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Old 20-04-2014, 09:52   #16
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Easy on a small yacht, harder on a big one. The second picture shows attachment to the staysil sheet. This was last year: (yes that is an old bicycle rim cost 1 usd)
As I have about 20 old rims on the walls of the garage, I may experiment with this. Thanks, Newt.
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Old 20-04-2014, 16:48   #17
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

Agreed the key is to have a vessel that wants to stay running true, or to be more precise to trim the vessel to stay running true, relatively easy to balance my boat, can leave the helm alone for significant periods, certainly reduces the effort for the auto.

Oh and btw - "whole nine yards" definitely predates the ammo belt theory. Its in US literature for example long before that version.
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Old 20-04-2014, 19:02   #18
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

History of the phrase[edit]
The earliest known use of the phrase is from The Mitchell Commercial, a newspaper in the small town of Mitchell, Indiana, in their 2 May 1907 edition:

This afternoon at 2:30 will be called one of the baseball games that will be worth going a long way to see. The regular nine is going to play the business men as many innings as they can stand, but we can not promise the full nine yards.[5]

The phrase was used three more times in the Mitchell Commercial over the next seven years, in the forms "give him the whole nine yards" (i.e., tell someone a big story),[6] "take the whole nine yards" (i.e., take everything),[7] and "settled the whole nine yards" (i.e., resolved everything).[8]

In other uses from this time period, the phrase was given as "the whole six yards." In 1912, a local newspaper in Kentucky asked readers to, "Just wait boys until the fix gets to a fever heat and they will tell the whole six yards."[9] The six-yard form of the phrase also appears in a 1921 headline in a local South Carolina paper.[10]

The phrase is not known to have been used in writing thereafter until a 1956 issue of Kentucky Happy Hunting Ground, where it appears in an article on fishing.[11][12] After describing the contests and prizes, the author writes, "So that's the whole nine-yards."[13][14] It appeared in an article on hunting the following year, this time unhyphenated.[12]

The phrase at this point was still rare. There is strong circumstantial evidence it was not in general use in 1961, as Ralph Boston set a world record for the long jump that year at 27 feet, or nine yards, but no news report has been found that made any reference to the term, suggesting that journalists were unaware of it or did not regard it as common enough to use as a pun.[15]

In a short story published in 1962, the phrase is attributed to "a brush salesman."[16] A letter published in an auto magazine later that year describes a certain new car as containing "all nine yards of goodies".[17] In 1964, several newspapers published a syndicated story which explained that, "Give 'em the whole nine yards" was NASA talk for an item-by-item report.[18] This early usage can be read as suggesting length, but can also be read as suggesting detailed completeness.[19]

Two 1965 newspaper articles quote U.S. military personnel serving in Vietnam using the phrase.[20] The phrase was explained as something "teenagers say" in a military-oriented magazine in 1965.[21] Citations from 1966 show the phrase was used by a former U.S. Army airman,[22] and also in a publication for military test pilots.[23] It is also recorded in two contemporary novels concerning the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, Carl Krueger's Wings of a Tiger (1966),[24] and Elaine Shepard's The Doom Pussy (1967).[4]

That is what Wiki says,

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Old 20-04-2014, 19:17   #19
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

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Agreed the key is to have a vessel that wants to stay running true, or to be more precise to trim the vessel to stay running true, relatively easy to balance my boat, can leave the helm alone for significant periods, certainly reduces the effort for the auto.

Oh and btw - "whole nine yards" definitely predates the ammo belt theory. Its in US literature for example long before that version.
I certainly agree in broad terms, but there is a bit of devil in the detail, I reckon.

Some long-keel boats, in my experience, which are excellent at "staying running true" can have ideas of their own when it comes to what direction to maintain.

A more subtle problem is that boats with high resistance to yaw can take a lot of effort if it is necessary to reorient them, in cases of force majeure.

As one example: I've been on course-stable boats where an accidental gybe (under preventers) could not be reversed, because they simply refused to respond to the helm in time. It can be dangerous releasing the preventer under load, on a big heavy boat, in such circumstances. And dangerous not doing so: a thorny, horny dilemma.

