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Old 10-07-2011, 04:12 AM   #1
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Dual helms seem to be very popular now on newer boats, even so called offshore boats. Is there really any advantage to these or are they more of a problem in terms of maintaince and loss of of cockpit space? I really can't see any advantage to two wheels for long distance cruising.

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Old 10-07-2011, 07:50 AM   #2
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I too do not see any advantage for a cruising boat having dual helm wheels. They occupy more precious cockpit space.

For a racing yachts there are advantages as the crew shifts sides for weight control. I suppose their use is dictated by marketing considerations giving a new boat the "racing look."
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Istioploos View Post

I too do not see any advantage for a cruising boat having dual helm wheels. They occupy more precious cockpit space.

For a racing yachts there are advantages as the crew shifts sides for weight control. I suppose their use is dictated by marketing considerations giving a new boat the "racing look."
Spot on, racing in close match racing or round the cans make it very difficult for the coxswain at the helm to see other boats through the sails - hence the twin helms.

As for offshore cruising sailboats - if fitted with twin helms - doubt that either would be in use, that's why most boats on passage will be keeping course using Auto pilot or wind vane.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:56 PM   #4
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Cruising boats have a small enough cockpit (doesn't hold too much water if a big wave comes) that dual helms wouldn't make sense. Seems like those ocean racing boats have pretty unprotected helms and the water runs out the back easily. Most cruising boats aren't set up that way.
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:03 AM   #5
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Most cruisers are using an autopilot or wind steer system--they're not at the helm at all anyway.
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:37 PM   #6
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...but the boatyards sell Cruisingyachts with two helms ( klick ) . (these are examples of the most successfull buatbuilder in Germany, maybe in Europe)

Istioploos is right: Some standards set by designing racing boat are picked up by the cruising boat designers. It looks cooler, faster, more sophisticated to cruise on a boat that looks like a racing boat - to some it's a matter of lifestyle to cruise with two helms. Cruise here means doing (non compedetive) daysails, but returning to the marina before the sun sets.

And there is a progression in a Cruiser's racing boat appeareance ( klick ) : Open cockpit and look at these sails!!!

But these boats rarely sail over night, do long passages or cross oceans.

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Old 06-29-2014, 10:58 PM   #7
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Others have mentioned a few of the reasons for dual helms on recent boats.

They evolved as race boats became larger and wider in the cockpit area. The helmsman in a race wants to sit as far out as possible to see the sails shapes and to do that on a big wide boat required really big wheels, even to the point where some wheels were recessed into the deck because their diameter was so large. Using two smaller wheels solved the problem allowing the helmsman to be out near the rail but without having wheels that were so large the reached the keel! Though some do appear to do so.

On a cruising boat, dual wheels (both in the cockpit as seen in racer-cruiser production boats) do no harm, but are no great need either.

On the other hand, I feel a dual steering station with one protected by pilot house or dog house is beneficial and something I would prefer on my yacht for cruising.
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:03 PM   #8
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I'm not a fan myself but two wheels allows an opening down the centre of the cockpit which is handy when coming aboard from the passerelle. You don't have to walk around a single, centre wheel.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for making me smile

If you're only cruising in the Med or another location where a passerelle/quay boarding from the stern is useful? And you primarily use marinas rather than anchor. Seems a narrow set of circumstances for the rest of the world.

We do have a passerelle but have never used it as such in 5 years of sailing the boat. We anchor, anchor, anchor, and if we happen to be at a float/dock/quay we've been side-tied to the dock.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:38 PM   #10
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Hey, it's the only good reason I can think of for dual helms!
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:18 PM   #11
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Thanks for grasping at straws--I guess someone has to do it
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:00 AM   #12
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If I didn't enjoy my time at the helm so much, I would scrap the wheel in favour of a tiller. Less mechanical things to fail, more room in the cockpit when at anchor...and a beautiful laminated wooden doo-dad to look at rather than a stainless hoop.

Two wheels may be of use on a big, wide racing sled; but otherwise..........

I guess two small wheels on either side of a cockpit on a racing boat are better than the old fashioned ferris wheel in the middle.
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