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Old 12-01-2017, 09:53 AM   #41
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A side door becomes more important as the boat gets longer. On a small boat it only saves a few steps of going out the back. And if you have a partner to handle bow chores, it doesn't make a difference at all.

The point someone made about using the lower helm in rough seas is a good one. Rocking is a lot less severe at the lower helm than on the flybridge.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:56 AM   #42
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I single handed my current boat, a Cal 39, south from Portsmouth VA to Titusville FL in November a few years back. Froze my butt off! That's what makes me want an inside helm. Even in Florida it's not always warm.
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Old 12-01-2017, 09:59 AM   #43
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Been thinking about how I could install a heating​ system on a flybridge on whatever boat we buy.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:03 AM   #44
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We have been looking at a President 41 that we like most everything about except that it doesn't have a door beside the lower helm. I worry about how quickly I could get from either helm, out onto the aft deck and around the side up to the anchor in an emergency.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:07 AM   #45
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We're actually looking at a President 41 in Alabama. The only thing I don't like about it is that it has no side door.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:27 AM   #46
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I worry about how quickly I could get from either helm, out onto the aft deck and around the side up to the anchor in an emergency.
This is the main reason I have a lower helm with a side door. Trying to move quickly on a boat was a real safety concern for me.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:40 AM   #47
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We have a lower helm with a door. We use it when docking or departing in tricky situations. Typically tight docks or if wind and current are a strong factor. It makes it easy for me to step from the helm to the side deck right at the midship cleat in 1 step.

If looking for a side door at the lower helm, also consider whether it is a flush transition from helm to side-deck, or whether you need to step up. To me, the flush transfer with no stairs or mini-ladder is very important.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:00 AM   #48
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We have been looking at a President 41 that we like most everything about except that it doesn't have a door beside the lower helm. I worry about how quickly I could get from either helm, out onto the aft deck and around the side up to the anchor in an emergency.
Hi,

I think the side of the door can be partially replaced by a wireless remote-controlled bow and stern strusters, I mean you get the time to twist the rear door and can keep the boat attached to the berth, exaple single hand sail.


Maybe more invest and this system http://www.yachtcontroller.com/

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Old 12-01-2017, 11:24 AM   #49
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We currently have a 41í trawler that only has the flybridge helm. I bought it because I didnít want to give up the room in the salon.
I had the very same feeling about giving up salon space for a helm. Our Ocean Alex has a hard top and no down helm.(We have a dinette in what would be the helm location.) Our cruising region is Southern California so we have no real need for a cozy down helm. Since we carry the dinghy on the bow, visibility from an inside helm is poor at best and if I ever wanted a down helm I'd add a set of electronic controls for the few times I need control from the salon.(I would just have to run wire to add another station to the electronic controls the boat already has.)

So, what's my point? Buy a boat that's a good fit for the area that you cruise in! Hard top, fly bridge helm, side door, cockpit, entertaining in the slip, etc....fit the boat to your region & the design that you find you're drawn to.

We have had 9 different boats since 1995 and we finally got one that fits our cruising grounds & has the amenities that we desire & use the most.
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:51 AM   #50
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Past two boats (EC's) helm stations were not enclosed, and had isinglass. The biggest problem was fogging of the interior of the front windows due to condensation at night or early morning. I tried little 12V hot air blowers; didn't work. It was definitely a safety concern due to the reduced vis through the windshield. Looking forward to an enclosed wheelhouse. But I agree with the comments about selecting a boat that checks as many items as possible, and not to get too hung up on any one aspect. + and - 's.
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Old 12-01-2017, 12:24 PM   #51
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I vote for inside. That is where the A/C and heat and food and head are located.
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Old 12-01-2017, 12:54 PM   #52
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Wifey B: Today is an example of liking lower even when not in a cold climate or rain. Beautiful day on the west coast of FL. Seven of us aboard. We undocked at 7 AM, temperature 65 degrees. Lower helm and breakfast being prepared. We all ate, dishes to galley, and by then temperature out was into the 70's. Up we went. Bridge was all ready for a perfect day too. By having lower helm we didn't have the enclosure all closed. Windshield and top made it perfect. So, we'll spend the day up here. We seldom use the enclosure, only when in cold climates, not just for a couple of cold hours.

I remember looking at Hatteras 60. They did offer a lower helm option although on this specific model don't think they ever built one. Yet, the lower helm didn't lose them a single dining seat or any key space. It lost one little cabinet between the dining area and the salon, about 2' of cabinet space. That's it. They of course told you all about using the upper helm and the strataglass and even getting fully enclosed. Seemed to me a lot of effort that wouldn't be necessary to go through if you had a lower helm and I don't want a fully enclosed bridge.

Oh one other thing from looking at Hatteras when we did. Some builders who aren't big on lower helms, have lousy views through the windshields. Windshield slant or glare or other issues. Check the vision from the helm carefully.
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Old 12-01-2017, 01:11 PM   #53
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For long distance cruising (jumps of more than 8 hours) I strongly prefer a lower helm. Having made 30+ hour jumps it would have been difficult with just an upper helm.

On our Krogen we almost never use the upper helm. Use to use if for docking but now we a rear vision camera I dock from the pilot house.
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Old 12-01-2017, 01:37 PM   #54
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I would prefer 2 lower helms and no upper helm station. A cockpit helm (Slow hand has one) for docking and an inside for running. No interest in FB at all.
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Old 12-01-2017, 01:39 PM   #55
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Many vessels are without a lower helm. By choice in virtually all of today's sport fishing designs. Codger's vessel is a good example of a faster vessel in a benign climate doing fine without a lower helm.

And what really is a lower helm or a pilothouse? Lots of gray areas. That depends too on the boat size and looking out visibility. My favorite blue water vessel is an FPB. Is it a lower helm, pilothouse or upper helm design. Pick one and you'd be right.

So to the OP, pick a vessel that is in your budget range, you can easily see out of and is in really good shape. You'll figure out access after a docking or two and be quite happy.
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:02 PM   #56
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Lower helm was a must-have, love it when we canít be on the fly bridge.
Lower helm door is the way to go. Good ventilation and helps greatly with visibility as I can step out to see, when necessary. My vision isnít getting any better and the interior reflections donít help. There is even a large brow above the door (and nearly all of the starboard side) that has kept me reasonably dry in the rain.
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:23 PM   #57
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...

The door is handy, an opening window is half the battle. I have diven a lot of boats in the dark....few pilothouses have great visibility through the glass at night, so sticking your head out to get a better look is almost a safety issue in my book. It was a "must" in my search critera.
My pilothouse doors are "dutch" so I have the choice of window or door..
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:34 PM   #58
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My pilothouse doors are "dutch" so I have the choice of window or door..
Would be my choice too...
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:40 PM   #59
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Lower, enclosed helm is a must as well as side door adjacent to helm for instant, direct deck access. (Have both port and starboard pilothouse doors.) This was one of my "must haves" for reasons already described.


I agree with this after a hop from Massachusetts to Florida down the ICW. Can't imagine running down the ladder to assist with docking on deck and then back up to give it a forward or reverse push against a current.
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Old 12-01-2017, 03:22 PM   #60
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I will admit, IF I upgrade the electronics I will give serious consideration to remotes. I have heard of more than one or two remotes failing at the wrong moment, docking or coming into a tight cut or harbor.. I would not wish that on anyone.
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