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Old 08-08-2016, 12:34 PM   #1
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Other than weather, why have a lower helm?

I know the obvious answer is to be able to drive the boat in inclement weather. In Florida that could mean really hot and humid weather, too.

So please...besides weather-related benefits, why do you choose to have or not have a lower helm?
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:39 PM   #2
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I always dock from the lower helm so I can help my wife with lines etc. 95% of the time I run the boat from up top, except, as noted, in inclement weather..
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:46 PM   #3
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It's what I'm used to!
With side doors I"m closer to the dock level for line
handling from the deck. With some of the cross-dock
tidal currents we get here I won't even attempt to dock.

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Old 08-08-2016, 12:49 PM   #4
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I set up all my nav gear, stereo, laptop, etc on the lower helm. Completely out of the weather. Also I like to fish and tending to the lines is easy by just walking out the back door. My FB has nothing but a wheel, engine controls, and an AP repeater. I hate dealing with canvas... There is none on the boat!! I only use the FB for sightseeing, entertaining, etc. Probably 95% on LH, 5% on FB.

Personal preference thing. Whatever you like to do.
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Old 08-08-2016, 12:51 PM   #5
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As mentioned, much easier for docking.

I almost always cruised from the upper helm and almost always docked from the lower.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:03 PM   #6
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I can live with either, can live with neither, don't prefer one or the other, both have good points and bad....


Nice to have the choice.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:06 PM   #7
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I have a lower helm but use the upper helm 99.99999% of the time. I think in 6 years I've only driven from down below two times. All docking is done from the upper helm and even though I can't see my stern because of my aft bimini, if we're at a strange dock my wife calls out the distance I have left to back up.


At our home slip, I painted a small 3"x6" black rectangle on the dock that, when the boat is positioned correctly in the slip, it is directly alongside the helm. That's my guide to let me know when I'm far enough back.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:07 PM   #8
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In rough water, there is less motion at the lower helm, especially side to side.


We operate from the upper helm unless there's a good reason not to. I dock from the upper helm. I can see better. I take the bow line to the upper helm and I can toss it to a dockhand or my wife once she gets onto the dock and secures the stern line.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:38 PM   #9
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If you want a bit of nookie while underway on a busy waterway, the PH works well.
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Old 08-08-2016, 01:55 PM   #10
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On a 2 person boat, line handling and locking is easier from the lower helm.
At sea or large lakes, the lower helm is more secure.
In rain, the lower helm is dry and has wipers.
In cold, blustery weather the lower helm is calm and warm.
The lower helm has screens to keep the critters away.
You can make soup for lunch and eat it while driving from the lower helm.
The 'oxygen tent' necessary to make the upper helm 'all weather' creates more windage.

Still I wouldn't give up the upper helm for docking, cruising, socializing and bicycle storage.

Good to have both.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
If you want a bit of nookie while underway on a busy waterway, the PH works well.
Wifey B: The winning answer.

Other than weather, why have a lower helm?

Isn't that the equivalent of something like other than weather why have a roof on your house?

Ok, I'll answer though. Proximity to Galley. Ability for all to be near each other, salon, galley, helm. So, social reasons too.

Now, define "bit of nookie"? That could lead to a wreck. Not that I'd ever do it but I've heard of people doing it while driving a car.....
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:03 PM   #12
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I like a lower helm for all the above reasons, plus one more ... it puts me closer (on top of) my engines, so I can listen to them, smell them, "feel" them. Can't do that so well from up top.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:14 PM   #13
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Wifey B: We normally start early. Most days we're away from the dock by 7 AM and do breakfast after getting underway. After breakfast is when we'll move up to the bridge.

Also, weather wise, we can enclose and heat the bridge but then it's sort of like what's the purpose of it. We like it because of the openness. Plus about the time you get the full enclosure up, you're ready to take it down.

We almost always start the day at the lower helm and then move up.

Oh....one more reason. If you're naked you might prefer lower until you get offshore. Not that I'm saying anyone here would ever walk around naked.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:18 PM   #14
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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 :-)
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:22 PM   #15
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I too like the FB being wide open. When I do run up there, it is so nice and breezy.

Close it up with canvas, you lose all that. Of course you could open the canvas panels and screw around with that, which is a PITA.

Did I mention that I hate canvas enclosures??

I may take a little of that back and put a bimini on the FB, but that is mighty low on the list. A wide brim hat works just fine.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:35 PM   #16
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I too like the FB being wide open. When I do run up there, it is so nice and breezy.

Close it up with canvas, you lose all that. Of course you could open the canvas panels and screw around with that, which is a PITA.

Did I mention that I hate canvas enclosures??

I may take a little of that back and put a bimini on the FB, but that is mighty low on the list. A wide brim hat works just fine.
Wifey B: We like having a top, bimini or hard. We're very conscious of too much exposure to sun. But we love the wind in our hair, the ocean breezes, and just the freedom you feel on top. Oh, and in Alaska we spent a lot of time on the bridge. Better to see everything. Of course we were only there in the warmest months.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
too like the FB being wide open. When I do run up there, it is so nice and breezy.

Close it up with canvas, you lose all that
I get more breeze thru the enclosure when the front panels are open that I do with no canvas at all.
That said I run from the bridge 99.999999% of the time.
The lower helm is great for maintenance, winterizing, setting the anchor, that's about it.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:54 PM   #18
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Interesting thread...
We have a boat on order and would not have considered that model if it not available with a flybridge. We are also getting a Bimini (more like a T-top in its implementation) as my wife has had more than her share of sun in this life. Of course I can't do anything but guess exactly how we will use the FB but I'm sure it will see use! We were just talking about the virtues of enclosing the space this morning and decided that for now open is the better bet. If it is unpleasant out there is a fine pilothouse in the American Tug 395.
Can't wait!
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:59 PM   #19
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Different attitudes I guess. Bay Pelican has a pilot house which is fully equipped, convenient to the galley and the head. Most of our trips are four hours or more and the upper helm is inconvenient and definitely not as comfortable. Other than backing into a slip we never use the upper helm.
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Old 08-08-2016, 03:15 PM   #20
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Interesting thread...
We have a boat on order and would not have considered that model if it not available with a flybridge. We are also getting a Bimini (more like a T-top in its implementation) as my wife has had more than her share of sun in this life. Of course I can't do anything but guess exactly how we will use the FB but I'm sure it will see use! We were just talking about the virtues of enclosing the space this morning and decided that for now open is the better bet. If it is unpleasant out there is a fine pilothouse in the American Tug 395.
Can't wait!
Bruce
Wifey B: The thread is about using the helm. Regardless of how you do that you'll still have use for the flybridge, just as you will the salon. I think of the bridge like a huge patio with a view like from the roof. I like the extra space to roam around. Love sunsets from the bridge. Love to grill up there. I don't like cold though. You have to wear too many clothes in cold weather. So, in I go.
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