Then, finally, we came to our last design item, the main helm station. Staring at a blank piece of paper is not inspirational. I could say the same about staring at an empty aluminum space that needs a well-designed and ergonomically functional helm. I would instead count sheep for fun. Lastly, we need a workable design, as I'll be contemplating my mistakes for the next few years!
Ergonomics of position, sight, arm movements, reach, ref Trawler Forum
We started with a big aluminium space.
Read also: Designing an Explorer Yacht Helm
Looking for inspiration added confusion. You have the esoteric Dashew designs of the FPB range, the evolutionary compliance of Fleming, the order of Nordhavn, "Bling" of the super yacht brigade and the chaotic art of the self-builders. All and everything is out there.
So we started on three fronts; the first was to encode all the equipment that needed accommodation. The second was to have some basic ergonomic rules, so we turned to our favorite Trawler Forum. Their curmudgeonly old contributors (I'm one!) like what they like having developed those traits over a lifetime of sailing, so I'm figuring that's a good place to start. Lastly, we also looked at function, which boils down to "Helming" and "Everything Else ." We mostly separated them.
Yacht Helm Equipment
So let's start with equipment that is "Helm Related"
Helm - Wheel FFU
Engine & Hybrid Controls (2)
Helm - Wheel Emergency Hydraulic
VHF Radio Comms
Helm - Jog Lever NFU
Helm - Autopilot
Night Vision Camera
Helm - Dynamic Positioning Joystick
Helm - Dynamic Positioning Display
MFD Chart/Navigation Display
MFD Radar Display/Backup
Steering System Selector
Navigation Lights & Horn
Yacht Helm Equipment in the category "Everything Else"
MFD System Schematic Display
3 Phase 50/60Hz Shore Power
1 Phase Electrical Victron Cerbo
VHF Radio Comms
Trackpads for MFD Display
Iridium Certus Sailor 4300 Comms
DMS Stabiliser Controls
Yellowbrick Hand Held Comms
Flags, Binoculars, Range Finders ....
Yacht Helm Chairs
We then thought about ergonomics. We would need a place for a computer / charts / logbook. We also need a place to store "stuff" flags, binoculars, books, and whatever. We needed to keep the screens' height low to maintain a view when seated; we needed two helm chairs with walk round access to both. Feet need to be seated on the deck, and legs supported when standing. The FFU Helm Wheel should not restrict access to instruments. Some instruments needed to be within reach when seated; think Autopilot, VHF, and Trackpad. We needed good airflow over the windows and fresh air supply to the crew.
Some thought was given to ventilation and clear windows regardless atmospheric conditions.
The conversation then bounced back and forth with Naval Yachts until the form was agreed. It took a while, but I think we reached a good compromise. The exact placement of instrumentation can wait until they assemble a mockup, and we visit in early April.
Final general design, individual components will be positioned on the mock-up. Some displays are tucked above head hight to keep the helm clean, some on the port side for items unrelated to navigation. The horizontal helm surface hinges upwards for maintenance.
So that was it. Design work is complete, and work now reduces to progress and much smaller decisions. We'll have to find something else to write about!
It's all a compromise influenced by ideas and personal preferences. Designing Vanguard has been an interesting journey and as a result she has become very different from her predecessor, Mobius, reflecting the different views and needs of their respective owners. There is best single answer here and the worst sin of all may in fact be simply prevarication.