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Old 30-08-2011, 11:44   #16
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

I have to admit that I appreciate the size of my wheel when Lake Michigan throws up 10' chop - it gives me more to hang onto!
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Old 30-08-2011, 23:31   #17
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

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Originally Posted by simonmd View Post
Yes, simple ease of use is a factor but on sailing boats specifically, the wheel size is also determined by the cockpit size. The wheel needs to be reachable and useable from both sides so there are two options, A. a big wheel that spans the width of the cockpit, or B, two wheels, one either side. This is because the helmsman will generaly steer from the higher side of the cockpit so he can see clearly when the boat is healed over.

The reason that the wheel on most Cat's is much smaller is because they don't heal over and therefore, the helm does not need to be accessable from either side.

Look at the size of the helm on the Beneteau First 40.7 for example,
http://imagenes.cosasdebarcos.com/ba...765484557g.jpg
Simply that big so it spans the width of the cockpit.
Ok that wheel is HUUUGE! It's almost like they took the wheel and added the yacht as an afterthought
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Old 31-08-2011, 00:18   #18
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

... of course, in a car, your vision generally isn't blocked by a jib, genoa, or spinnaker.
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Old 31-08-2011, 00:31   #19
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

This wheel isn't the conventional shape and size and she seems to be handling it ok...

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Old 31-08-2011, 00:41   #20
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

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This wheel isn't the conventional shape and size and she seems to be handling it ok...

Uh. There's a boat in that picture? What wheel? Kinda lost focus there for a bit.
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Old 31-08-2011, 00:51   #21
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

Can't compete with that. (But it appears she is motoring, or worse yet play acting) rather than sailing a sailboat. That's the greater sin.)

Anyway, my wheel is big enough.

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Old 31-08-2011, 01:51   #22
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

On the motoring cruising cat, there isn't much of a high side -- unless the crew got a hold of something illegal... or someone was dumb enough to go into conditions beyond the crew's ability. That looks like maybe one of those high-falutin' high-dollar folding wheels.
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Old 31-08-2011, 06:28   #23
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

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That steering position is way too exposed.
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Old 31-08-2011, 06:33   #24
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

I've heard size doesn't matter.
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Old 31-08-2011, 06:37   #25
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

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The forces at work on the rudder are also tremendously variable. The helmsperson may be using a very delicate touch to steer precisely with fine adjustments and minimum drag in light conditions, yet also need to have lots of leverage in heavy conditions. And, at the same time, the steering mechanisms can potentially exposed to harsh conditions and need to be as simple and rugged as possible.

My Hunter 31 came with a HUGE wheel -- so big that the side benches are "cut-away," meaning no one can sleep in the cockpit -- what a crime!!

Someone made a wooden table-thing to fill in one of those gaps, but the wheel was so big that it made it VERY difficult to leave the helm quickly if needed.

I traded with a friend -- he has a bigger boat but a smaller wheel. The smaller wheel has about a 6" smaller radius. It doesn't sound like much but it still leaves the wheel plenty big enough to manage the boat, and ... you can get out from behind it when you need to now. With the smaller wheel, a handicapped friend of mine will be able to get behind the wheel and actually participate in sailing the boat instead of just being a passenger.

The bigger wheel suited the looks of the boat, but it was impractical and unnecessary for it to be that big.
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Old 31-08-2011, 06:38   #26
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

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I've heard size doesn't matter.
Can't really tell. She's facing the wrong way.
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Old 31-08-2011, 08:06   #27
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

A larger wheel provides more leverage, is easier to reach when sitting to the side and many think it looks better.

I had a smaller wheel on one boat and preferred it. I'm thinking of replacing the large wheel on my Hunter with a smaller one because it's a pain to get around.
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Old 31-08-2011, 08:25   #28
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

It's not simply a matter of greater mechanical advantage (leverage).

On a racing boat, the helmsman never sits behind the wheel to steer. Rather, he will sit on the high (windward) side of the boat. This not only helps flatten the boat by getting all the crew weight on the high side, but it gives him a better look at the luff of the jib so that he can steer in such a way that the sails are drawing fully. To do this you either need a large wheel, or two wheels, one on each side of the cockpit.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:54   #29
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Re: Why Is the Helm Wheel So Large ?

Large sailing dinghys have big wheels too, and very deep, skinny keels and rudders.

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