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Old 04-01-2010, 03:45 PM   #21
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

My boat has upper and lower helms with redundant electronics. I steer from above 99% of the time but when the it gets rainy, rough, or cold I use the lower helm. Crossing the Gulf from the panhandle to or from the West coast of Fl. is an overnight trip, you might want to do that some time. I find the lower helm useful when my wife takes watches I can take a nap on the setee and am right there for a question or problem.
Steve Willett
Thibodaux Louisiana
Home port Houma
Currently anchored in Little Sarasota Bay, Fl. on to St Petersburg tomorrow
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:52 PM   #22
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Steve,

It is nice to here Louisiana guys out there. I have read a lot of your posts. I think I have about decided to not make a run at the Nova without the lower helm after hearing so many opinions. Hope your having fun down there. Think about us poor guys who can't be out there.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:54 PM   #23
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

I have a 40' Nova Sundeck and single hand a lot.
A lower helm is essential ONLY if there's a door next to the lower helm, otherwise, it's wasted redundancy. Some bigger boats i.e. Ponderosa, do not have the lower helm door.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:11 PM   #24
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Quote:
surveyor1 wrote:A lower helm is essential ONLY if there's a door next to the lower helm, otherwise, it's wasted redundancy.
I would strongly agree with this.* While my wife and I prefer the sight picture from lower on the boat than from the flying bridge, a big advantage of the lower helm is the ability to step out the door right*next to it and be on deck to assist with whatever needs assisting with.* We don't single-hand the boat, but even with two people aboard there are times when one of us gets onto the dock with the first line but then the next lines need to be gotten ashore very quickly before the wind or current (usually wind) blows us somewhere we don't want to be.* Being able to zip right*out to the foredeck from the helm station is a big advantage.

The early GB36s had a door on each side of the cabin next to the helm station.* For access this was probably great but the port door made for a less-than-ideal main cabin configuration so the port door was soon dropped.* The GB32, on the other hand, has no side access to the lower helm station at all--- the ony way in and out of the main cabin is through the rear door to the aft deck.* Not the ideal arrangement to my way of thinking.

*
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:26 PM   #25
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Lower Helm - YES

Galley Down - YES

El Sea/L.C.

"Suckin Sludge & Havin a Gas"
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:30 PM   #26
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

I use my lower helm I'd say 70% of the time and that is increasing. I agree the door beside the helm is critical. Often cruising with door open is much like the upper helm just with no excessive wind and no need for sunscreen except on one side of your head.* In the off months the lower is a must, engine heater is blowing and there are no conditions that it's not warm and toasty down there. The big plus for the upper is 360 view and quiet. In the end it would be hard to do without either but if I had just one it would be the lower for the all weather comfort.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:51 PM   #27
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Do you really need a lower helm?

Charles:
What is that pink dotted rowboat in your picture? Pretty cool looking. Blood River feeds into the Tickfaw River which empties into Lake Maurepas which empties into Lake Ponchartrain. Unless you have*a Hurricane Ike which blows everything upstream.**
Mike

-- Edited by Gulf Comanche on Thursday 1st of April 2010 10:52:55 PM

-- Edited by Gulf Comanche on Thursday 1st of April 2010 10:59:43 PM
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:31 PM   #28
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Mike---

Speaking of what kind of boat is that, what kind of boat is yours? From your avatar it looks like a very robust design, "skookum" as they say up in this neck of the woods.
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:02 AM   #29
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Steve,

We were in*our Hurricane deckboat cruising down the ICW just west of Perdido Key last year and here was this guy in a thong rowing across the ICW that was fairly wide. Luckily, our friend had her DSLR camera with her so we started snapping pics. The guy never looked at us and just kept rowing. There were two dogs on his boat and one just looked embarrassed to be on that boat. Later we were riding around in the car and found a minature version of his boat and oars by some apartments. I got out and went up and found a bunch of different*sayings written on the boat. He must have lived somewhere around there and had friends who made*the little version out there as a tribute to that austere gentlemen! I thought about sending the pic into National Geographic and say that I shot a picture of a*Papau New Guinea*native on his way to pick up his new bride on another island.
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:43 AM   #30
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