As another: I was on a big long keeled boat with barn door rudder where our landfall on an island group in the subantarctic was made very difficult because, with storm force winds on the quarter (even though, happily, it had not been blowing long enough to raise storm-sized seas) there was only one person of the six on board who could steer within about twenty degrees of the course we had to hold to thread our way close enough to leeward of a dangerous offshore submerged pinnacle, to still be able to lay our harbour of refuge.

And that one person was also the only person who could navigate in that sort of weather, and the relative location of the pinnacle was difficult to establish (dodgy SatNav, difficult DR issues including inability to sail course ordered)

I found myself wishing to be on a 'modern' hull form, one which would take instructions, rather than thinking it knew better.
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Old 20-04-2014, 19:25   #20
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

I included the following in one of my opening posts, as a suggestion about a possible way of improving course stability on a broad reach.

<< If there is no mizzen: consider setting up a riding sail, particularly if there are twin backstays, on the windward stay: undersheet when on course >>

I should have clarified that this is not from Letcher, or any other recognised authority; as far as I know, I'm the only one to have thought of this, and since doing so, I've not had the opportunity to try it.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried it, or who has a well-argued reason why it would not be worth trying, or a plausible suggestion as to how the idea could be improved.

Failing twin backstays, I guess it could be set flying, if it had a suitable luff (which riding sails often do, similarly small jibs)
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Old 20-04-2014, 20:07   #21
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

Andrew- I thought your comments on hull shape were interesting, as they also correlate to my experience (so they must be right ) My Compac was very flighty, would round up all the time and generally was misbehaved. It took to this steering very well, were my Valiant takes a lot of messing around with to get her to steer correctly. I always attributed that to tiller vs wheel, but it might be the inertia that the Valiant has, and also the forces that pull on the sheets. Her forces are much bigger than necessary to adjust the steering, with the resultant over correction and off we go somewhere else!
I finally bought the bullet this winter and installed a monitor. By this time next year I will be able to compare the two.
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Old 20-04-2014, 20:19   #22
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History of the phrase[edit]
The earliest known use of the phrase is from The Mitchell Commercial, a newspaper in the small town of Mitchell, Indiana, in their 2 May 1907 edition:,

Coops.
Coops...if you knew how hard I laughed reading that response you would probably ban me from CF for life. Thank ou
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Old 20-04-2014, 20:32   #23
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

To my knowledge I don't think you can get banned for laughing. I did not actually read it all, somebody asked, I had an idle moment and voila. Now I shall just have to read it.

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Old 20-04-2014, 20:40   #24
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

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Andrew- I thought your comments on hull shape were interesting, as they also correlate to my experience (so they must be right ) My Compac was very flighty, would round up all the time and generally was misbehaved. It took to this steering very well, were my Valiant takes a lot of messing around with to get her to steer correctly. I always attributed that to tiller vs wheel, but it might be the inertia that the Valiant has, and also the forces that pull on the sheets. Her forces are much bigger than necessary to adjust the steering, with the resultant over correction and off we go somewhere else!
I finally bought the bullet this winter and installed a monitor. By this time next year I will be able to compare the two.
Newt

For some reason, something which is often neglected or overlooked when adapting sheet-to-tiller steering to a wheel is the stretchy cord.

If anything, in my opinion, it's even more vital on most wheel steering boats than on tiller-steered boats, because of the friction (more accurately, in engineering terms, hysteresis) introduced by the cables or hydraulics or whatever.

The main purpose of the stretchy cord is to establish a 'null' to which the helm will revert in the absence of any signal. That's why Letcher is at pains to point out that when the stretchy cord is NOT resisting any external load (ie at the relaxed length) the helm should be midships or slightly alee.

And tiller boats will often find their way to a null in a lull (ha!) provided they retain a bit of speed, but except from exquisitely specified, built (and maintained) racing installations, wheel steering will generally NOT find their way back to the home position.

