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Old 05-16-2014, 10:56 AM   #1
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Lower Helm Station

At the risk of starting another controversy, I'll ask anyway. After owning 19 boats in the last 64 years, all with a single helm, is a lower helm station on a motor yacht just a waste of space and money? I just know I'm going to be sorry for asking this...............
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:59 AM   #2
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We love operating from the upper helm but when the weather and seas decide to get ugly the lower helm is the saving grace for the trip.
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:11 AM   #3
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I run from the flybridge 99.9% of the time, even in inclement weather as I have an enclosure.
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:15 AM   #4
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It depends.

Our previous boat had both helms, and I ran the boat virtually all the time from the upper station, come rain or shine. Much better visibility and overall situational awareness. Plus it was just nicer up there.

The downside was that often I was the only one up there as the rest of the crew would retire below to get out of the rain or shine.

(Our current boat has a pilothouse only and the crew still avoids me...)
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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We love our flybridge, but the PH is a real asset in non favorable conditions.Click image for larger version

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Old 05-16-2014, 11:28 AM   #6
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I spend far more time driving from the pilothouse than I do from the flybridge. That is probably due to our often wet & rainy weather and lots of winter cruising, but for me the flybridge is primarily only used when docking/undocking or on those rare calm and sunny days in the PNW.

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Old 05-16-2014, 11:29 AM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. B. "...is a lower helm station on a motor yacht just a waste of space and money?"



Hmmmmm......
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:14 PM   #8
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different folks different strokes. I personally see a high fly bridge as a waste and poor design element meant to make up for the deficiencies of a poor pilot house helm location. My idea of a pilot helm location includes good 360 visibility in a well sheltered location as low in the boat as practical. There is also the modern mobile remote control which allows for control from any location including the dock,so why have duplicate helms. I also have a problem with 40 and 50 ft boats with high free board topped off with a deck house and then a covered fly bridge, it just does not look right to me. Obviously from the number of boats filling the above description I am part of a small minority.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:35 PM   #9
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Long distance day after day cruising we spent mostly at the lower helm. Day trips usually the upper. Docking is easier from above but line handling single handed is easier at deck level.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:48 PM   #10
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No need for a flying bridge here.

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Old 05-16-2014, 02:47 PM   #11
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I very much prefer the improved visibility from the flying bridge.

On an earlier boat, our Mainship III, we had a lower station... and I liked having that, too. Didn't use it often, but when I wanted it I usually needed it.

We have a better bridge enclosure now than on that earlier boat, I'd prefer also having a lower station now... but it is what it is.

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Old 05-16-2014, 03:09 PM   #12
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We use the flybridge maybe 25% of the time. I just like being outside. The view from the flybridge is great. We use the boat all year long so we spend a fair amount of time at the lower helm also. And of course the PNW weather helps to keep us inside a fair percentage of the time. Longer trips, we are usually downstairs - at least most of the time. That's where the food is.
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:15 PM   #13
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Lower helm is great on very cold or very hot days. Fire up the genny and relax in a heated or cooled salon while you are piloting. Also better in rough water, don't get thrown around as much when you are lower in the boat.

That being said, we do use the flybridge helm station most of the time.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:43 PM   #14
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Without a lower helm station, the tendency is for owners to enclose the flybridge with canvas. And that helps destroy sightlines for every other boater in a marina who might wish to enjoy unobstructed views of the great out of doors from their own flybridge. Biminis are fine, but the dreaded canvas canyon is something else.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidgear View Post
Without a lower helm station, the tendency is for owners to enclose the flybridge with canvas. And that helps destroy sightlines for every other boater in a marina who might wish to enjoy unobstructed views of the great out of doors from their own flybridge. Biminis are fine, but the dreaded canvas canyon is something else.
From the number of enclosures I see, I think those wishing to enjoy the "sightlines" would be in the minority.
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:16 PM   #16
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For year around cruising, non-enclosed FB and a lower helm with great all around visibility and ergonomics are ideal. My boat came with a full enclosure for the FB which neither I or the immediate PO ever use in a total of 10 years. The lower helm was so nice in inclement weather, why bother? Cold or rain or heat never kept us from boating.

Outdoor-oriented living space on a boat is important to us; loved our FB as both a helm and as a place to relax and entertain. Single handling from the lower helm on the Hatt is a piece of cake. Only excuse for not boating was rough seas. We are pleasure boaters, in that order!
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:25 PM   #17
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From the number of enclosures I see, I think those wishing to enjoy the "sightlines" would be in the minority.
Doesn't change that fact that canvas (much of it ratty) clutters up a shared space. We have a full set for flybridge and sundeck and I never put it up.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
No need for a flying bridge here.


I'm in your camp Mark. Is an upper helm area really necessary?
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:29 PM   #19
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I'm in your camp Mark. Is an upper helm area really necessary?
Not with five opening windows and two doors in the pilothouse. Not after having exposure spending years in an open cockpit during sailing days. Not with immediate access to deck for handling docking lines (allowing self-embarking and disembarking). Not needing additional windage.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:41 PM   #20
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Greetings,
Mr. B. "At the risk of starting..." Too late...

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