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Old 04-07-2015, 07:41 PM   #1
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Ideas for moveable helm chair needed

After many years of Mcgivering my old Garelick helm chair I am trying to find a replacement. The old Garelick doesn't seem to be in production anymore, perhaps because of it's design flaw of having the weakest point of the frame at the point of most stress. The current Garelick stand is too short.

My criteria in a chair is that it needs to have an upholstered seat surface approx. 35" in height, be easily moveable, and have a back and arms. As I weigh around 270lbs, it needs to bear the load.

As I haven't seen anything in the marine world I've been looking at office task/drafting chairs w/ the heavier duty pneumatic tube. One problem I see with them is that they all swivel and don't have a lock for the swivel. I'm concerned that this could be a problem in heavier seas. I have a padeye that I use to strap down my old chair in such rare events.

Has anybody out there come up with an answer to my problem? If anybody has used the drafting/task chair approach, how did it work out?

Thanks, Tator
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Old 04-07-2015, 09:01 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. T. I tried a tall directors type folding canvas chair (Pier One imports) for our 20 day run south. Worked OK for the first week or so then started wobbling about and as a result I'm also looking for a comfortable, armed, movable helm chair as well. Don't want to route out the pilot house for a screw down base either...
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:29 PM   #3
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For a long time Monks came with this type of helm chair. No idea who makes them.

http://tinyurl.com/nczflxl
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Wire View Post
For a long time Monks came with this type of helm chair. No idea who makes them.

http://tinyurl.com/nczflxl
Do you have any idea if it swivels? And if it does, does it function okay in seas?

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Old 04-08-2015, 09:10 AM   #5
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I once met a guy who had a standard pedestal helm seat bolted into a large fabricated teak-looking base. Four rods had been welded (I think)at angles to the top of the pedestal, angling out to the corners of the base. He had felt and some small suction cups on the bottom of the base. According to him he never had an issue in seas, and he was mostly (according to him) a blue water cruiser. To me it looked like it would be clumsy to move around, but I never got to see it moved. It did look pretty cool though.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:37 PM   #6
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This is the best helm seat I've ever seen. The captain and owner of this vessel told me he'd come across it years ago in a store in La Conner, WA. We have searched all over the place, including La Conner, with no luck. There are somewhat similar chairs on the Internet but nothing as versatile and well made as this one.

If I was a skilled woodworker I'd make one but I'm not. So we continue to keep looking.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
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This is the best helm seat I've ever seen. The captain and owner of this vessel told me he'd come across it years ago in a store in La Conner, WA. We have searched all over the place, including La Conner, with no luck. There are somewhat similar chairs on the Internet but nothing as versatile and well made as this one.

If I was a skilled woodworker I'd make one but I'm not. So we continue to keep looking.
That looks like a good one! I guess I'll get the drafting/task chair and fashion a wooden clamp to go around the tubes to keep it from swiveling.

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Old 04-08-2015, 04:03 PM   #8
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We use a metal bar stool with a back. It swivels but not freely, which is a nice feature to have. The problem is storage as it doesn't fold up, which what one of the things we like about the seat in the photo.
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:29 PM   #9
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I spent 6 years looking for a solution to this for our pilothouse. There's a nice amount of room but not enough for a Stidd type of chair especially while maintaining the ability to walk around it. I also wanted to be able to use the chair as an extra chair or especially as a "desk" chair since the pilothouse is my office and I'm often writing software there for many hours on end. I wanted something incredibly comfortable with great support - something good for backs. It also needed to be cool in temperature since we're often in the boat in warmer environments. It needed to have a good height range of motion to act as a desk chair and an underway helm chair. And finally, it had to be secure while underway, even in bad conditions.

I tried a variety of things over the years including a high-type of director's chair. Everything failed in one way or another. One afternoon off the Maine coast in just 5' seas, the directors chair went flying. It was too tippy and wasn't reliable to free-stand in very bad weather.

Finally, I was at a meeting in a conference room. And typical for a high-tech company, the chairs were all those Aeron type of chairs by Herman Miller. They're overpriced but made really well. There are a dozen comfort, support, and safety features in them.

So I got back to our boat and realized that if there was an Aeron drafting chair, it might meet all our needs. When I found that there was a drafting version allowing the range of height needed for the table and while underway, the $1,200 price was tiny compared to the normal type of helm chairs in the $5,000 price range.

I got one and then purchased a couple of Pompanette tie down plates and eye bolts used to hold down one of their seats. The plates allow for an eye bolt to be screwed in when the chair is used underway. When we're not moving, the straps disconnect and the eye bolts come out allowing the chair to be moved around.

I've had the setup now for 4 years. We've tested it in 8 foot head seas and over the years we've surely gotten surprised by weather from time to time. It was the helm chair for our entire Great Loop trip and I'm sitting on it now, typing this in the Bahamas.

For Karen and me, the chair has been an incredible success. We love it and use it all the time. It has met every requirement we had. I only wish I had done it many years earlier. I've never known anyone to use this type of chair.

Some pictures are attached although the lighting isn't great. You can get the idea. When Dee Dee was a puppy, she used to lay under the chair and chew the nylon band ends. It kept her happy and busy although it's probably time to cut a new set.

(I have no idea why the pictures came across with some funny rotations...)
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tator View Post
Do you have any idea if it swivels? And if it does, does it function okay in seas?

