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Old 08-11-2016, 11:48 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
If you want custom...build or commission a boat...don't expect the rest of us to suffer "inferior" boats built for extremes.

Or make what you have into what you want.
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Old 08-12-2016, 12:56 AM   #142
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You need good vision from both helms, regardless. Back to the entire safety thing, it's another part. That was a huge negative to us on one boat. The current model Hatteras 60'. They offered a lower helm but never built one that I'm aware of. There was a good space for it, except the windshield is very slanted there. Sitting at that position in a boat without the lower helm it was easy to tell it wouldn't be great.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:59 AM   #143
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The best reason for a inside steering station is snow and ice clearing gear is easy to install

Hard to deice a plastic window.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:10 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by hmason View Post
When I was a sailor we always believed that you reefed the main when you first wondered if you should reef the main. We do the same with the fly bridge; we go to the lower station when we first wonder if we should go to the lower station.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:54 AM   #145
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Very interesting discussion, it may be awhile before I have my boat built. But I'm of the opinion at this point that it's highly unlikely I'll want a flying bridge.
Now bear in mind, my boat will not be over 50', unless of course I win the lottery.
I see that area as a place to store the dingy and other toys and maybe a place to hang out while on the hook. I view the flying bridge as a "want" and the lower helm as a "necessity". My mind could be changed and will a hundred times before I get to the point of having to make a decision....but thx for the very good input!
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:00 AM   #146
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Remember you can have a fly bridge and not use it. You can't only have a lower helm and use a fly bridge. Kind of a non-reversible decision. So, be sure before you make your final decision as to what will be right for you. Good Luck, Howard
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:23 AM   #147
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Boats aren't just "survival tools"...


They are compromises designed to be enjoyed.


If every vessel had to meet the stadards of ultimate survivability...they would not get bought by most.


Thus most aren't built that way.


If you want custom...build or commission a boat...don't expect the rest of us to suffer "inferior" boats built for extremes.

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Or make what you have into what you want.
Bob .... To modify things to suit your needs, wants or creative thinking. Or to think about something in a new way just as an exercise. An exercise being fun w the possibliity of thinking up something useful or an alternative to the status quo. Whatever that may be. Perhaps a mental adventure that has threads never traveled before.

The Uniflite office event was basically a joke. An interesting and divergent side trip to the confined and boring building of boats ... that the masses want. The boats psneeld mentioned, the ones that will sell to the average person for the average usage. So we indulged in a different idea for part of our lunch hour. It was a good group of guys that liked to toss stuff our and run around w it for a bit. We talked about everything from hang gliders to ice cream in that room.
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:34 AM   #148
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Rolling will feel less severe down lower.

Visibility however is usually much improved on a FB and with full enclosure with many opening windows you can have as much protection from the elements as you want.

In my experience in busy FL waterways the visibility up top was preferred in nice weather and important in bad. I really dont like the restricted vision of overtaking boats at the lower helm. I ran both then bought a boat with only a FB. Never regretted it.

If I were planning mostly open ocean passages the lower helm would probably be preferred with frequent looks outside.
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:24 AM   #149
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Folk pro flybridges make quite thing about that, but I'm with Eric here, and I have a flybridge. However, I have no trouble at all seeing pot floats from the lower help, and that's even with a roll-bar anchor out front. It's just not an issue. At my lower helm one his looking out well to the right of the centre of the bow.

I am glad you mentioned this Peter. I have been thinking the same. In season, I am always having to dodge crab pots. In high current areas, I have seen the floats completely submerged at times. I don't seem to have a problem seeing them. But then I didn't have a problem seeing them from the cockpit of my sailboat either. If sailors can spot crab pots, deadheads debri etc from the very back of a boat, a foot above the water, looking through sails, rigging, and a dodger, why can't power boaters see them from the forward 1/3 of their boat, 4' above the water, looking through a solid window? I suppose it is just the speed they are traveling?
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:28 PM   #150
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If sailors can spot crab pots, deadheads debri etc from the very back of a boat, a foot above the water, looking through sails, rigging, and a dodger, why can't power boaters see them from the forward 1/3 of their boat, 4' above the water, looking through a solid window? I suppose it is just the speed they are traveling?
Good point. Sort of like running at night. It forces you to focus just on what's ahead, and ignore everything that doesn't pose an immediate risk.

