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Old 06-27-2015, 09:01 PM   #1
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Single-handed

A prime criteria in selecting a boat was immediate access to the boat's deck which is close to dock's level. Comment or disagreement? ... Left hand still on controls:

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Old 06-27-2015, 09:43 PM   #2
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Absolutely for single handling.
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:48 PM   #3
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Mark, I`m with you - our IG 36 has lower controls to sbd with a slider next to it. Sadly we are port side to in our pen - can`t win them all.

It got me thinking about why the helms (and access to the deck) are placed on one side or the other. Is there a nautical or design reason - in a channel passing port to port is a bit like driving on the right hand side of the road so why aren`t all US built/designed boats built with controls and access on the port side?
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:05 PM   #4
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Having the helm to starboard gives one a better view to the "danger zone" where other boats will expect you to avoid them. Also, for me, the starboard propeller "creep/propwalk" makes docking to starboard more convenient.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:21 PM   #5
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Wouldn't it be cool to have a small, all function remote control box that a guy could hold in the palm of his hand whilst positioned anywhere on the vessel! I'll bet such a device already exists somewhere.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:23 PM   #6
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When I was younger I would have strongly disagreed. As I single handed GBs up to 48' and other boats well over that from the flybridge all the time and very rarely from the lower helm. But now that I'm older and don't move quite as fast I agree.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:59 PM   #7
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You're absolutely correct. Being able to solo dock was one of the major non-negotiables when boat shopping. Seaweed has pilothouse doors on both port and starboard so docking (along side, I'm not good at slips/not enough experience) is a snap.

I did have to install adequately sized cleats. The ones outbound, aft of the doors are only suitable for a fender. Dinky little toy things (5") whereas the new ones are 8" and forward of the doorway.

Still, I'm amazed by how well some can handle their larger boats.
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Old 06-27-2015, 11:11 PM   #8
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I'd agree that is is certainly important, even though my boat does not have side access from the pilothouse. I have to do a quick scamper to the cockpit; and an even quicker scamper back to the helm if I miss the hookup with the spring line.

One item on my to do list is a second set of engine controls in the cockpit. I can then use my emergency tiller to bring her into the dock.
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Old 06-27-2015, 11:22 PM   #9
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I don't think the value is limited to single handing. I just personally like easy deck access. Now, is it absolutely essential? No, many get by without it. But to me not having easy access is a deal breaker.
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:04 AM   #10
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A pilothouse with doors on either side, and nice side decks are on my short list for sure. My current rig involves a bit of a squeeze past some seats and a short walk to get to the aft end or swim platform where I hook up my stern line first. It's not as convenient as it could be, but it keeps my approaches slow and forces me to get lined up really well.
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:58 AM   #11
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One of the main selling points to me of my Hatteras was a center lower helm with all-around visibility and full height sliding doors on each side. Coupled with walk around side decks and direct fast access to the stern through the salon, even klutzy, dyslexic me was able to single hand the beast , which I did on several occasions.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:25 AM   #12
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I did have to install adequately sized cleats. The ones outbound, aft of the doors are only suitable for a fender. Dinky little toy things (5") whereas the new ones are 8" and forward of the doorway.

12 or 15 inch only cost a bit more , and as needed multiple lines can be secured.

For loopers 12 or 15 is a great time saver in locks riding the wall float.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:27 AM   #13
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That was high on my list. Unfortunately boats are often compromises. A starboard stern docking station and an easily navigated interior does offset most of the lost exterior walkway.

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Old 06-28-2015, 07:40 AM   #14
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I would have to say the helm location (although some good points were brought up about age and agility) is secondary to preparations PRIOR to approaching the dock in the first place. It seems a crap shoot on docks you come to. Some have fenders permanently mounted, with dock lines attached. Others are bare wood, steel or rock face with barely a thing to tie too.

It doesn't matter where the helm is if you have to stop securing the vessel and hoist more fenders, and re position lines to more suitable cleats because of lousy dock appurtenances.

Also, paying attention to the current and wind PRIOR to approaching is more important than how quickly you can get a line out (on the wrong end of the boat)
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:55 AM   #15
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I would have to say the helm location (although some good points were brought up about age and agility) is secondary to preparations PRIOR to approaching the dock in the first place..........

Also, paying attention to the current and wind PRIOR to approaching is more important than how quickly you can get a line out (on the wrong end of the boat)
I am forced to practice the above, religiously. My only set of controls are on the fly bridge. (which is the only thing I don't like about my boat) Since they are electronic & If I decide to keep them, it's a simple matter of adding another set in the cockpit or the salon. (Just string some wire and add the controls.)
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:36 AM   #16
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I've been single handing my 40' Willard for years with no problem. What's more, my trawler is a wide body sedan with no side decks. When entering or leaving moorage I operate the boat from the flybridge. That said, I've fitted out my boat with an articulating rudder and 8 hp bow thruster that works off a remote control; I step off the boat, tie off the stern line and use the remote to keep the boat at the dock.
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:59 AM   #17
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Absolutely agree. I have four steps to come down and often wonder what would happen if I landed on my ass while making a descent.
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Old 06-28-2015, 11:05 AM   #18
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Mark...if you were single-handed, who took the photo?
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Old 06-28-2015, 11:09 AM   #19
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Mark...if you were single-handed, who took the photo?
He has a "selfie stick" that mounts in his burgee holder and has a small digital camera on it.
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Old 06-28-2015, 11:22 AM   #20
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Having operated boats with both port & starboard helms, I must disagree that watching the "danger-zone" is easier fron a starboard helm. To do this from a starboard helm requires a position akin to sitting in the corner. Also posts and pillars loom large looking past them from up close.
With a port helm watching the "danger-zone" is easier & more comfortable as you do not have to stare into the corner.
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