Saturday, March 19, 2016

Key West - Our helm seat and sunset

Ann seated in our Todd Cape Cod Helm seat
I've received several requests to describe our helm seat, most recently a request from yesterday. We've been cruising since 1985 but our distances have greatly increased in the last 10 years. At first it was trips to Maine from our home base in Poughkeepsie, NY up the Hudson River and then it was down and back along the ICW to Key West. During all that time you spend a lot of time behind the helm. We've logged 3900 hours on our engine due to just the motoring part of the trips.

With all that time behind the wheel, you want to be comfortable. We've tried various solutions. I used to just stand and steer, Ann liked to sit but the cockpit teak seat was too low so she used to pile up either cushions or life vests. Those solutions were unsatisfactory, they were not stable, especially when sailing.

It hit a high of 87 today, hot! Too hot for Mallory Square tonight
After that we went to various helm seats but didn't like any of them until we found the Todd Cap Cod Helm Seat. The seat was comfortable, waterproof and provided excellent side to side support as well as back and arm support. The problem was how to secure it to the boat. Normally you would use a pedestal made for the job but there was no room for one on our Fleetwing, a 42 ft sailboat. So I found a seat made for a shower stall and shortened the legs to fit our purpose. I bolted the Todd seat to the shower stall seat and strapped that seat to the cockpit seat with a ratchet strap. That setup secured the seat and we use it not only while motoring but also when sailing. I can lean back into the seat and it provides lateral support while tipped. For long tacks I can even sit in the chair since the high sides provide good lateral support. When I need aft access to the swim platform, I just undo the ratchet and lift off the seat. That only happens after we anchor so there's no problem.