Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-28-2010, 11:46 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Budds Outlet's Avatar
 
City: South Puget Sound, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 360
Upper vs Lower Helm

Most trawlers and trawler stye boats that we are looking at have an upper and lower helm.* I've seen comments on this board that some of you don't use the upper helm.

What is the rationale*for*the*preference*for the upper or lower helm?
__________________
Advertisement

Budds Outlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 11:56 AM   #2
Enigma
 
RT Firefly's Avatar
 
City: Slicker?
Country: Bumpkin?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 9,995
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Hiya,
** Mr. Budd.* When the weather is tolerable the upper helm gives a better view of what's around (great for spotting floatsom and jetsom ahead-read crab pots etc. and aproaching boats from behind) but increases the time necessary to reach the main deck if fast action at deck level is needed.* Use of the upper helm also distances yourself from engine sounds and smells which may,*changes in which, preclude*a problem.* Use of upper helm also separates you from company if there's not eneough room for everybody to fit "up top".
** Also better helm seating at my upper helm.* Easier on the old back and no room at lower level for a seat.
** That being said, when it's cold/raining or snowing, the lower station is the place to be with the heat on and a hot chocolate on the dash.
***Just a few of MY reasons.* I expect others have their own favorite position.
__________________

RT Firefly is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 11:58 AM   #3
Guru
 
timjet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,905
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

This topic has been well discussed here several times. Preference for upper or lower helm mostly dependes on your locale.
timjet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 12:42 PM   #4
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Upper vs Lower Helm

Neither my wife nor I like the sight picture from driving from the flying bridge. We both feel too "removed" from the boat. I find I can much better judge the boat's exact position in close-in maneuvering and docking from the lower helm. The lower helm in older GBs is almost on the centerline of the boat so we find it as easy to judge our distance from the port side as the starboard side. On later GBs they moved the helm more to starboard.

I also want to be able to hear, feel, and smell what's going on in the engine room and the electronics and electrical panels. I'm of the school that gauges and alarms are there to tell you that the component they are monitoring has just failed. Sort of like how a radio is in a circuit to fail first and thus protect the fuse I can't monitor the engines the way I want to from up above.

We averted an electrical fire in an old radio component in our boat because we were at the lower helm. We smelled that "hot electric" smell and my wife tracked it down to the loud-hailer, which was on and working, but unbeknown to us was so hot inside it was rapidly melting the case and starting to scorch the wood next to it. Had we been up top, we never would have known this was happening.

The flying bridge has a great view--- it's only advantage in our opinion with regards to running the boat itself is that in our waters it gives you a better picture of all the crap in the water around you and so makes it easier to avoid it. But other than sightseeing we have no use for the flying bridge at all.

Finally, we do ninety percent of our boating with just the two of us on board. If the person on deck handling lines or whatever needs a hand in a hurry, getting down from the flying bridge can take too long. From the lower helm it's just a matter of stepping out the door beside us.

But this is just us. We know powerboaters who cannot maneuver their boat effectively at all from down below. They have to be as high as possible so they can look down on the boat and judge its position from above, and they will go up and dock from the upper helm even in a driving rainstorm in winter.

The absolute best boat configuration in our opinions is a pilothouse with a full walkaround deck. Fleming, Krogen, deFever, etc. A pilothouse with good visibility all round. This gives you the advantage of additional height but you are still inside where you can hear, feel, and smell what's going on with the boat's systems, and on a properly designed one you have immediate access to the main deck.

Bottom line is that up top or down below, there is no right or wrong answer, only what works best for you.



-- Edited by Marin on Sunday 28th of November 2010 01:46:11 PM
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 01:15 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Budds Outlet's Avatar
 
City: South Puget Sound, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 360
Upper vs Lower Helm

Thanks Tim, I just did a search and see there are several threads with this discussion.

It was Marin's comment on another thread that focused my attention on this question. Thanks for the explanation of your preference Marin. Both you and RTF seem to prefer the ready access to the main deck and proximaty to the engine(s).

It seems to me that the pilothouse concept addresses the proximity issues while providing great visibility. As I will be moving up from a 29 foot express cruiser visibility and proximity are not an issue on our current boat. However, the boats designer worked overtime to make it as difficult as possible to get from the helm to the dock for the size of boat.

