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Old 07-11-2014, 17:25   #16
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Re: Rudders - Steering

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Originally Posted by BigBeakie View Post
Helia 44,

I think the new hydraulic steering systems are tuneable to some extent to get back some sensitivity, but I have no experience on how well they deliver on that front. We had a Hydrive on a cat 20 years ago, and we couldn't feel anything.

I hope others will contribute to this as I am interested in this question as well. What is THE best steering system for a performance cruiser, and why?
Speaking generally: I prefer simple, direct and strongly built!

For best hand feel and balance…. a chain to cable system manually powered by a large diameter steering wheel that activates a large steering quadrant, strongly mounted above rudder post.

Connect Hydaulics directly to quadrant with a heavy arm and once hydraulics takes over, the steering wheel still turns and you can easily compare helm movements under autopilot and hand steering as weather helm changes.

Photos of mine shows the system with the hull shell covered with a sound absorbing epoxy to minimize prop noise
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Old 09-11-2014, 17:32   #17
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Re: Rudders - Steering

Hello Nasa,

Thank you for the comprehensive report on the cable drive... ! It is very good and of much practical value..!

I have asked Multihull Solutions on costs for a kit to upgrade my whole system to the new hydraulics.. But please keep me posted on your research into an Australian Hydraulic System!!

In the meantime, I will dig into my system looking for problems, and maybe buy some preemptive spares, for the steering or cables themselves..

My reservations on the hydraulics, is I would like to know that you still feel some back pressure... I think the feedback is really necessary, the back pressure helps your reflexes steering against the wash, to stay dead on the rhumb line, (on course..)

Kind regards, and Thanks again!!
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Old 28-01-2015, 19:36   #18
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Re: Rudders - Steering

Gemeaux, sorry for being way late on this, but I'm wondering what, if anything, you eventually did for your slack steering. I have hull #13 and my problem is identical to what you described. I've had a number of folks look into it, and they usually make the usual adjustments, and the problem remains. The teleflex has a clevis device that appears to not be using an OEM locking pin and it is wearing down (wallowing) the clevis holes. An engineer ordered a part, but alas it was the wrong part, and then I had to leave for a lengthy trip. Fortunately the steering held up for the trip, but it's as sloppy as ever. Of course, autopilot turns the rudders directly, and that is extremely responsive. So, I'm still wondering what, if anything, can be done short of going with a hydraulic replacement. I'm also open to suggestions...
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Old 28-01-2015, 21:08   #19
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Re: Rudders - Steering

Hello SailMonAmi,

My Helia 44 is of similar vintage... What do you call slack steering... ??? I mean I have the standard wheel, and my play is about half of one spoke. I seem to sit a lot of the time on one side of that, being old school and don't tend to oversteer. My sail set is usually a little out of balance, so I can sit on one side of the slackness...

On mileage, my Helia has been around Australia on the south side and up the east coast as a demonstrator, and then locally sailed on the east coast so I might have sort of 10,000-15,000 Nautical Miles on her. She only has that half of spoke of play, and for me I do not find that excessive.

I checked on a whole new Teleflex Cable steering system, from the part behind the wheel all the way to the rudders, and it was only $561 delivered to me. The Hydraulic System, from France, was about $4500 from memory delivered from France (so could be done cheaper in Oz) from memory and with instructions, and was estimated at 20 hours work to convert???

A complete new teleflex style system here in Australia delivered for $561 is cheap, and I would order it if I were going offshore to the South Pacific or further. For me, just coastal cruising the east coast at this point, there is no sense in even getting the spare at this point. The Marine Engineer at Multihull Solutions said he could get one shipped direct to me in a matter of days as they are in stock here. He goes to France and the Med quite often..Further he stated that the hydraulic system on the F.P.s he has sailed on had NO feedback feeling at all. Both have swayed me to just stick with the stock system...


So, I have a half a spoke distance, maybe 200-250mm of rotation of slackness? What do you define as slack steering on yours?

Kind regards, Helia 44 AVALON
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Old 30-01-2015, 10:39   #20
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Re: Rudders - Steering

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Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
Hello SailMonAmi,

So, I have a half a spoke distance, maybe 200-250mm of rotation of slackness? What do you define as slack steering on yours?
When I'm steering in one direction and then I want to adjust slightly to the opposite direction, I have to turn the wheel a quarter of a turn before there is any response. I refer to that quarter of a turn as slack or slop.
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Old 28-04-2015, 22:48   #21
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Re: Rudders - Steering

I'm bringing back this issue of early Helia steering because most of us with push pull rod steering will have to deal with this issue at some time. I have had to replace the rod and the helm unit once already.
The "proper" mechanical steering system for the Helia would probably be one of the systems manufactured by Jefa and distributed in the US by PYI. I have had email conversations with Armin Geisler from Jefa in Holland and the PYI rep here in WA. PYI can also supply the hydraulic system that FP is now installing. The Jefa system will definitely deliver feedback to the helm wheel; hydraulic will deliver no feedback at all.
The bottom line is cost, accurate design, and then installation. The Jefa system parts alone would cost 12-15K; the hydraulic cost in parts equal about 3K. Then finding someone to install the system accurately in your particular location could be very challenging and pricey.
Bottom line is I am going to change to hydraulic. If my boat sailed at 15+ knots routinely then no doubt the research time and money to have "proper" steering would be justified. When I trade in my Helia for a Gunboat I will evaluate the steering more closely.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts. I plan to change my steering this September.
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Old 29-04-2015, 00:53   #22
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Re: Rudders - Steering

From speaking recently to hydraulic steering manufacturers, in particular Hydrive, I understand the concern about hydraulics not having enough/any feel has been successfully addressed by the latest products, as long as they are sized and set up properly.