We have a upper helm, and a lower with doors on both sides, I really like using the upper helm when backing into my slip. The perspective view is great as I can see the pointy end real well and I can see the stern corners unobstructed. When we had our GB36 I found out the hard way that you really need to have engine start ability at the upper helm also... I had fiddled with the idle speed to slow the boat while transiting the no wake zone in the marina... made the turn to final into the slip a little to hot... dropped it in reverse while going forward a little fast... engine died while going warp 9 ( you think trawlers are slow..... have the engine die while going ahead while pointed at the dock... seemed like we where flying that day! ) Anyhow.. I did a grab the flybridge edge, drop over the side to the side deck, duck through the side door move that is still spoken about at the Yacht Club in reverence!. Of course Murphy always makes this kind of thing happen on something like.. opening day when EVERYBODY is in the Marina. The GB went full astern about 1 foot from the dock. All I can say is I am glad it was the "light" grand banks not my current trawler as the GB would stop in a dime.
I think a upper helm is a great asset, nice on those days that its sunny and warm ( I know my fellow boaters here in Washington are scoffing right now) And a necessity when navigating in shallow water
my $2 worth
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:17 AM   #31
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

I have both and in five years I have only used the lower about 4 times. I even removed the wheel and pump from the lower helm to expand the salon. I believe the sight lines are much better higher up. My next purchase of a sundeck trawler I will be looking for no lower helm or one that is unobtrusive as possible.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:31 AM   #32
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

I love our lower helm! When we were telling friends pre-trawler we wanted a lower helm they said that I'd never use it. Personally, I love it!! I do like the bridge on those hot summer days, etc. but it is so nice to have the option of piloting from down below.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:05 AM   #33
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Don't think I would like a trawler without a lower helm.* The option of being out of the weather is why I perfer trawlering over sailing.

The flybridge is nice when conditions are perfect or for taking in the sights.** I think having both is an advantage.** JohnP
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:10 AM   #34
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

I tell you one thing I will say about lower helms- I personally don't understand the point in having one if you don't have an associated cabin door to the foredeck next to the helm. if we did not have cabin doors to provide quick access to the decks I don't know that I would use ours as much.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:17 AM   #35
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Do you really need a lower helm?

I agree, and I think most are set up that way.* JohnP

If you have the door, you might as well have the helm because the space inside of the door would be just wasted.

-- Edited by JohnP on Monday 31st of January 2011 10:20:26 AM
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:29 AM   #36
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

We use our flybridge when the weather is nice and the lower helm in our pilothouse when the weather is poor and also for all close work. *

When we looked into buying a trawler we had very strict criteria. *We knew we would be cruising with just the two of us most of the time, so wanted something that would be easy and safe to handle. *We wanted wide decks around the whole boat, a raised pilothouse with doors on both the port and starboard side and an interior staircase from the pilothouse to the flybridge. * We also wanted twin screws and of course, thrusters would be icing on the cake.


Needless to say, these requirements really restricted the kind of boat that we could purchase especially in our more modest price range. *We looked for quite awhile before we found Delia Rosa.... she is an older lady and we still have lots of work to do to bring her back to her former glory but she suits us perfectly!!
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:40 AM   #37
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

So far we have not purchased a boat yet. I have committed to some investment projects for the next year that will keep me tight with time and finances. It seems I always have a pending deal I have to fund. Hopefully about a year from now I will be cashing out and have the time to buy and enjoy my boat. Thanks for all the input on the lower helm. I think I will look for a trawler with the lower helm since both my wife and I don't like to get cold and wet at the same time.

And no, that definitely isn't me in my profile pic!
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:09 AM   #38
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Do you really need a lower helm?

Yes, I do!!
<===

-- Edited by SeaHorse II on Monday 31st of January 2011 12:11:41 PM
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:27 PM   #39
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Guess it really depends on where you boat. In the PNW I'm pretty sure having the option is really nice. If you are down south in the warmer areas, you'll spend most of* your time upstairs on the flybridge with a better view and great weather both day and night. Must agree that the lower station makes little sense without the doors for access to the bow. Many of the sedan models have a lower station, but the only access is out to the cockpit. I've always been glad to have* both allowing me the option of where to drive.

My other requirement way to have access from the lower station to the flybridge without going outside. The last thing I* wanted was my first mate walking to the back of the boat out of sight in rough water. I was lucky enough to find that, in a boat I could afford.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:16 PM   #40
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Re: Do you really need a lower helm?

Ther are plusses and minuses with every boat. We have a 38' sundeck and have both upper and lower helm in the panhandle of FL. Most of the time we use the upper helm.

Having a lower helm is nice on the days it gets cold. We use our boat all year round. During the holidays we went on a cruise and used it to get out of the marina(unlighted markers and 4am) temp was 25 degrees and ice covered the sundeck. Once into the gulf we retreated below to T-shirts for the whole day. With an upper helm only you could make it liveable with heat and full enclosure.

If it is a good deal and you like the boat go for it. We only used our lower helm about 6 days this year.
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