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Bridge >> Helm Chairs & Step Project Description

Progress on this endeavor could only be accomplished with a collaborative effort involving many innovative products, companies and individuals. To find out more about these companies and products, select any one of the company links below.

Sponsors For This Project: Ongaro Marine

Helm Chair Configuration

The helm and passenger seat configuration on the boat as bought. While the release helm chairs are gorgious, they are so close together and arranged in such a way that the captain must move for the passenger to get in or out. Also note the frigid box mounted on the bridge. The box is too cumbersome and will be moved. The chair locations will be reconfigured to allow more freedom and less stress to the captain.
In addition to moving the chairs there was a need for the captain to be higher. On this boat it was difficult to see the bow while running. A six inch platform step was the answer and would be incorporated while moving the chairs.

Step'in Up

Step'in Up

A shape that would allow proper stance for the captain and not hinder movement around the chair was determined and the board was cut. 3/4" marine plywood was used.
Supports were installed around the perimeter with screws and MAS epoxy. It would have been easy to simply make the skirt and be done at this point but that is not what this boat is about. The step needs to have camber so water will not sit on it. Also note that the supports are not 90 degrees, they have a slight angle to give the finished product the right look.

Step'in Up


A 1/2" strip was glued down the centerline of the step and then 1/4" strips were glued down 7" from the center. 1/4" marine plywood was then cut to shape and gluded on top of strips and the step using MAS epoxy.
Holes were cut from the underside to allow the plywood to vent between the camber 1/4" and the 3/4" main step.

Breathing Wood

Bead to Shape Skirt

I mixed up some polyester body-filler and laid a bead around the bottom perimiter to help while constructing the skirt with small strips of wood.
Strips in place and filler used to fill in gaps.

Shaping Skirt

Glassed Steps

This picture shows the cambered step area with the chair pedistal in place. To insure toughness, the step has two layers of fiberglass and MAS Epoxy.
With the new placement of the chairs, the results are fantastic. It is no longer required that the captain move from the helm for someone to get to the mate's chair.

Helm Chairs

Proper Chair Placement

With the new step, both the bow and the cockpit are clearly visible to the captain. This entire exercise was not only because of an aggrevating situation - it was also to solve the safety requirement for the captain's view.

You may note that the wheel is not centered to the chair. We found that the wheel's original position was off by almost 1 1/2". This will be corrected when the new pod is put in place.

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