FWIW a user reported that his new Hydrive system on his cat was like using a new, tight cable steering setup.


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Old 29-04-2015, 16:00   #23
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Re: Rudders - Steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by onthehook17 View Post
I'm bringing back this issue of early Helia steering because most of us with push pull rod steering will have to deal with this issue at some time. I have had to replace the rod and the helm unit once already.
The "proper" mechanical steering system for the Helia would probably be one of the systems manufactured by Jefa and distributed in the US by PYI. I have had email conversations with Armin Geisler from Jefa in Holland and the PYI rep here in WA. PYI can also supply the hydraulic system that FP is now installing. The Jefa system will definitely deliver feedback to the helm wheel; hydraulic will deliver no feedback at all.
The bottom line is cost, accurate design, and then installation. The Jefa system parts alone would cost 12-15K; the hydraulic cost in parts equal about 3K. Then finding someone to install the system accurately in your particular location could be very challenging and pricey.
Bottom line is I am going to change to hydraulic. If my boat sailed at 15+ knots routinely then no doubt the research time and money to have "proper" steering would be justified. When I trade in my Helia for a Gunboat I will evaluate the steering more closely.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts. I plan to change my steering this September.
Hello "On the Hook".... I am not going the French gear as I want backup here locally in Australia. Engineering and sources are being done now, and I will have a report in the Topic on "Improvements to the Helia 44". The key is to have the bypass system so the wheel does not when running on hydraulic autopilot. Most larger vessels these day are all hydraulic.. Will post the results in that topic above..

My steering is fine, just about the half a spoke in play, but the wheel turns when the autopilot is on, and the play really irritates my Wife. Will let you know how we go... I did consider getting a whole new backup system, far cheaper at about $561 in the original equipment, but would rather go the hydraulic after hearing reports from Delivery Skippers on how they prefer it.

Best regards, Helia 44 "Avalon"
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Old 30-04-2015, 14:17   #24
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Re: Rudders - Steering

Helia 44, since the HyDrive system is manufactured in AU I would presume that is the system you will install. I discussed HyDrive hydraulics with bob young from Hydruve US and the possibility of hydraulics with feedback is realistic. I looked forward to seeing your design.
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Old 22-09-2016, 12:10   #25
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Auto Pilot

Helia 44 Owners,

All the Helia 44's use a Lecomble & Schmitt Hydraulic Autopilot pump and cylinder from www.ls-france.com regardless if they have a Garmin or Raymarine autopilot.

The difference between how a Garmin or Raymarine autopilot works is how it was setup. Both systems have auto setup wizards or manual fine tuning settings that can be made.

Below is how you can use the Garmin setup wizards or manual fine tuning settings.

Most Sailors use the Auto Pilot in 3 modes.
1) Go to Point
2) Heading Hold
3) Follow Route

The auto pilot is driven by the GPS antenna in the face one of your chart plotters. If you have 2 chart plotters you want to set both GPS antenna’s to be the same one at the Helm or Nav. Station.

The autopilot must be configured and tuned to your boats dynamics.
The Dockside Wizard and Sea Trial Wizard walk you through the necessary configuration steps.

You can find all of this info by doing a google search for Garmin GHP Reactor Hydraulic Autopilot.
https://support.garmin.com/support/manuals/manuals.htm?partNo=010-00705-15&language=en&country=US

Then download the installation manual.

Garmin “Dealer Mode”

Go to SETTINGS on the Auto Pilot controller.
1) From the Heading screen, select Menu > Setup > System > System Information
2) Hold the center key for 5 seconds. Dealer Mode appears.
3) Select Back > Back

Then when you return to the setting menu you will find a Dealer Mode Menu.
You go into there and you will see many fine tuning options.

Configuring the Autopilot
1) Dockside Wizard In or out of the water, boat not moving
Menu > Setup > Dealer Autopilot Setup > Wizards > Dockside Wizard

2) Sea Trial WizardIn the water with some sea area to do 360 degree turns and zig zags
Menu > Setup > Dealer Autopilot Setup > Wizards > Sea Trial Wizard

3) Calibrating the Compass
Menu > Setup > Dealer Autopilot Setup > Compass Setup > Calibrate Compass > Begin.

4) Adjusting the Autopilot Gain Settings
Menu > Setup > Dealer Autopilot Setup > Autopilot Tuning > Rudder Gains
For a sailboat with a speed source set to None, select Gain and adjust how tightly the rudder holds the heading and makes turns.
If you set this value to high, the autopilot may be overactive and attempt to constantly adjust the heading at the slightest deviation.
An overactive autopilot can drain the battery at a faster than normal rate.

For a sailboat with a speed source set to None, select Counter Gain and adjust how tightly the rudder corrects the turn overshoot.
If you set this value to low, the autopilot can overshoot the turn again when it attempts to counter the original turn.
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Old 26-09-2016, 10:17   #26
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Electronic Navigating Compass

Helia 44 owners,

If you notice your Garmin or Raymarine autopilot misbehaving, you may want to label the self where the Electronic Navigating Compass is hidden below.

You do not want any irons or metal pans on these shelves as it compromises your Navigating Compass readings.

It's located in your Stb. rear stateroom lower cabinet.
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