I will freely admit that I have no idea!
I'm building the Bluenose II at the moment _ 1st model ship for me.
As opposed to a powered ship, in many sailing conditions the ship doesn't want to point where you are telling it to point, requiring constant pressure on the wheel, which, with no hydraulic assist, is going to be done most comfortably on the side. Also sailing ships heel and between that and the position of the sails when you're heeling, the standard helm position is on the upwind/up-heel side of the wheel so he's on the high side and his vision is not totally obscured by sails. At least that's true for small fore and aft sail ships like schooners.
Edited by vossiewulf, 21 December 2016 - 06:07 AM.