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A comfortable seat for the helmsman

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What is the issue?
Many production boats do not have a cockpit seat for the Helmsman. A conspicuous example of this is in the Westerly Berwick 31 that is a renowned and stalwart cruising vessel. This forces the helmsman to either sit on either side of the cockpit depending on heal, or to stand for long periods.

Why address this?
Whilst running downwind or operating under power for extended periods, the most natural and comfortable position is to sit directly behind the wheel. Being forced to stand is tiring, hard on the body and a prime source of crew fatigue.

How to address this?
If your vessel suffers from the absence of a seating position behind the wheel, tailor a drop-in-place seat than can slot in when required as illustrated.

A drop in place helmsman's seat
Photo: Tony Gibson

The main restriction to a permanent seat in the helmsman's location is that it blocks access to an engine control lever or an instrument panel. However, a lift-out seat can easily be set aside when access is required and when not in use it can easily be stowed down below.

A drop in place helmsman's seat
Photo: Tony Gibson

An improved solution would be to design the seat so it can fulfil other roles aboard the vessel. The more roles any item can perform aboard the vessel the more worthwhile it is to have and the increased likelihood that it earns its storage space. A notable example would be to adapt the seat so it may be also double as a companionway watch seat Experience when the vessel is running under auto-helm.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.
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