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Old 08-08-2016, 06:53 PM   #41
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We don't even have lower bridge
Lower bridge is the dinning room
Yes there are problems with wind age and you need 2 people to dock
But the advantage of being high up to see logs and traffic I think out weight the cons and we get a bunch more room
With our Bayliner 39" 90 % of traveling time was above because it loved eating logs.
I think It is in how you use the boat and the number of people you have on board
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:58 PM   #42
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When boating, I spend very little time at any helm.

I almost always travel in open water with little or no traffic, so its just a matter of setting the AP and then hanging out wherever is most comfortable. I move around a lot. Even though ther is no flybridge, I spend time sitting on the bow watching dolphins, or in a hammock on the deck, or sitting on the pilothouse roof, or in the cockpit tweaking the sails. I just do the checks at the helm regularly.

The only time I stay at the helm for more than a few minutes, is leaving/entering the marina and docking, or in really rough seas. A flybridge wouldn't work for me in either of those cases.
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:59 PM   #43
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As a singlehander much of the time I have to dock and handle my own lines which I can only do from below
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:04 PM   #44
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[QUOTE=Pgitug;467703]Other than weather, why would anyone want an upper helm?
Canvas and plastic windows. None on mine except simple cheap bimini. but still drive from FB.
Exposed electronics Covered usually and they really don't care. Their lifetime will be up and the new ones will get a nice console.
Upholstery in the weather Just use my normal outdoor chairs up there anyway, covered when not in use
Poor bridge clearance Its lower than my and your mast, would have to be a huge boat for a flybridge to not allow passage under most bridges...those few feet really don't make that big of a difference.
Mold and no air conditioning. No mold...go up when you don't need air or heat...some days the flybridge doesn't need anything but the cabin does.
I like my comforts too much.[/QUOTE]

I am not a huge flybridge fan...but I have to be fair.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:05 PM   #45
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"Why have a lower helm"

That nuts!

"Why have an upper helm"

Far far more ligitamte question.

Just an opinion of course.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:05 PM   #46
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The only times I've run from lower were due to rain or fog. I also start the main and standby the lower helm during thunderstorms while on the anchor just-in-case. Thats where the radar display sits. Lower helm makes test runs of main engine easy.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:20 PM   #47
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Our lower helm is fairly useless. Visibility is rotten. We've not yet ever even tried to drive from it.
We don't ever even take the canvas off the front windows.
I suppose if we HAD to for some reason we could make do.

Flybridge all the way...we prefer to be outside anyway.

Course, we are day boaters... Not cruisers...yet.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:26 PM   #48
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Perhaps the question should be phrased why have a lower helm other than in a pilot house boat.

Doubt whether many upper helms are as comfortable for 8-24 hr long passages as many of the "lower helms" in the pilot house trawlers.

For lack of use I have removed the helm seat in our flying bridge helm, removed the electrical connections for running a computer on the flying bridge and also have not replaced the switch for raising and lowering the anchor. The upper helm on Bay Pelican is now a sitting area for evening cocktails in beautiful weather.
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Old 08-08-2016, 08:42 PM   #49
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At some point...if the lower or upper helm is poorly designed...then well heck yes...or no! either could be great or a disaster....


But my boat has a comfy both...they both have advantages and few disadvantages. I drive from either depending on how I feel and the weather...but one is hardly superior to the other, just it is nice to hear the faint engine sounds and a few more electronics below. But the vis and environment is equal depending on the weather. Kinda why I picked this model.... knowing how much I would be driving it.


It's OK to have a preference....but to just generically condemn one or the other just doesn't make sense to someone who has run enough boats to know either can be a great experience.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:11 PM   #50
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Folks that have not spent much time aboard a plothouse boat do not really understand them.

I somewwhat agree with the OP... On a non pilothouse boat, the lower helm is often something of a second thought. Little room for electronics, and generally in the way.

On a pilothouse boat, the pilothouse is the main helm station. The flying bridge is just another place to drive the boat from. Similar to the lower helm on a non pilothouse boat. There is no way to replicate all you get in a real pilothouse on a flying bridge.

Pilothouses also come in two versions. Ours for example is full width. Other Pilothouses are what I call "cut up" in that they are only partial width, because they need to make room for a set of stairs accessing the lower cabins.

This is our pilothouse.

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Old 08-08-2016, 11:20 PM   #51
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Its looking like I am pretty screwed.....no fly bridges and no pilothouse.

