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Old 01-25-2019, 09:22 PM   #1
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No Door From Salon To Side Deck

I am considering a 42' Taiwanese Trawler. It has most of the things that we are looking for but it does not have a door by the lower helm providing access from the salon to the side deck

How much of a problem will that create for me. The Admiral is not overly active when it comes to operating the boat so in essence I am single handing the boat. Access to the foredeck from the helm would be going back to the sundeck and then coming forward on one of the side decks.

What are people's thoughts and experiences with this type of setup.
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:32 PM   #2
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Hey Dan, long time no see. Welcome back.


We run our boat from the fly bridge and to get to the foredeck it involves going down a ladder then up 3 steps to the side walkway then down along the side of the boat to the fore deck.


What that means for us is to plan ahead. If we're headed into a lock or to a dock, we stop well ahead and can usually take our time getting things ready. I would imagine it would be much the same on the boat you're describing.


We've found that very little demands a rush to get it done if you plan ahead.


Mike
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:40 PM   #3
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Thanks Mike, Good to hear from you. We are going to be at the Seattle Boat Show on Monday. It would be good to se you folks.


I appreciate hearing your experience with no doorway. It sounds like it is not a problem for you.
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Old 01-25-2019, 09:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Budds Outlet View Post
I am considering a 42' Taiwanese Trawler. It has most of the things that we are looking for but it does not have a door by the lower helm providing access from the salon to the side deck

How much of a problem will that create for me. The Admiral is not overly active when it comes to operating the boat so in essence I am single handing the boat. Access to the foredeck from the helm would be going back to the sundeck and then coming forward on one of the side decks.

What are people's thoughts and experiences with this type of setup.
That set up would really bother me. Perhaps like GFC I'd get used to it, but I just feel like quick access to the side deck and the fore deck are important.
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:28 PM   #5
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The absent helm door is a significant shortcoming. Useful for docking, step outside and you can take a line or grab one on a post hanger. I stand in the walkway, lining the boat up with the dock,facing aft, reaching in to operate the gears.
Some boats have them both sides,having none is a real nuisance and affects operating the boat.
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:31 PM   #6
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I would not want one since we didnít want a lower helm anyway. I donít want to give up the salon space to a lower helm that we would never use anyway.
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Old 01-25-2019, 11:27 PM   #7
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I've had both. On the Camano its not really an issue. Short enough cabin it doesn't take much to get outside. I can also reach in through the window adjacent to the helm and work throttle/shift and wheel if necessary, although with narrow side decks, its a chore.
Given a choice, I'd prefer to have the side door, but like almost everything on a boat, you get used to what you have.
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Old 01-25-2019, 11:36 PM   #8
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For me, side deck access from the helm is essential.

My old boat is set up so you can stand on the port side deck with one hand on the cleat, and reach the controls through the door. This together with prop walk makes docking port side easier and is a pretty standard arrangement.

Mind you, I also see plenty of others docking successfully without this traditional setup - it's just not for me.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:34 AM   #9
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An option that could be added is a docking station in the rear. If the boat has 2 engines, add a second set of shift and throttle controls to the outside back wall of the saloon on the starboard corner. When docking, you work from the stern station to position the starboard side of the boat against the wall, dock etc. and then walk down the side deck for lines. It doesn't really help much for the port side, but you just avoid using that side.

For single engine boats, you have throttle, shift, jog lever to swing the rudder with the autopilot, and bow thruster control if you have one. I have this one setup on my single engine boat. It makes docking and locking super easy. Also, the view you get when backing into a slip can't be beat.

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Old 01-26-2019, 06:52 AM   #10
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I have a side door on both sides. But the door next to the helm blocks the opening pretty well.

I use the rear door a lot of the time and its not really a big deal. It might be though if the side decks are on a different level than the doorway ( like a cockpit door and you had to climb up to the side decks)

I too often single hand.

I do like at least an opening window next to the helm.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:05 AM   #11
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The lower helm side door is an absolute for me and makes docking/locking a breeze, even in a slight wind.

If you always have a crew and favorable conditions, one can easily dock without the door, but still a pain. And even with a crew the door is great.

There are a few things that are "musts", including a walk around deck, side helm door (preferably two), and stairs (not ladders).
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:57 AM   #12
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I do not have side doors in the pilot house. In hindsight, if I build another one, I would at least put a door on stbd next to helm. But it is no big deal to do without. My side window when open allows access to controls while on the side deck.

If all else is ok with the boat, I would not reject it for lack of the door.
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:32 AM   #13
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One of my favorite features of our old Hatteras 56MY is that it had doors to the full, and flush, side decks on either side of the helm. Even a klutz like me could, and did, single hand that big tub of a boat. I wouldn't own another cruising boat without at least one door by the helm, two was fantastic.
Now as for the OP, I don't know your personal agility, cowboy skills and adeptness, so can't make that judgement for you.
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:01 PM   #14
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Dan, we won't be at the boat show; we're down in AZ and won't be back until next month.


As was said above, getting used to what you have is the key. On our boat I always drive from up top. From there I can't see the stern at all so when we're backing into the slip I rely on GW to let me know which side of the boat she's going to get off. I painted a small rectangle on the finger pier on the port side so I know how far to back in. When she gets off she just let's me know that she's gotten off.


I also can't see her when we go through the locks. I know where the bollard has to be in relation to the boat so I just position the boat there and she secures the line to the bollard. If I need to move forward or back just a bit she lets me know.


Easy Peasy.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:04 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the comments. It appears that boating would be crew dependent without side doors. I guess I would just need to train the crew.
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:45 PM   #16
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That's basically what it boils down to. That and coordinating your communications. Since I can't see my wife when she's out on the walkway or on the stern we have to make sure I know where she is all the time.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:58 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the comments. It appears that boating would be crew dependent without side doors. I guess I would just need to train the crew.

Not necessarily. In most cases docking can be done with access only to the cockpit if it is close to the helm. No need to access the bow or midship until after the boat is secured except in extreme circumstances.
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Old 01-27-2019, 04:51 PM   #18
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It would not stop me from buying a boat I really liked.



But I don't think I could really like a boat without one.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:40 PM   #19
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Helm door

Personally, I would not buy a boat of this size that lacked a helm door, especially if, as you say, you will be essentially single handling the boat. My Grand Banks only has a single saloon door next to the lower helm and not having another on the port side causes some difficulties at times. Just my opinion. When you are using the lower helm because of the weather and itís rough or windy or there is a strong current running, having to make your way all the way aft then all the way forward is going to get you into some difficult situations.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:42 PM   #20
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I agree with those who would not buy that boat. We fortunately have two forward doors opposite each other in the salon. I can't imagine having to dock the boat without having easy access particularly when single-handling. Also, on windy days having the option to open either door to keep everything from flying around inside is another advantage.
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