I've seen lots of people dodge lobster buoys and other debris that's NOT directly in their path. Sometimes being able to see everything is not an advantage.

The things that you actually have to turn the wheel to avoid are rare. So, sure, you can get away with having very limited visibility. Especially if you go slow.

But it's also true that I can see MUCH better from higher up. We get submerged lobster buoys here sometimes. There are many times you simply can't see something like that unless you're looking down on it. Other times, you can. It depends on the conditions.

A well-designed lower helm (or sailboat cockpit) is certainly sufficient. In many cases, it's preferable. But on my boat, there are too many good reasons to avoid the lower helm and run the boat from the FB.

You have to factor in the boat's design, where and when you do your boating, and your own personal preferences.
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:50 AM   #151
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But then I didn't have a problem seeing them from the cockpit of my sailboat either. If sailors can spot crab pots, deadheads debri etc from the very back of a boat, a foot above the water, looking through sails, rigging, and a dodger, why can't power boaters see them from the forward 1/3 of their boat, 4' above the water, looking through a solid window? I suppose it is just the speed they are traveling?

Partly speed restricts reaction time, but also partly because up on plane, the bow rises enough so I can't see anything close to the bow of the boat. I'm not short, but if I were two feet taller, that might not have been so bad

I think mostly the protected prop on sailboats (keel, etc.) helps manage the situation, too. Unprotected props on a twin-screw planing hull are at mostly always risk. And I can tell you the boat will stop RIGHT NOW (as will the engine, in some case, apparently) if an unseen crab pot warp wraps itself around a prop shaft.

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Old 08-13-2016, 07:22 AM   #152
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2 things....

And I have a lot of running time on fly bridges, pilot houses and lower helms of hundreds of different make boats.

All bets are off at night. It is the rare vessel that you can see well enough straight ahead through anything but air at night and miss floating pots. If I had to run at night through a pot area, didn't need radar, and the weather allowed...I would be insane not to run from the fly bridge. One requirement for my boat was an opening door or large window next to the helm to stick my head out...because no matter how dark, seeing through glass at night just is a hinderance. So I do have a reasonable backup. One advantage that I have is I still have 20/20 with exceptional night vision....for many...night really is an issue without electronic assistance.

Now of course, most of the time I know that I will not see the pot marker I hit anyway, so I really don't give a rat's rear end running at night, experience has told me that I will wind up hitting something sooner or later, staring ahead into the dark may reduce my chances, but I am not sure it is all that much.

I just cut off a section of crab pot line from my prop this week. Was on there from the Albemarle sound back in May. Fortunately they don't affect my vessel. But it was very choppy that day and a struggle to just stay at the wheel. I missed seeing quite a few and ran over them, only caught the one though. I was driving from the lower helm that usually has great visability, but that day the fly bridge might have held the edge due to a better vantage point looking down into the chop.

So all this discussion about seeing or hitting pots to me just suggests that a lot of people either run in perfect conditions or run in areas of few pots (definitely not the Chesapeake or Maine)....or more realistically, there are many pits that they run over or by and just never saw or snagged them.

Often it's the semi ghost pot where the pot has drug to the point where the float is under water either from depth, current or a combination. Those can get you no matter where you sit.

