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Discussion Starter #1
Browsing through the Fishermen's Supply catalogue (I like to work out my forearms in the winter), I can't help but notice the extreme range of prices on helm seats.

Bear with me: I need one for the pilothouse, not because I've gone over to the Dark Side...sorry...trawler side.

Anyway, these things seem to go from something appropriate to a space ship at over three grand to something that looks like a chair from a bowling alley or a trade school classroom for sixty bucks.

What I need is something compact with a low back that can slide forward on its mount to get closer to the wheel, and that can adjust up and down, and maybe has a footrest. I am a foot taller than my wife, and my kid won't likely be five feet tall when he starts his "tricks" at the wheel. So I need something that moves. Beyond that, it can be pretty basic as it won't be in the weather except for sideways sunshine and the usual humidity.

Any suggestions? Should I just buy an old barbershop chair and start sawing at it?
 

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Val,

on the weekend I just purchased a "flipup" seat as per the attached.

Springfield Marine Company - Manufacturer of Quality Boat Seats and Accessories

I'm also installing it in the pilothouse & I liked the idea of being able to flip the seat up and lean on it when I'm standing up. Also it attaches to a base that slides forward and back about 18-24 inches, so there's plenty of scope for moving it around.

One concern I had was sliding too much around in the seat when we are closehauled at a 10-15 degree angle. Therefore I was looking for a seat with padded sides that could hold you in place. This one seems to fit the bill.

I've gone for a fixed height, however they do sell a pedestal that can be adjusted up and down 20".

I'm installing this weekend and testing it out the following weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

Ilenart
 

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val
are you mounting on a tall pedistal? Lots of leverage there.
My old power boat had a 30" pedistal and it creaked like crazy.

I'm in a similar spot, the helm seat is too far from the wheel for comfortable operation long term. Haven't decided what to do either
 

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Getting lazy in your dotage I see... :)
 

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Hey Val. Probably the best seat at the best price is a Todd. They have different bases, pedestals, sliders, foot rests and a whole slew of actual seat designs. I think the Stidd seats are WAY!! to expensive. Same with the Pompanette seats. The Garelick and Attwood seats feel cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm installing this weekend and testing it out the following weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

Ilenart
Thanks, Ilenart. I'll look forward to your "field notes".

I have been puzzling on this for some time, actually. I thought at one point a sort of padded swing seat belayed by shock cord and hanging from track on the pilothouse roof would work (and could be stowed easily). I like the idea of simply leaning back while standing, which would be the choice for short hauls, but to actually sit while motoring through a congested area in the rain with checks of the AIS and the radar is the sort of thing I would want a seat for.

Not to mention that the pilothouse is cozy for socializing, and a helm seat is close to the requisite flat surfaces.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Getting lazy in your dotage I see... :)
I haven't even gone yet, and if the truth be told, the helm was built for someone 5' 9" or something. I have to duck a bit to look forward, but my easily stowed wife could use another eight inches of height. The second "sailing" helm on deck is standing only, with no plans to make a seat, but it has clear views all around by contrast. So I need to sit lower than I stand, and my wife needs to sit higher than she stands.

First shot shows the standing room:



This one shows how open the aft deck is...even a kid can steer!

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey Val. Probably the best seat at the best price is a Todd. They have different bases, pedestals, sliders, foot rests and a whole slew of actual seat designs. I think the Stidd seats are WAY!! to expensive. Same with the Pompanette seats. The Garelick and Attwood seats feel cheap.
Thanks...I'll check out Todd. I'll probably end up with a basic seat attached to a deluxe pedestal!
 

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Ahh... that makes sense... and easier on your back than hunching the whole time. :)
 

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Field Test of a Springfield "Flipup"

Val, as requested details of how it went.

Installation was fairly simple. Had to drill slightly offcentre by 2-3 inches due to an obstruction below deck, however this is not noticable when you are using. Was a bit concerned with corrosion between the aluminum base and the stainless steel bolts so I used some yellow muck called Duralac. Apparently it does the trick, however it leaves a nice yellow smear around the fittings.

Went on a three day trip down south this long weekend. Seat worked very well both in sitting and leaning against. On the way down it was 36 degrees C (just under 100 F I think) so it got a bit hot and sticky against the vinyl. They do sell a blue cloth (polyester) version for a few $ more, however the white vinyl suited the existing decor in my pilothouse.

On the trip home we had a 20-30 kt tailwind with the boat rolling 15-20 degrees. Had no problems helming whilst sitting down and the sides held you in comfortably. When I needed a better view standing and leaning with the seat flipped up also felt solid and comfortable.

The view was also pretty good whilst sitting. Was able to spot some lobster pots when sitting. Can also view the electronic charts on the laptop from sitting down, however for detailed work your still need to stand.

The admiral also gave the seat the stamp of approval.

