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Old 10-10-2014, 11:15   #1
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Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Does anybody else use the wheel brake to tighten up steering under sail? (The little knob on the pedestal)

I often keep the wheel brake snug so that I can still turn the wheel but the motion of the boat and water cannot. This makes my motions more subtle because there is less play in the wheel.

The real question is am I damaging anything? Or will my brake just burn out sooner? I've been doing it for 4yrs without problems, it still gets tight enough to lock the wheel all the way when not in use.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:03   #2
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

I may be misunderstanding you--but why do you need to tighten the steering. Proper sail trim should leave an almost effortless helm.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:17   #3
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Yes I've used it. With light weather helm it can work to keep your arm from aching!Many boats "proper sail trim" doesn't necessarily get rid of weather helm.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:22   #4
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

I guess I'm just lucky to have a Phil Rhodes design. .
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:23   #5
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Yes, it is usually used to counter weather helm or help the boat track or simply stay straight. Often the motion of the boat or the water underneath can move the wheel. But with the brake snug (but not locked tight) I can make small adjustments to the wheel and it stays in place without having to loosing and tighten the brake all the time.
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:27   #6
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Stocking View Post
I guess I'm just lucky to have a Phil Rhodes design. .
Yes you are! I HATE wx helm! I'd buy a boat with neutral helm anyday.. everybody says "it's not safe". Well... it's not safe to fall off the boat. I've had boats that were terrible and those that were wonderful. I'll take the latter!
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:27   #7
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

When motoring my helm pulls slightly one way, has to do with prop wash of course,
my owners manual recommends slightly tightening the friction when extended motoring like the ICW, your not hurting anything
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Old 10-10-2014, 20:56   #8
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Sounds good, thanks all for the feedback.
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Old 11-10-2014, 13:04   #9
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

If it's an Edson, the wheel brake has a friction material that is replaceable. No problem if you wear it out, just replace. Don't use the brake if the friction material is worn through. Without the friction material, the brake is metal on metal and wears the knurling off the shaft making the brake less effective when you replace the friction material.
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Old 11-10-2014, 13:40   #10
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

I use the brake like you do. To step away from the wheel for a sail adjustment or a soda. Otherwise I keep the resistance fairly low.
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Old 11-10-2014, 13:41   #11
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yes you are! I HATE wx helm! I'd buy a boat with neutral helm anyday.. everybody says "it's not safe". Well... it's not safe to fall off the boat. I've had boats that were terrible and those that were wonderful. I'll take the latter!
Please explain...which boats have neutral helm and which do not. Why would you fall off it. You're probably laughing, but I'm a newbie and need to pick the brain when I don't understand something. Thank you
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Old 11-01-2015, 22:00   #12
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Not everyone watches sail trim as well as is required to achieve a balance neutral helm, it just a term and is experienced by feel.
You'll get to know when you've got to much or not enough weather helm.


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Old 12-01-2015, 02:04   #13
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

What I recently learned on this topic.

The wheel brake is stronger than the cables.

I did a steering system inspection before leaving the west coast of Mexico. Sailed to Hawaii with the Hydrovane steering most of the way. This means that I had the wheel locked down. Several times waves smacked the boat and kicked the rudder out of line. Had to watch that.

After months here, I was setting out and just as we were setting sails, the steering locked up, then snapped with not much effort. Dug out the emergency tiller, which had obviously never been used in my 43 year old boat. It was built 90 degrees off of centerline !!

Got back to the mooring and went to work. Found the one cable that goes around the sheave and back to forward attachment on the quadrant had failed. Considered myself very lucky that it broke when it did and blamed myself for an inadequate inspection. Replaced both cables and had spares made up because I learned that the recommended life of said cables is 4-7 years. I also had the emergency tiller modified. Still difficult the use it with the pedestal in the way, but usable.

Sailed from Honolulu to Maui. Picked up a mooring in Lahaina/Mala. Beautiful spot, but a roadstead. Swells made for a pretty rough stay at times. to keep the rudder from swinging wildly and slamming into the "stops" (my boat was built without stops), I locked it down at the wheel,... for weeks. I went to move the boat one day and the same new steering cable parted. and it was clearly stressed where it went around the sheave.

Due to conditions, I got the spare cable in place but left it disconnected and used the emergency tiller to try to contain my rudder from slamming around. Not an easy thing to do, and it was only so effective.

Bottom line is, the wheel lock is only so effective. You need to relieve some stresses on the cables. I intend to tie the wheel down with bungee cords to take the shock and return the wheel to center after the rudders gets smacked.

Some boats have less vulnerable steering systems. But I was not the only boat in that anchorage experiencing rudder abuse.

Once I got to flat water I was able to properly attach the cables to the quadrant without losing any fingers.
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Old 12-01-2015, 14:20   #14
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minggat View Post
What I recently learned on this topic.

The wheel brake is stronger than the cables.
...

I have a couple of questions...

1: Why didn't you use the Hydrovane as your emergency rudder? (My guess is you had to put the main rudder back to center with the E-tiller anyway)

2: Is your rudder on a skeg or is it a spade?

3: Is it possibly that your wheel brake isn't locking all the way and it allows for enough movement from a strong wave to break the cable bits?
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Old 13-01-2015, 07:32   #15
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Re: Edson wheel brake/lock under sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by theway View Post
I have a couple of questions...

1: Why didn't you use the Hydrovane as your emergency rudder? (My guess is you had to put the main rudder back to center with the E-tiller anyway)

2: Is your rudder on a skeg or is it a spade?

3: Is it possibly that your wheel brake isn't locking all the way and it allows for enough movement from a strong wave to break the cable bits?
1. The emergency tiller was easy to grab. And yes.

2. Skeg

3. I think you might missing something here. The wheel lock is the far end of the system, meaning that the bits in between the rudder post and the wheel lock add to the systems vulnerability. Any give in the wheel lock is reducing shock to the system, so if my wheel is not locked down tight, that would be a good thing. But how tight do you want to crank down on it anyway?

In my opinion, the wheel lock is a different purpose device than I want to rely on for a long term issue. Better to try to lock down at the quadrant somehow. The forces that would do what they did to my new cables are scary. And after my new cables broke, those same forces really went to work on my tiller.

I'm just saying that the system is more vulnerable than I had any idea. Boats loose steering. There is a reason why you should keep an emergency tiller aboard. And try it before you need it. I have already corrected the big issue with mine. Now I'm going to add some beef to it before my next long passage.

And if you have to lock down your steering in and anchorage, get out of there.
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