-- Edited by Budds Outlet on Sunday 28th of November 2010 03:10:09 PM
Budds Outlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 02:00 PM   #6
Doc
Guru
 
Doc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 508
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

I vote pilothouse. That's why I bought the boat.
Doc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 02:04 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Bendit's Avatar
 
City: Auckland
Country: New Zealand
Vessel Name: Pioneer
Vessel Model: Westcoaster 53 converted to pleasure
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 283
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

The pilot house is perfect - it's in the middle.
Bendit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 02:13 PM   #8
Master and Commander
 
markpierce's Avatar
 
City: Vallejo CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Carquinez Coot
Vessel Model: 2011 Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,254
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Quote:
Marin wrote:

The absolute best boat configuration in our opinions is a pilothouse with a full walkaround deck. Fleming, Krogen, deFever, etc. A pilothouse with good visibility all round. This gives you the advantage of additional height but you are still inside where you can hear, feel, and smell what's going on with the boat's systems, and on a properly designed one you have immediate access to the main deck.

That's my choice too.




*
markpierce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 02:23 PM   #9
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,848
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Quote:
Bendit wrote:

The pilot house is perfect - it's in the middle.
I can go along with that, but in warmer climates a bridge can be very nice.* They are great for "eyeball" navigation in the Bahamas and dodging trap floats.* I need to limit UV exposure and be available to help on deck.* Our Sabre is set up like a nice pilot house with nav station to port and wheel to starboard.* Heat and a/c when needed is nice.* Open up in nice weather.* Best of both worlds.* A pilot house can give you great head room in the engine room.* All in all a good compromise.

*
Moonstruck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 02:44 PM   #10
Guru
 
Codger2's Avatar
 
City: San Diego
Country: US
Vessel Name: "Sandpiper"
Vessel Model: 2006 42' Ocean Alexander Sedan
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 5,420
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Quote:
Moonstruck wrote:..... but in warmer climates a bridge can be very nice.* They are great for "eyeball" navigation.....* nav station to port and wheel to starboard.* Open up in nice weather.* Best of both worlds.
That pretty much sums it up for me.

*
Codger2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 03:50 PM   #11
Guru
 
Steve's Avatar
 
City: Thibodaux, Louisiana
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Gumbo
Vessel Model: 2003 Monk 36
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,605
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

I use the flying bridge most of the time, I like the visibility from there better especially when docking. If it gets cold I'll go below. When it is rough the motion is greater up top so I'll usually head down then too. We have the same Nav.electronics (and music) and comfortable seating at both stations so that is not a factor.
Steve W
Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 05:42 PM   #12
Guru
 
Woodsong's Avatar
 
City: Atlanta
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Bayliner 4550 Pilothouse
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,630
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

So far I really like the lower helm. The upper helm is great for docking has great visibility- my lower helm visibility aft is somewhat limited- bridge lets me see everything great. But you can't beat a good flybridge helm on a nice sunny/warm day! I like having both (our Monk 36 is the first boat we've had with 2 helms) and it's great to have the option to go which ever you feel like.
Woodsong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 05:48 PM   #13
Guru
 
C lectric's Avatar
 
City: Somewhere
Country: , Canada
Vessel Name: Island Pride
Vessel Model: Palmer sedan 32'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,864
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

We also have both an inside steering station and flying bridge. We seldom use the bridge except in really nice weather for a short time. It's a sedan, 32'.
.
We have excellent visibility from below, it's warm in cold , foul weather and we do a big chunk of our travel in cold, wet stuff, well we used to a lot more. The can (er. head) is close. My wife also has a forward facing seat opposite me that she can really see out of and help navigate.

Many boats do not have a good inside station at all, while traveling, or provision for other than the steerer to see out and forward so the brige is a forced use.

I decided we could outfit one station well with nav. aids but our budget won't allow duplications other than a basic vhf and sounder up top.

Also I agree with Marin about hearing and smelling, monitoring, the boat operation.

The one time I do prefer the bridge is in really close quarter manuovering. I can see both ends and sides of my boat with a quick turn. With a single screw I find it does help for that.

No doubt about the bridge being a better place to look for floating stuff, particularily for faster boats, but in reality , at our 7-8 knots we still see the logs, drift and other fellow water folk in plenty of time, as long as I pay attention.

Just a matter of choice.
C lectric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 06:54 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Budds Outlet's Avatar
 
City: South Puget Sound, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 360
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

In many boats the lower helm is set abaft a galley/dinette down. There is no seating for a second person at helm level. In these situations do you supply a second helm seat for person assisting the helmsperson?
Budds Outlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 07:30 PM   #15
Guru
 
