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Old 04-02-2011, 07:01 AM   #1
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are dual helm stations really needed

My wife and I are looking at small trawlers and see that most have dual helms and wondered if the inside one is really used that much. It seems it would be convenient, but the extra inside space would be nice and from a practical point of view, we suspect we will try to be fair weather users and the flybridge visibility seems very practical. All insight would be appreciated.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

It is largely a matter of personal preference, particularly if one boats only during fair weather and benign conditions.

After piloting only sailboats in an open cockpit, I'm looking forward to the safety and shelter of a pilothouse.
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:12 PM   #3
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

They might not be needed, but make a boat more enjoyable.

It is great to steer inside completely out of the weather a lot of times.

Equally nice to have the great view and open air feeling only operating a boat from a flybridge can give.

I say try and get both.* But if I could only have one I would take inside.

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Old 04-02-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

This question has come up before and gone on at length.

I'm one who has both stations but very seldom use the bridge station. My boat has excellent visibility from inside. We chose it for that reason. We used to go out in all kinds of weather, heavy rain, snow at times, freezing cold and of course the warmer weather.

I also learned early on that if the water is rough I don't much care for the bridge. It's downright dangerous to try to get down once you are in it and the motion is amplified a lot.

It is truly what suits you. Many are the exact opposite but none are wrong.
Of course some boats don't give you a choice, there is either no inside station or it so poor that to safely run the boat, for visibility, you must use the upper station.

If you have no experience with both then I would suggest a vessel with both and try them as you work out your useage pattern. You may be like me and start with the bridge and eventually gravitate to inside.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:57 PM   #5
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Quote:
JohnP wrote:
They might not be needed, but make a boat more enjoyable.

It is great to steer inside completely out of the weather a lot of times.

Equally nice to have the great view and open air feeling only operating a boat from a flybridge can give.

I say try and get both.* But if I could only have one I would take inside.

JohnP
I agree wih every word in JohnP's post.

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Old 04-02-2011, 11:26 PM   #6
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Dual-helm stations sounds like a lot of duplication and double expense: helm (wheel), engine controls and instruments, radio, as well as*displays for*depth-finder, GPS, auto-pilot, radar, etc.*
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:28 AM   #7
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Is it not true that on the flybridge you "see' more , hence easier to "park" ?
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:28 PM   #8
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

We have both and LOVE our lower helm. Summer/warm weather= we're on the bridge! Cool/rainy/not nice out= we are at the lower helm! I strongly prefer the lower helm for going through locks, etc. I absolutely want both on my boats at this time.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:54 PM   #9
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

In the end of course it is personal preference, but where you cruise can also have a big bearing on how you prefer to run your boat.*

If it rains a lot when you are cruising, you will probably want an inside station. If the sun beats down a lot when you are cruising, you will probably want an inside station. If it's snowing a lot when you are cruising, you should probably have your head examined...

Generally visibility is much better from the upper station at least under way, while docking is often much better facilitated from the lower helm.

We have both on our 32 footer, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Summer cruising is pretty much always done from upstairs but if rain hits hard or we're cruising in the off season it's downstairs where I'll be.

Also on our boat the upper helm seats happen to be much more comfortable, so that also is a factor in where I'm helming.*

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Old 04-03-2011, 11:29 PM   #10
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Both helm stations REALLY have their useful*place (in more than one independent circumstance for safety reasons too).* Piloting on the fly Bridge is for fun in the sun, fresh air, and the best darn visibility money can buy (nice view at anchor too... great for watching fireworks during 4 O July).* Interior is for general looping along while chatting with friends in the salon and for inclement weather.* On my 34 Tollycraft tri cabin while docking and other close quarter maneuvers, for me,*the bridge wins hands down.* Just today Linda and I pulled bow first into our 40 long*x 16 wide*overhead covered slip with 30 + mph wind gusting down the canal at 45 degree angle into my starboard rear quarter... at day break it had been near 50 mph, a nasty and unpredicted little blow... we both had to come into dock today for business reasons tomorrow so we did! **At slow speed, as I*gear shifted and throttled the*boat through into a sharp 180 degree turn, Linda was ready to jump with a spring line in hand for a quick cinch on a dock post as soon as I entered and then held position.* In addition we had in tow a 4 seat, bimini top, 50 hp, 1975 classic 14 Crestliner runabout with a real short line to a transom center cleat and fenders on the swim step edge.* Due to my*being on bridge for complete visual command, verbal communications with Linda, and maneuvering with twin screw we docked first try without incident.* Yup Im in love with both pilot stations... but ... in my opinion, the bridge rules!!* BTW, I like twin screw too... especially in situations such as today.
*
Happy Boating - Art