One mod I'll probably look at is installing a foot rest. To get the required height I had to use a 24" pedestal so your legs are hanging. One leg can sit on a bunk, however the other leg is left hanging and a small footrest would be more comfortable.

Also note that even though the seat can be adjusted fore and aft we did not adjust it over the three days.

Attached is a couple of photos. The cheeky grin is my six year old son.







One other mod I'll also have to do is a new drink holder. The existing one is now to far away and I spilt my drink when I was lazy and could'nt be bothered standing. :D

All up would recommend.

Ilenart
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ilenart, thanks very much for posting this. I agree about the "yellow muck" as I would probably cut a circle out of the flooring material to get at the steel deck itself, and I would put a rubber or similar gasket on either side of the steel, plus an aluminum backing plate of six inches or so to spread the load. Basically, I would fab up something both waterproof and slightly shock absorbing, and use "muck" to avoid galling dissimilar metals...just like putting a cheek block on a boom or something.

I assume it is the seat itself that "flips up" meaning you can steer standing (my choice when actively steering) and maybe just brace yourself by leaning back a bit.

I agree with the foot rest idea. My helm has a number of panels down by what would be my right foot, and I would want a foot rest in order to avoid giving those glancing blows with my toes.

I noticed you went for a fixed support pole. Due to the fairly extreme difference in height between my seven-year-old son, my wife and myself (currently four, five and six feet respectively), I thought I might need a mechanically adjustable support or the even more expensive gas strut. But maybe I should just get my wife some firm cushions instead and save some money.

Your set-up looks a lot like mine, right down to the port-side "daybed" as I call it (I keep a load of tools currently in the locker below, although most of those will go forward to the forepeak "workshop" in time, to be replaced by lighter PFD gear, foulies, etc. It's fun having a pilothouse, isn't it?
 

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I assume it is the seat itself that "flips up" meaning you can steer standing (my choice when actively steering) and maybe just brace yourself by leaning back a bit.
yep, the bit sticking out under my son's legs flips up and the underneath is padded so it forms a comfortable lean too.

I noticed you went for a fixed support pole. Due to the fairly extreme difference in height between my seven-year-old son, my wife and myself (currently four, five and six feet respectively), I thought I might need a mechanically adjustable support or the even more expensive gas strut. But maybe I should just get my wife some firm cushions instead and save some money.
The longest adjustable pole I could get was 21" and the minimum I needed was 24" so the only option for me was the fixed pole. They do have a fancy gas lift pedestal that felt solid, however it was double the price of the fixed pedestal.

Your set-up looks a lot like mine, right down to the port-side "daybed" as I call it (I keep a load of tools currently in the locker below, although most of those will go forward to the forepeak "workshop" in time, to be replaced by lighter PFD gear, foulies, etc. It's fun having a pilothouse, isn't it?
The way I have it setup means accessing the storage under the daybed is now a bit more difficult. We keep all the dive gear here and we probably need to swap it to somewhere else.

It's funny, I'm still debating with myself on whether I want a pilothouse long term. Most of my cruising is in warm climates & there is no outside steering position on my boat so I'm thinking a doghouse might be a better option with removable canvas sides and back. Still I know I will miss the pilothouse when I'm beating into 30kt plus.

Ilenart
 

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Val
measure the three of you sitting down, from the bottom of the seat to your eyes. I think you'll find there is less difference in the upper torso between the three of you than your full body height. You might get away with only needing a pad for the young one.
 

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Val,
That's a Rosebank wheel. I grew up in a house called Rosebank. I've laways wanted one of them.

Ref helm seat....I saw something recently where a guy put an old Cadilac seat into his wheelhouse. Whole schemozzle, electric tilt , the complete shebang...seriously cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's funny, I'm still debating with myself on whether I want a pilothouse long term. Most of my cruising is in warm climates & there is no outside steering position on my boat so I'm thinking a doghouse might be a better option with removable canvas sides and back. Still I know I will miss the pilothouse when I'm beating into 30kt plus.

Ilenart
I have a proper "sailing helm" with a small cockpit well and big pipe scuppers. You may have seen pictures of it. I need to add a second throttle/shifter to the binnacle, plus some basic compass or heading device, and add to that a welded up arch supporting four solar panels and I will have all the shade I need.

When sailing, we are usually "outside", but I like being in the pilothouse in bad weather motoring (and until I get that throttle installed, that's the only choice). The visibility is better on deck and of course all the sail controls are there, so the pilothouse will be a "data centre" more than a helming spot as I don't intend to have a Star Trek set-up outside. More likely, just a compass, which will be a little elaborate as it's a steel deck. This is why I am thinking of making the arch aluminum and hanging a aircraft-style compass from it or a fluxgate display. I find that a hand compass will work if I hold it above five and half feet above the deck, but goes squirrelly below that.

As for the support pole, I agree that I'm not sure if it's worth it to pop for the glories of gas.
 
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