It's a bugger but I am making it work.
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:27 AM   #52
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OK, so let's have someone define "pilot house" vs a mere "lower helm".
A good, comfortable for two fully functuinal lower helm with excellent all around visibility, and the same for a flying bridge, were important criteria when we were boat shopping. There were many designs from various that met this criteria, and none of our finalists had an enclosed "pilot house", versions of which had very poor rear views. The larger Hatteras motoryachts with open helms, one of which we bought, had excellent lower helm appointments and ergonomics, as did their flying bridges.

So let's get some common nomenclature for the sake of argument?
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:44 AM   #53
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I took a look at several definitions of the term "pilot house" and also "wheel house". The key term in the definitions is an "enclosed space". For our purposes, that is recreational trawlers, the distinction between a pilot house and a "lower helm" is that the pilot house is a separate "room" full width of the boat with a separation of some sort from the saloon. I distinguish this from a "lower helm" when the ship's wheel is in the same "room" as the saloon or galley typically just a corner of the saloon.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:18 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay Pelican View Post
I took a look at several definitions of the term "pilot house" and also "wheel house". The key term in the definitions is an "enclosed space". For our purposes, that is recreational trawlers, the distinction between a pilot house and a "lower helm" is that the pilot house is a separate "room" full width of the boat with a separation of some sort from the saloon. I distinguish this from a "lower helm" when the ship's wheel is in the same "room" as the saloon or galley typically just a corner of the saloon.

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Old 08-09-2016, 08:50 AM   #55
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When we had a lower helm in our first "trawler, we used it only for weather issues.


Then when we tried a "lower helm only" (express) boat, I didn't like not being able to see crab pot warps... or other various debris in the water... and that I could see better from the flying bridge on the previous boat.


So we came back to a flybridge design, only with stairs this time, versus ladder. Much better for that forward visibility thing, and really good visibility for docking.


I often think a raised pilothouse would be useful as a lower helm, but don't know whether that would give me sufficient visibility for crab pot warps. Assuming a side door and a solution to visibility aft, I'd suspect it could be at least usable for docking, especially when single-handing... Might allow carrying a dinghy on the foredeck without hampering forward visibility, too...


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Old 08-09-2016, 09:03 AM   #56
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Toying with the idea of a minimally outfitted (steering, throttle, shifter) station to be used while standing on the saloon roof.

My wife has been the go to person for wildlife photography in our family, but I'll be getting a better camera and large lenses in the next couple years. Taking photo's of wildlife out the pilothouse doors just doesn't work, especially in shallow water, close to rocks, or when a 360 degree view is needed.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:09 AM   #57
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If you can't see from the lower helm you've got a poorly designed boat.

These FB boats keep popping up .. I thought I condemed them
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:10 AM   #58
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A flying bridge is a delight---------a delight for the dermatologists.

So, you want 360 degree visibility and a view of the three corners of the boat?

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Old 08-09-2016, 09:28 AM   #59
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My lower helm serves as nautical decoration for the saloon. Like a lot of "aft cabin" designs of the day, Panache is a modified sportfisher. There is no deck access from the lower helm other than the saloon aft companionway. The LH is low, giving poor (or no) fields of vision over the bow, even at low speed or at rest. Visibility aft is non-existent.

I've never operated the boat from the LH. Even contemplating removing it entirely (except it looks pretty snazzy). If I had a 4788 Bayliner, that I consider the exemplar of rec boat layouts, I would probably use a LH.

I think a lot of FB opinions, pro and con, are based on the boater's location. Down here (Gulf Coast), it's rare to see a FB boat operated from the LH, even in "cold" (under 60) weather. If I were boating up north, I think I'd be more amenable to the LH in a true pilothouse configuration. The 4788 Bayliner, that I consider the exemplar of rec boat layouts in my limited experience, would probably get me to use a LH.

No FB canvas other than a bimini. The oxygen tent configuration leaves me cold. Plotter enclosed in NavPod, VHF and stereo inside console, zero problems over 5 years.

The FB rolls more, gets wet in rain (usually more refreshing than a nuisance), and takes some spray. On the other hand, the 360 horizontal visibility, the view ahead, and ability to see all extents of the boat when docking, makes it the ideal helm position for my taste. Not to mention, being out "in it." That's why I'm on the water to begin with.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:32 AM   #60
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............ It's OK to have a preference....but to just generically condemn one or the other just doesn't make sense to someone who has run enough boats to know either can be a great experience.
It doesn't make sense to most people even if they haven't driven a lot of boats.
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