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Old 26-05-2013, 18:57   #1
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Newbie question about wheel steering

Hi folks. I have a vintage (early 60's) S&S designed center cockpit sloop. It needs almost everything. I had the perkins rebuilt and I'm going to have to do something with the existing outdated and corroded hydraulic steering system. The old original aluminum binnacle is powdery when drilled and I'd like to get rid of it entirely. It occurred to me that I might install two very small wheels (port and stbd) forward (on the aft "wall" of the forward cabin). Since I'm going back with another hydraulic system, I'm thinking the size of the wheel is immaterial. But of course I've never done this before. So, I'm asking... am I missing something? Will this work? Thanks!
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Old 26-05-2013, 19:00   #2
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

P.S. Full keel, 35' LOA
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Old 26-05-2013, 19:15   #3
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

Hydraulic steering with small wheels, in my experience, is suitable only if you don't particularly like sailing. It will work fine for motoring, or on autopilot...

The problem is that it's very difficult to design a hydraulic system to provide drive-back even in the best circumstances, mainly because of friction in the cylinder seals.

Driveback is when moving the rudder causes the wheel to turn ... but the first thing to load up is the pressure in the cylinder, which energises the seals, causing them to expand against the cylinder walls.

Small wheels mean you need a low* gear ratio, which just amplifies the problem; you will have no indication through the wheel of how well the sails are trimmed, or how much helm to apply to make a course correction.

ON EDIT * ie lots of turns, hard-over port to h-o stbd

I recall a situation where out of six crew on such a boat in a particular instance of difficult conditions, broad-reaching, only one person could steer within thirty degrees of course.

This was because the low-geared hydraulic steering (combined with a long keel and a traditional, ie smallish rudder) meant that steering felt like a dialogue via an ouija board.

Unfortunately the situation was also navigationally difficult, and that person was the navigator. And making a landfall (as opposed to being blown past the destination island, in conditions where beating back to windward was unfeasible) meant scraping past an offshore, unmarked, submerged rocky pinnacle. Requiring holding course as ordered.

Satnav was giving dodgy positions, and the next land to leeward was Antarctica...
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Old 26-05-2013, 19:58   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailinstuff View Post
. So, I'm asking... am I missing something? !
Yes. You will be missing something. Feel.
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Old 26-05-2013, 20:06   #5
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

Put a tiller in and be grateful you made the decision to low maintenance, simple system that works, and that you can sail with.
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Old 27-05-2013, 05:16   #6
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Sailinstuff.
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Old 27-05-2013, 08:06   #7
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

You have a boat "that needs everything" but want to start by making even more work, more complications,more time consuming and that will not work as well as time- tested proven systems?
Reread the posts above from knowledgeable sailors and be thankful for a resource like Cruisers Forum and of course :Good Luck!
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Old 27-05-2013, 08:23   #8
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

I suspect that the OP is talking about a Chriscraft Carribean, a 35 foot center cockpit boat. Tiller steering is not a viable option, and it may not even be set up with a useable emergency tiller, but I agree that hydraulic steering is very difficult to get used to, and never gives you a good feeling for the boat. Since the boat is probably limited to a wheel, I think a standard cable system would give the best solution, but that is just my opinion.____Grant.
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Old 27-05-2013, 08:45   #9
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

+1 on the cable steering. Also, two wheels are twice as complicated for little benefit (if any).
Find a used Edson pedestal in good condition and go from there.
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Old 27-05-2013, 09:08   #10
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

Why all the negative responses on hyd. steering?
A lot of us use it and are just fine with it. And yes you can get rudder feed back on hyd's steering. Mine actually has gauges that tells one how much feed back I have and can adjust the sails to accommodate the helm.
As for big wheels they just get in the way AFAIC.
Go here for a long discussion on hyd. steering. >>>> Hydraulic Steering
Or here>>> http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...-steering.html


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Old 27-05-2013, 13:11   #11
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

Thanks. I've seen the discussions on hydraulic steering. My question is not about hydraulic steering. My question is about wheel size and whether wheel size matters in a hydraulic steering installation.

I'm asking because I can not see how it would matter but maybe I'm missing something.
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Old 27-05-2013, 13:41   #12
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailinstuff View Post
My question is about wheel size and whether wheel size matters.
too easy. Insert obvious pun here.
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Old 27-05-2013, 14:27   #13
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

haha I'm really wondering if that's the only reason wheel size matters on a hydraulic system.
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Old 27-05-2013, 14:57   #14
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailinstuff View Post
Thanks. I've seen the discussions on hydraulic steering. My question is not about hydraulic steering. My question is about wheel size and whether wheel size matters in a hydraulic steering installation.

I'm asking because I can not see how it would matter but maybe I'm missing something.
Yeah, sometimes people seem to insist on you "making it their way" on this forum. I see no issue with going to the bulkhead mounted steering pump. Should be an easy modification (as boat mods go!) power boats with much harder-to-steer outdrives do this with small wheels. You dont need two wheels, I'm sure you can see fine from one side of the cockpit or the other. The other plus is getting the helm up where you are shielded by the dodger. Great idea.
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Old 27-05-2013, 14:59   #15
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Re: Newbie question about wheel steering

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
Put a tiller in and be grateful you made the decision to low maintenance, simple system that works, and that you can sail with.
Boy.... that's gonna be a long tiller on a cc boat! I guess he could sit in a lawn chair in back!
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