Lower helm Justified.

Not many power boat designs in the under 50 foot category offer both upper and lower helms. In the 1960's the first "convertible" was introduced to the market. These boats eliminated the lower helm and blacked out the lower windshield. As the story goes the heavy duty battle wagons that were running offshore at high speeds could not keep the glass in their windshields from breaking so the solution was to simply drop the lower helm and get rid of the glass. Today most boats of this style don't have a lower helm although Ocean Yachts has introduced the "Billfish" series where the lower helm has returned. I like it for a lot of reasons.

In reality most boaters don't want to be outside in cold weather and not as many care to take as much sun as we all once did. A good example of that is the image below. Here, our first 40 Sedan with fly Bridge is running from Bellingham Washington, down to Seattle for the January show. If a brave sole wanted to be on the bridge on that day they would not only be facing 50 degree temperatures but they would also be doing that into a 30 knot breeze. Not much fun.


But for Dean Ouilette, one of the principals of Bellingham Yacht Sales, this day was a breeze. Running at 24 knots into the head seas and wind he was comfortably perched in his Stidd Helm chair in the main salon making phone calls and enjoying the day.

I find that boats with lower helms go out more often and their crews ignore the weather and simply get on with enjoying their boats. I'll have a new Virtual tour of the fly bridge model on our web site later this week.

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2 Responses to Lower helm Justified.

  1. William says:

    Nice post. Bertram is also putting lower helm stations back on its sportfishers. It started with the 540 in 2008, which was followed by a 511 again in Lauderdale of last year, and now it also introduced a lower winshield option on the small 410. Will be intersting if to see some other sport fishers will follow. But seems so as now even a custom sportfish builder as Jarret Bay is putting a lower windshield and helm on a newly ordered 46.

  2. Last week I did a sea trial with the Sabre 40 sedan in the San Juans. I was with Motorboating Magazine. It is early in their season. At times we were on the bridge in glorious sunshine and at others the cold rain drove us inside to the lower helm. We were comfortable and dry no matter the weather.
    Love the second helm station.

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