The stretchy cord has a secondary purpose: to limit the maximum throw of the helm, to help prevent oversteering. Most good vane gears have a way of setting a 'soft' limit to this; generally innate, in the form of a negative feedback linkage operating the servo oar or trim tab, sometimes called 'differential' - but some have a further limit on the input side, generally something simple, like a bungy cord which can limit the flopover of the vane.

Did your sheet-to-wheel experiments take heed of this in any way, Newt?
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Old 20-04-2014, 21:07   #25
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To my knowledge I don't think you can get banned for laughing. I did not actually read it all, somebody asked, I had an idle moment and voila. Now I shall just have to read it.

Coops.
My apologies..I did not mean to cast aspersions on you.
It was, rather, the completeness and totality of the answer. Pre WWW days it just was not possible, and I'm a little sorry to say I've actually used the Internet since pre WWW days.
The WWW has given us all access to so much information that one just has to laugh at how easy it has all become, and you just presented a classic case of that ease.

The various sources also reminded me of the apocryphal tale of the gentleman, who obviously had more money than sense, who wagered another gentleman in similar circumstances that he could introduce a new word into the english language. Being taken up on the bet, he subsequently paid numerous street children to write the new word everywhere they could. Supposedly within a week it was in general use. Go figure.
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Old 20-04-2014, 21:10   #26
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

No offence taken at all. I usually try very hard to be funny, and most times fail, so to do so without trying is a bonus.

Coops.
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Old 20-04-2014, 21:17   #27
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No offence taken at all. I usually try very hard to be funny, and most times fail, so to do so without trying is a bonus.

Coops.
A true gentleman.
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Old 21-04-2014, 15:42   #28
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

Andrew, as you get into this, one of your main demons is friction of the system. The turn of the wheel on the valiant is one finger easy, yet there is enough friction in the system to prevent the rudder from going to neutral on its own. I use the best surgical tubing, and all the forces are set up correctly. Neutral point is achieved. You have given me an idea though. I may need to make the rudder come back to neutral by a second elastic, doing something that just came naturally in the smaller boat. Will see this summer.
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Old 21-04-2014, 15:53   #29
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

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Agreed the key is to have a vessel that wants to stay running true, or to be more precise to trim the vessel to stay running true, relatively easy to balance my boat, can leave the helm alone for significant periods, certainly reduces the effort for the auto.
I used the mainsheet to tiller on our Catalina 25 for a few years before we finally got an ap.

As you can imagine, that boat was not as stable a platform as some have suggested is necessary to make it work. In my experience, it worked just fine. I got good at it, that I'd sail on SF Bay, tacking upwind all day with, being able to adjust as necessary for crossing situations. It was very cool. The mainsheet was on the aft end of the boom, so a couple of blocks and one clam cleat on each side of the coamings aft worked very well. I used bungee cords 'cuz I didn't know any surgeons or nurses at the time!

I never got around to doing the jib sheet method. The mainsheet solution worked wonderfully going from close hauled to beam reach, after that not at all.

Letcher's book is simply amazing and is one of my most prized possessions.

I have been trying to fizzle out a way to do it with the wheel on our current boat, and thanks to Newt it looks like we have a winner. Now all I have to do is figure out how to do it with mid-boom sheeting for the main. It's probably in the book, been a while since I've re-read it.

Oh, the one thing it teaches you is how to trim your sails properly.

Thanks for the topic.
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Old 21-04-2014, 16:00   #30
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Re: Sheet to Tiller Steering

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Andrew, as you get into this, one of your main demons is friction of the system. The turn of the wheel on the valiant is one finger easy, yet there is enough friction in the system to prevent the rudder from going to neutral on its own. I use the best surgical tubing, and all the forces are set up correctly. Neutral point is achieved. You have given me an idea though. I may need to make the rudder come back to neutral by a second elastic, doing something that just came naturally in the smaller boat. Will see this summer.
newt, I think that IS the answer. IIRC, Letcher said pretty much that same thing, either a stronger one or double up.

Good luck, let us know how it worked.

Any input on mid-boom sheeting?
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