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Old 02-27-2019, 03:03 PM   #1
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No Doorway at Lower Helm

Thinking about purchasing a 42ft yacht.
It does not have a doorway at Lower Helm.
Has an enclosed Sundeck. No Thruster.

May be going through Locks Solo meaning handling Lock Lines while at Flybridge.

Any opinions on this or should I keep looking
for a Boat with a Doorway at the Lower Helm.

Thanks for input.
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:09 PM   #2
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We donít have a lower helm so we donít have a lower helm door. We did 75 locks coming home when we bought the boat. However it was 2 of us and our dog, Radar wasnít much help though. It will be tough doing it solo from the flybridge. We added a stern thruster for that reason. I can put the bow up to a cable and also the stern, but by the time I would climb down from the bridge and climb over the dog, the stern would sometimes drift away from the side before I could get to it. We have a wireless remote for the thruster so I can run it from the sundeck after I get down from the bridge. Works well for us.
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:10 PM   #3
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You are solo. What happens if the lock operator does not help?
Up and down the ladder?
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Old 02-27-2019, 06:55 PM   #4
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I have a friend who would never take his 40' aft cabin out solo since he had a single engine and no BT. He wasn't as experienced as many of the old salts here.

He would go out with his friend but used the lower helm door to improve his sight lines. At least he had a lower helm door!

I couldn't imagine doing that through locks as an inexperienced mariner without crew, a BT or a lower helm door.

Just sayin...
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Old 02-27-2019, 07:43 PM   #5
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Some additional info,
I am in my 60s and purchased my 1st boat at 16, have not been without at least 1 since.
I sailed a 44 CSY Solo in the BVI and USVI for about 10 years on & off. I recently sailed my 24' sailboat solo through the Dismisal Swamp and well into the northern Chesapeake.
Getting ready to do the Great Loop and wife will only join me at times so I may have to do some Locks Solo. She will be onboard for most.
Lock Master at Dismal Swamp Locks said he did not think solo through Locks was a good idea but I had no issues but that is a much smaller boat and I was the only boat. They offered no help.
I respect others opinions so when I found a boat I liked, I noticed it did not have the Lower Helm door which I had on my list. Has Twins so I like that. May add a Remote controlled Thruster but wanted to check with others about actual need. Not concerned about Soloing boat or Docking, just about Locking and being a pain to others.
Thanks for any and all responses.
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Old 02-27-2019, 08:52 PM   #6
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A boat with no pilothouse door at deck level was disqualified from my selection. It is best to have both port and starboard doors for ease of handling.
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Old 02-27-2019, 09:03 PM   #7
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Thanks Mark. That is the direction I am leaning. Looking at the boat again on Friday but may have to walk away.
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Old 02-27-2019, 09:12 PM   #8
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Curious, what kind of boat is it?
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Old 02-27-2019, 09:16 PM   #9
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42 Californian. I am also looking at Albin 40 with a Deckdoor on both sides. Albin looking better all the time.
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Old 02-27-2019, 09:48 PM   #10
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Sometimes with the sundeck model trawlers it's only a few steps to the "sun" deck and you can grab the lock lines from there. If the cabin is 'full width' with little or no side deck along the cabin the flybridge would be where you would work the lines.



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Old 02-27-2019, 09:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger3746 View Post
42 Californian. I am also looking at Albin 40 with a Deckdoor on both sides. Albin looking better all the time.
look around for AT 34/36 or AT 41
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Old 02-27-2019, 10:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger3746 View Post
Not concerned about Soloing boat or Docking, just about Locking and being a pain to others.
If you're not concerned about docking I don't think you should be concerned about locking. Locking is easier than lots of docking situations IMO.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that locking shouldn't really change your boat requirements. If you don't think you need a side door for docking you won't miss it locking. Hang lots of big fenders and enjoy the experience.
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
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42 Californian. I am also looking at Albin 40 with a Deckdoor on both sides. Albin looking better all the time.
During our search we boarded a 1976 42 LRC that had one door. It was evident that the flow through the salon/saloon would be bottle necked as a result. I believe 1977 and on were built with two doors.
Wish you the best in your search.
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:33 AM   #14
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I'd make an argument for the lower helm side door as an excellent tool for locking.

I see these MY going thru the locks, mostly with two people, no helm door, wide salon with no walk around and some with no lower helm and they all have some trouble.

Wish I had a port side door in addition to the starboard helm door, but not too bad without it, just a tad more challenging for solo.

Also, a remote thruster works wonders.
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:38 AM   #15
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That or add something like a wireless Yacht Controller and thrusters. Not an inexpensive add-on though.
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