around to make sure there wasn't a float "hiding" behind a bow rail stanchion or the anchor hoop or a windshield frame or the cable chase that carries the flying bridge control cables.

So this is one case where I will agree with you on the visibility thing. Having totally unobstructed forward visibility would have been very nice in this particular situation and reduced the "am I missing seeing a float" anxiety considerably. So score one for you.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:50 PM   #2
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Hi Marin, Did you break down and run your boat from the bridge? Just curious. We don't need to rehash the bridge, no bridge thing again. Just seems this might have been a situation where the elevated helm would have helped.

By the way, Dreamlifters are showing up in Miami fairly often. Atlas must service them here. I don't think there is any reason for them to carry cargo here.
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:03 PM   #3
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Hi Marin, Did you break down and run your boat from the bridge? Just curious. We don't need to rehash the bridge, no bridge thing again. Just seems this might have been a situation where the elevated helm would have helped.

By the way, Dreamlifters are showing up in Miami fairly often. Atlas must service them here. I don't think there is any reason for them to carry cargo here.
No, we both hate the sight picture from up there despite the greater visibility. We find it much easier to judge the position of the boat particularly for close-in maneuvering like docking, from the lower helm. We also much prefer the proximity to the engines's sounds, smells, etc. down below. And all our nav gear is at the lower helm although we do have a depth/speed repeater up top, a compass, a VHF, and a mount and power for our newish Standard Horizon GPS plotter that we bought for our small boat. But other than relaxing at a destination we have no use for the flying bridge at all.

Atlas has a maintenance and crew base as well as a cargo hub in Miami and has had since the Michael Chowdry days. So it makes sense that the Dreamlifters would swing through there from time to time. Their only actual cargo runs are between Italy, Charleston, SC, Wichita, KS, Everett, WA, and Japan.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:25 PM   #4
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The only significant limit to forward visibility for me is the antics of the crew/passengers despite (or is it because of the feeling of security from) the railings.

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Old 03-29-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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I really like the bold style of a tall freeboard and the cozy warmth of a traditional pilothouse, but a couple of days ago I was with two friends on their new rocker tug-type trawler....really a gorgeous vessel. The boat has a fly bridge which they don't really utilize. Using the lower helm, a single small window facing rearward was blocked by the dinghy on the boat deck, and one had to step out of the pilothouse to look back. In Southern Florida, you might have go-fast boats passing you impatiently on both sides at the same time. In one incident while turning into the wake of an oncoming sport fisher, the captain turned into the path of another boat passing from behind. I recommended that they install a rear-facing camera to help.

When we arrived at our destination, the small harbor was full of pots and markers buoys. The high freeboard was really a disadvantage for visibility, just as Marin noted above except even more so. This normally relaxing jaunt turned out to be quite a bit of work at the helm. It helped me realize the advantages of my own awkward design in this particular type of cruising.

The boat was a great boat and I'd trade my own in a minute to have it, but I see that piloting from the fly bridge of this vessel would be a preference whenever possible, and in Florida, that's most of the time.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:54 PM   #6
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Sticking one's head out the door can get you a different view.

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Old 03-29-2013, 11:14 PM   #7
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Thank you Marin. Yes I'll claim it as a fetish and admit that the sailboat like life lines wouldn't go quite as far fwd if I had designed the boat but I've learned to live w them. And consider that a log usually isn't as visible as a trap float.

I'll take this moment to show off my great visibility.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:22 PM   #8
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I'll take this moment to show off my great visibility.
It would have been very beneficial last weekend.
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