Often widow makers are the same, only luck is really why you see them, hence the nickname.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:25 AM   #153
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Partly speed restricts reaction time, but also partly because up on plane, the bow rises enough so I can't see anything close to the bow of the boat. I'm not short, but if I were two feet taller, that might not have been so bad. -Chris
Now that is I think one really relevant point in this visibility issue. At displacement speeds our bow is not angled up, so visibility from lower helm no real issue. On the semi-plane - different story, and I can definitely understand the semi-planers preferring to pilot from up top. Not only that, at those speeds the ride is sort of smoothed out, so they don't roll around and magnify the movement up there anything like as much as happens when a displacement hull is rocked and rolled by wakes or a seaway when you are up top.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:30 AM   #154
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Very interesting discussion, it may be awhile before I have my boat built. But I'm of the opinion at this point that it's highly unlikely I'll want a flying bridge.
Now bear in mind, my boat will not be over 50', unless of course I win the lottery.
I see that area as a place to store the dingy and other toys and maybe a place to hang out while on the hook. I view the flying bridge as a "want" and the lower helm as a "necessity". My mind could be changed and will a hundred times before I get to the point of having to make a decision....but thx for the very good input!
Don't forget also the area can be valuable as a place for solar panels, safely out of the way if you don't tread up there, and a not insignificant point if one likes or needs, (like me), to be able to use as much renewable energy for power requirements as possible, and avoid generators etc. I have two panels up there in a relatively out of the way place, but could fit many more if there was no flybridge, which I would willingly part with if it was a simple thing to remove.

See also comments re the flybridge being much more relevant for good visibility if a planing/semi-planing type of vessel, where the bow rises. Nowhere near as important in a displacement vessel.
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Old 08-13-2016, 12:05 PM   #155
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Now that is I think one really relevant point in this visibility issue. At displacement speeds our bow is not angled up, so visibility from lower helm no real issue. On the semi-plane - different story, and I can definitely understand the semi-planers preferring to pilot from up top. Not only that, at those speeds the ride is sort of smoothed out, so they don't roll around and magnify the movement up there anything like as much as happens when a displacement hull is rocked and rolled by wakes or a seaway when you are up top.
I consider bow rise another safety issue in selection of boat for semi-planing or planing boats. It's a matter of both how much and how long. Time to plane and planing speed are important for planing boats. There are some boats that anything between 10 knots and 20 or even 25 knots is a very uncomfortable running angle to me.
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Old 08-13-2016, 01:10 PM   #156
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In many cases sailors don't spot pots and debris but that nice deep keel makes it less of an issue, though not always. I've had a few sailors follow us through the shifting shallows of the cays and keys, the view from the bridge being excellent for that.
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:43 PM   #157
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Here in Alaska we wonder "Why other than weather have an upper helm?" Lower windage, lower center of gravity, less roll and the weather is almost never good enough to want to be out in it... I guess it's what your weather is wherever you are located :-)

Though I liked Menzies response also
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:57 PM   #158
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Typical summer morning in the PNW

I actually used the FB that morning for the visibility leaving a tight marina in the dark. I was very happy to drive the boat from inside the PH after that however.
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Old 08-13-2016, 03:06 PM   #159
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A great example of a nice, well designed bridge and lower station.

Today, 90 degrees, 100 percent humidity....

Inside without a/c on and unable to get the breeze and with the sun shining through the forward windows....miserable. Flying bridge...very nice (just bimini, no sides).

But yet in December when I head south....it's rare that I am on the flying bridge, even when nice enough. Just habit, but every now and then, conditions warrant me driving from the top, so I do.

It really isn't a good and better topic as which works best for you on YOUR boat...some have crappy helm designs...... up, down or both.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:51 PM   #160
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I think everyone has a different set of circumstances depending on their climate, age, sea state, hull type, and boat size, and how they use there boat, so the decision of FB or not will never be universal.

IMHO, a flybridge would be a big plus on a twin engined planing boat when cruising at bow-up speeds. Also boats with a rear trunk cabin that impede 360 degree vision.

On a single screw displacement boat with good vision from the lower helm, the slightly better vision is less of a plus. The big negative is the extra windage. It certainly would make docking more of a challenge with a single screw, thruster-less boat on windy days. They also tend to foul the mainsail.
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