Woodsong's Avatar
 
City: Atlanta
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Bayliner 4550 Pilothouse
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,630
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Budd- that is a good point about lack of seating for a 2nd person! I have been pondering it as we are soon doing a 3-4 day trip down the river. My trawler has a great little lower helm with a dedicated/mounted seat for the captain but the dinette is pretty much only other option for sitting in the salon. I have been toying with whether a 2nd captains chair could be mounted at the dinette L-shaped bench seat...take up the cushions, have a mount in the wooden bench, and take it all down to be stored under the same dinette bench seat. I think it would work but will have to do some more measuring.
The other thing to possibly consider, and maybe others can chime in here, but I like the helm to be pretty close to the salon glass to improve visibility. For boats that have a lower helm set about 8-10' behind the actual cabin glass (such as those with a galley down that is forward of the lower helm, thus forcing lower helm back away from the forward glass), I don't see how they can see a thing at night or low light conditions. Mine is within a couple of feet of the glass- just enough room for controls/laptop GPS.
Woodsong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 07:51 PM   #16
Guru
 
City: North Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,390
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

We use the upper helm almost exclusively. Only in cold weather or rain is the lower helm used.
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 08:18 PM   #17
Master and Commander
 
markpierce's Avatar
 
City: Vallejo CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Carquinez Coot
Vessel Model: 2011 Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,254
Upper vs Lower Helm

Quote:
Woodsong wrote:




Budd- that is a good point about lack of seating for a 2nd person! ...


*
Thank you for the comfortable feeling I get because of the*continual*confirmation of*my decision*to purchase the Coot: it having*bench seats in the pilothouse, port and starboard side, each with space for two people.



*


-- Edited by markpierce on Sunday 28th of November 2010 09:18:52 PM
markpierce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 08:18 PM   #18
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Quote:
Budds Outlet wrote:

In many boats the lower helm is set abaft a galley/dinette down. There is no seating for a second person at helm level.
In older GBs (and many newer ones) there is no helm seat at the lower helm.* You either stand or you use a helm seat of your own choosing.* We use a high bar chair with a swivel seat.* The legs are wide enough apart to provide a good degree of stability although when it gets really rough the helmsperson stands.* GB installed a stout overhead grab rail on the centerline of the main cabin overhead on all its models and this makes a very handy place to hold onto for stability.* Our boat also has grab rails on either side of the cabin door on the inside.* If both of us want to be at the helm position to watch for debris in the water we have an oak stool with a swivel seat that we can put next to the helm seat for the second person.

Some GBs with the helm position clear over near the starboard side have a fold-down helm seat that is built into a cabinet just forward of the L-settee.* Some owners of larger GBs have installed a purpose built helm seat at the lower station, including the fancy hydraulic type.* But there really isn't room on a GB36 for this.* We've found our bar chair to be ideally suited for use as a helm seat.* There are people on the GB owners forum who have adapted an adjustable draftsman's chair for the same purpose.

While there are disadvantages in not having a permanently installed helm seat down below, the advantage is that you can use whatever type of stool or chair that provides you wth the best comfort, view, etc. as opposed to a one-size-fits-all factory seat.

*
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 08:40 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Budds Outlet's Avatar
 
City: South Puget Sound, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 360
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Quote:
markpierce wrote:



*it having*bench seats in the pilothouse, port and starboard side, each with space for two people.

Our current boat has a starboard*bench*helm seat that fits three people easily.* Still, the Admiral elects to stand in the port companionway*when on watch.* This practice led to some chronic leg pain due to some pounding we took on our last cruise.

I am pretty committed to having a second seat with good visibility at the lower helm in our next boat so the Admiral does not stand while watching for logs.

*
Budds Outlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 08:43 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Budds Outlet's Avatar
 
City: South Puget Sound, WA
Country: USA
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 360
RE: Upper vs Lower Helm

Quote:
Marin wrote:

We use a high bar chair with a swivel seat.* The legs are wide enough apart to provide a good degree of stability although when it gets really rough the helmsperson stands.**

If both of us want to be at the helm position to watch for debris in the water we have an oak stool with a swivel seat that we can put next to the helm seat for the second person.

, the advantage is that you can use whatever type of stool or chair that provides you wth the best comfort, view, etc. as opposed to a one-size-fits-all factory seat.


I like the idea of selecting my own chairs.* I've seen some really expensive helmsman chairs but I don't think I wnat to go in that direction.

*
__________________

Budds Outlet is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
34 LRC Lower helm visibility at cruise?? Fighterpilot Californian 6 04-18-2011 10:13 AM
Adding a captain's chair to lower helm - ideas? 7tiger7 General Discussion 34 03-29-2011 09:20 AM
Do you really need a lower helm? ce_smith General Discussion 69 02-03-2011 03:27 AM
RainX on Lower Helm glass? Woodsong General Discussion 29 11-27-2010 10:42 AM
best lower helm electronics? Woodsong Electrical and Electronics & Navigation 36 09-08-2010 11:32 AM




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:04 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012