Helm Station Design for Multihulls

Helm Station Forward or Aft.


There are strong arguments in favour of each option and it really comes down to personal preference, but whichever way you go it’s important to consider that the position of the helm station will have implications for winch placement and other deck layout issues.


The helm aft gets the helm person out of the main cockpit area. This is good for crewed charter boats and I used to believe this was the prime justification for placing the helm aft. 


I also believed it was not good for visibility, but this may have been due to the fact that the few boats I had sailed on with aft helms simply had the helm station placed too low. 


If you place the helm high enough and as far outboard as possible then visibility can be quite good, but with aft helm stations it’s essential to have helm stations both sides of the boat, whereas one helm station can suffice when mounted on the bulkhead.


One strong argument in favour of the aft mounted helm station is that the helm person has ready access to the mainsheet and traveller controls on the aft beam. Of course you can do this on a bulkhead mounted helm station as well, but only by leading the control lines forward and then aft again which requires more hardware, creates more friction and promotes a more cluttered deck layout.

Another advantage of the helm aft is that it makes the connection of a direct mechanical steering system a lot simpler.



Helm station arrangment on catamaran Soul

Helm station forward on Chincogan 52 Soul

Helm station aft on catamaran the Countess

Helm station aft on Chincogan 52 The Countess