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Old 04-03-2011, 11:42 PM   #11
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

I've always understood that the "bridge" of a boat as the control station of the vessel.* Whether it is "upstairs" or "downstairs" doesn't matter.* Dual helm stations equal two bridges.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:03 AM   #12
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Our previous boat was dual helm and I found I used the flybridge for docking only, once underway, unless it was a really nice day I would be down below. With the Manatee I find the perfect compromise, it's heated, covered, can be opened on nice days and great visibility. It can get a bit rocky though in rough water/beam seas.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:11 AM   #13
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

If the boat is really wide a wing bridge is useful to assist seeing the dock easily.

Steering up in an oxygen tent is fun , but here in FL the tent must be air conditioned , and the water has to be pretty flat.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:22 AM   #14
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

I am strictly a flybridge person. I've only run from the lower helm once or twice. I use it sometimes while riding out a tx storm at anchor.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:20 AM   #15
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

We steer from the F/b about 95% of the time, we have a comfortable lower helm station but the only time we steer from below is in cold, rain, or rough weather, and on a rare overnight passage, when one sleeps while the other keeps watch. We are seldom out in rough weather or water unless it pops up unpredicted. Our F/B is enclosed, in the summer when it gets hot we zip open a couple of , or all, the panels. We have the same instrumentation and electronics at both stations which provides some, but not complete, redundancy.
This topic is like twins vs single engines, or the best anchor. I believe it is a matter of personal choice influenced by the conditions you boat in.

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Old 04-04-2011, 10:25 AM   #16
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

I like the option of interior or exterior helm station. What never did make sense to me is duplicating the interior helm on the flybridge by enclosing everything. Maybe a bimini to keep of the sun or rain, but if I need an enclosed helm, I go below.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:12 AM   #17
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Quote:
dvd wrote:I like the option of interior or exterior helm station. What never did make sense to me is duplicating the interior helm on the flybridge by enclosing everything. Maybe a bimini to keep of the sun or rain, but if I need an enclosed helm, I go below.
*I much agree with what dvd mentions...*
Berthing around SF Bay and its Deltas temperate climate enables us to take our 34' Tolly tri cabin out many times a year, to cruise and/or hang on the hook, enjoying 3 to 5 day weekends.* We just completed a Thursday noon through Sunday weekend on the Delta.* I generally only captain from the bridge... loving the natural air, sounds, smells, visuals and more with my first mate wife at my side and our kids there too when they can join our cruise!* We would not enclose our bridge and/or sun deck in a tent, no matter how many windows could be opened; and yes, weve been aboard boats that are enclosed, so we know what it feels like.* As dvd mentions... if the weather is too inclement and we want enclosure we go inside the salon for piloting or for party!* We keep two large bimini tops on our bridge and sun deck.* For us, another reason the enclosure would be cumbersome is that we need to drop both bimini as well as the anchor light mast in order to get into our covered berth.*
*
As is always the way with nearly every portion of a personally owned pleasure craft Each To Their Own!* As long as you enjoy it and its no danger to yourself or others... THEN DO IT!* And, Keep On Smiling, errrr Boating!*
*
Cheers, Art*

*
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:30 AM   #18
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Hopefully, one helm station will suffice for me.

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Old 04-04-2011, 11:49 AM   #19
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Well there is a boat seat for everybody isn't there? In our case we wanted only the bridge controls. We think we have the best of both worlds now. Our flybridge is very roomy and will seat 8 folks easily (we don't cruise with more than another couple anyway) and is only 3 steps up from the Sundeck, so it is easy to reach regardless of sea conditions. Since the FB is totally enclosed with a hard top, it is fine in all weather with excellent visibility and ventilation. Although not air conditioned at present, we could do so, but haven't felt the need. In Florida, heat is not much of a concern of course. We really enjoy our salon and with the galley down config, we don't feel like we are sitting in the dining room, galley or helm when we are relaxing. We have a nice wet bar in the area that would have otherwise been the lower station. Our salon has a very 'at home' feel to it that we like a lot and we spend a considerable amount of our time split between the salon and sundeck (also enclosed).
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:29 AM   #20
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RE: are dual helm stations really needed

Folks that like electronic gadgets can easily get by with NO helm station.

The steering , auto pilot and engine controls can be operated with a remolte.

Perhaps (I hope so ) the bow cockpit like Midnight Lace featured will finally make a comeback.
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