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2014-08-30

Have a seat, Skipper

Base, strut, sliding plate thingie.
From the department of "failure to prioritize" comes The Helm Seat Purchase. I am in the midst of finishing the prolonged installation of the new diesel in the hope that I can, mastless, at least chug around in circles before haulout. That's the stated goal.

But sometimes opportunities/curses arrive in unpredictable ways. The opportunity was to purchase, at a discount, a long-contemplated item: an adjustable helm seat for the pilothouse. The curse came in the form of the closing of Genco Marine's Queen Quay outlet. Genco Marine was not only the closest chandlery to both my boats, it was also where my wife, the redoubtable Mrs. Alchemy, put in four to five days a week of thankless retail grinding. There's a West Marine in the downtown area, but seriously, that is the equivalent of suggesting Walmart to the purchaser of bespoke tailoring. They are great if you want an anchor-themed placement or a hat that declaims "Kiss the Captain!", but that's not me at this stage. Besides, even WM is slated to be bulldozed for condos, which is the Toronto way of things.

So while Genco will keep (along with Mason's, Holland Marine and a few others will continue to exist in the western hinterland of Mississauga, fat lot of good that does for a man with two boats and no car. Thus, the somewhat early purchase was made, because I got to put my bum in it first.

This will have to be moved around a bit to find the precise spot desired.
I needed a rather tall seat strut, because my wife (now and forever) and my son (currently, but not for long) are about one foot (0.3 m) shorter than am I, and we needed about a ten-inch height range. So calculations were made, and this is the result: a nice helm chair with arms, and yet not so padded that it can't rotate in a complete circle.  It also comes with a $100 item called a "sliding pedestal", meaning that it can shift forward enough to make the relative difference in arm length, and therefore, helming comfort, a non-issue. About the only change I might make is little cherrywood blocks screwed into the helm panelling so that the crew can brace their feet in heavy seas. After that, it's a manner of drilling holes and making sure a backing plate is installed under the steel decking to spread the load of bodies bracing themselves against the sea. Personally, this is intended mainly for motoring, as sailing will be done largely from the outside helm, but this will be very nice to have when peering at the various navigational gadget I have yet to install.

4 comments:

SH3 said...

Nice throne. Since you have hydraulic steering, how do you determine the rudder angle?

Rhys said...

I rotate my eyes aft and take note of the tiller head's position or look at the Ritchie Globemaster to see if we are sailing straight! It's a good question, though, and a rudder angle indicator is in our future.

Silverheels III said...

The more expensive electric autopilots require a rudder position sensor on the steering, but the bonus is that the angle is displayed on the Autopilot control head.

Rhys said...

The two contenders at the moment are ComNav and W-H, neither cheap, but both sort of industrial-grade/commercially robust and both to be mated to the existing hydraulics. Both render rudder angle information, I believe, via feedback. The general plan is to sail under windvane and motor under AP, although clearly there will be conditions under which AP will be preferable for sailing, if not hand-steering.