Tator
I think it does but I don't have one and I have not sat in one in 20 years.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey S View Post
I spent 6 years looking for a solution to this for our pilothouse. There's a nice amount of room but not enough for a Stidd type of chair especially while maintaining the ability to walk around it. I also wanted to be able to use the chair as an extra chair or especially as a "desk" chair since the pilothouse is my office and I'm often writing software there for many hours on end. I wanted something incredibly comfortable with great support - something good for backs. It also needed to be cool in temperature since we're often in the boat in warmer environments. It needed to have a good height range of motion to act as a desk chair and an underway helm chair. And finally, it had to be secure while underway, even in bad conditions.

I tried a variety of things over the years including a high-type of director's chair. Everything failed in one way or another. One afternoon off the Maine coast in just 5' seas, the directors chair went flying. It was too tippy and wasn't reliable to free-stand in very bad weather.

Finally, I was at a meeting in a conference room. And typical for a high-tech company, the chairs were all those Aeron type of chairs by Herman Miller. They're overpriced but made really well. There are a dozen comfort, support, and safety features in them.

So I got back to our boat and realized that if there was an Aeron drafting chair, it might meet all our needs. When I found that there was a drafting version allowing the range of height needed for the table and while underway, the $1,200 price was tiny compared to the normal type of helm chairs in the $5,000 price range.

I got one and then purchased a couple of Pompanette tie down plates and eye bolts used to hold down one of their seats. The plates allow for an eye bolt to be screwed in when the chair is used underway. When we're not moving, the straps disconnect and the eye bolts come out allowing the chair to be moved around.

I've had the setup now for 4 years. We've tested it in 8 foot head seas and over the years we've surely gotten surprised by weather from time to time. It was the helm chair for our entire Great Loop trip and I'm sitting on it now, typing this in the Bahamas.

For Karen and me, the chair has been an incredible success. We love it and use it all the time. It has met every requirement we had. I only wish I had done it many years earlier. I've never known anyone to use this type of chair.

Some pictures are attached although the lighting isn't great. You can get the idea. When Dee Dee was a puppy, she used to lay under the chair and chew the nylon band ends. It kept her happy and busy although it's probably time to cut a new set.

(I have no idea why the pictures came across with some funny rotations...)
Thanks! Looks like what I'm looking for although pricey for my budget. Does it swivel or does the swivel lock? If it does swivel and doesn't lock, how does that affect it's usage in seas?

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Old 04-08-2015, 09:08 PM   #12
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Jeff: I've also had occasion to use those chairs.....outstanding comfort and no sweating either. Great idea!

Right now, I've got one of these Garelick 4 legged things (photo). Not bad, and more than enough for my 240 lbs. but I've had to abandon it a few times while getting mega-waked by big boats passing on both sides. I should be using straps like Jeff indicated.

I have a Stidd 500 chair that I keep putting off installing cuz of the same reasons noted by Jeff, that is, with the present pilothouse set-up, it's really a tight squeeze to get between the chair and the settee table. I keep thinking I'll finally do it, but then we go on some excursion with a half dozen or so sitting around the pilothouse settee pigging out. I haven't thought of a good way to make the table more portable without making it less stable.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:13 PM   #13
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Does it swivel or does the swivel lock? If it does swivel and doesn't lock, how does that affect it's usage in seas?
It swivels but does not lock. I figured I could lock it manually if I needed it but it has never been a problem. Karen and I both like it moving a little. In bad weather, we're always holding onto the wheel and that seems to give enough stability. On autopilot, it's really nice to swivel and we both end up putting our feet on the chart table.

There is a tilt mechanism too but it has a tension control and we keep that tight so it doesn't tilt.
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:33 AM   #14
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Take a look at Amazon for drafting chairs. Seems to be a good range and most qualify for Amazon Prime.
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:43 AM   #15
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Ideas for moveable helm chair needed

We use this Lebroc helm chair with a base that has a couple of wheels to roll it out of the way. From helmchair.com

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Old 04-09-2015, 08:32 AM   #16
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We've had this chair about 30 years . Back in our hippie days we did craft shows where we sold furniture and woodwork . At the end of the show we all got together and did some trading for pottery or jewelry or what ever . I traded a little walnut Shaker table I built for this chair . This was the perfect chair for sitting all day in a booth. It folds up and is very comfortable . It's made out of white oak and tough as hell . Our helm area is just to cramped for it . I'll have to do two post for both pics . Sorry still haven't figured out two pics in one post
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:35 AM   #17
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Chair folded .Oh yeah it has a little cup table that switches for right hand or left .
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:02 PM   #18
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Marty-- that's a very cool chair. It's not unlike the folding teak chair I posted a photo of earlier in this thread and is what we're hoping to find one day.

Actually your chair looks sturdier than the one in my photo. My wife just asked if anyone in your areas still makes chairs like that.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:43 AM   #19
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Marty-- that's a very cool chair. It's not unlike the folding teak chair I posted a photo of earlier in this thread and is what we're hoping to find one day.

Actually your chair looks sturdier than the one in my photo. My wife just asked if anyone in your areas still makes chairs like that.
Marin , The guy that built the chair was from Arkansas . We were in the
Arkansas Craft Guild together . I don't think he is making chairs now but I'll ask around . I'm thinking someone took his business over . We also have a porch rocker , two folding tv type tables and this standard size chair below that I move from the helm area to the back deck .It also folds up . The hardware and wood screws are brass . The bolts on the hinge part are stainless with nylock nuts . All of the chairs and the rocker are very comfortable and well built . I've thought about making them myself but just don't have the time .
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:16 PM   #20
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Here's mine. I custom welded extensions to the bottom of an old deck chair and reupholstered it to match the cushions in the pilothouse.
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