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Old 03-09-2010, 15:20   #31
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And so far everybody seems to agree here that they like tillers - but - have any really used them? Especially on mid-size cruising boats? That is the 35-45ft size boats.
- - And it also seems those advocating tillers are very "forward thinking" on this subject - but - there is the other side of tillers, especially large long tillers - - steering the boat in reverse. It is not uncommon while backing down to maneuver into a slip or to avoid a shoal grounding for direct coupled tillers to slam the helmsman right in the gut or legs. It is known that others in the cockpit within range of the tiller arm have been also slammed or hit by the tiller arm as the rudder goes hard over while backing down. Simply put a tiller can be very hazardous when trying to maneuver in reverse.
- - Wheel steering will also go hard over during backing - but - the wheel only spins until the rudder stop is encountered - you do not have a long lever arm sweeping/hitting folks in its arc of swing.
- - So when deciding about getting a larger boat and choosing between Tiller or Wheel a little "backwards" thinking is appropriate.
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Old 03-09-2010, 15:33   #32
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"Wheel puts the helmsman at the back of the boat?"

Duh! What about a center cockpit, with wheel steering?

Ken
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Old 03-09-2010, 15:36   #33
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Quote:
- - So when deciding about getting a larger boat and choosing between Tiller or Wheel a little "backwards" thinking is appropriate.
----but it is easier to sail the boat astern, say for manuevering, with a tiller. One of the first lessons taught in Optimists.
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Old 03-09-2010, 20:17   #34
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Does Blue Stocking have a tiller? I have always admired the Rhodes Reliant
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Old 03-09-2010, 21:48   #35
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Tillers on large boats.

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
And so far everybody seems to agree here that they like tillers - but - have any really used them? Especially on mid-size cruising boats? That is the 35-45ft size boats.
I raced on a Cal 40 with a tiller for 3yr and another one with a wheel for half a season. I have an acquaintance with a Morgan OI41 with wheel and a friend with a Cal40 with tiller, both of whom I have cruised with. My best friend's father had a share in a San Juan 34 with wheel for most of a decade that we cruised on several times. I chartered a Catalina 30 with a wheel for a week. I have a friend with a Cal34/tiller that I have cruised on many times.

I'd rather use a tiller than a wheel up to at least 40'. It will be a requirement on the next boat. I understand that at some point a wheel becomes a necessity, but that will be the point I decide on a slightly smaller boat.

As for backing, I'd rather get whacked in the thigh by a tiller than have my hand thru the wheel as it passes the binacle.

On the Cal34, the rudder will do a complete 360 so backing is a breeze. Of course there are very few boats that will do that.

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Old 03-09-2010, 23:07   #36
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I would just like to add, one very nice thing about the tiller is ability to steer without an autopilot. I have a tiller tamer system on my boat (a $30 pulley, line, and brake system). Set up with some slight weather helm to keep tension on the tiller, and the boat will go straight for many minutes (or longer) without input. If the boat turns to windward, the weather helm decreases and the tiller turns harder to leeward. If the boat tries to turn to leeward, the weather helm increases and causes the boat to point up. There's some finesse and practice involved, but it's a great system that let's me go out and sail singlehanded while I procrastinate on actually installing a tillerpilot. The same simply can't be done with a wheel, since you don't get that weather helm feedback.
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Old 04-09-2010, 00:56   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
And so far everybody seems to agree here that they like tillers - but - have any really used them? Especially on mid-size cruising boats? That is the 35-45ft size boats.
.
A tiller works very well on my 47 foot yacht. The reality is that a boat like this is steered on autopilot most of the time, but the tiller has a great direct feel with no slop which makes helming enjoyable. The steering forces are slightly heavier than a wheel, but recently had a 5 year old boy on board who loved steering an did so for many hours at time, so the forces are still quite light. The boat will sail on own with the sheets trimmed for a long time anyway (50mins when I last tried)
In reverse, at speed, you do need a firm hand on the tiller, but it is not a great problem, just something you need to aware of. The advantage of the tiller in marina manoeuvring is that you can rapidly make major changes in the rudder deflection and there is never any doubt about the rudders position.

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What I like about wheels is that they are conducive to standing which provides better line of sight. .

It is easy to helm standing up with the between your knees. I have not yet perfected the Greek fishing style which is one foot for the tiller and one for the throttle.
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Old 04-09-2010, 16:39   #38
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Most of the boats I've sailed had tiller steering. Two 26ft sloops and a 31foot sloop. My Offshore 38 has hydraulic wheel steering. There are several things about it I don't like, the primary being that no matter how much I bleed the system there is always a dead spot of about 1/8-3/16 of a turn on the wheel before she answers. the feel you get with this is pretty useless. The second thing, and this is scary is that the rudder quadrant is welded to the rudder shaft, so there is no way to remove the rudder for servicing. There is also no way to put an emergency tiller on the shaft as the shaft and quadrant are completely isolated. I suppose you could sit in the lazarette and steer with your feet if need be but you couldn't see a damn thing. Another thing I don't like, tangential to the wheel set up, is the way the builder put the throttle and gear shift, its not on the pedestal but built into the back wall of the cockpit. Very awkward. The pedestal is a home made mishmash, the upper housing is a stamped stainless kitchen pan such as you find in a cafeteria steam table. Ergo no room for any engine control bits.



I find the wheel to be a comfortable arrangement, with a purpose built seat behind the wheel and two decent coamings on either side so you can sit on the high side. However, I do like the tiller and the feedback you get from it. I'm planning on removing the wheel and all its bits, rebuilding the rudder and putting on a tiller.

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Old 04-09-2010, 17:04   #39
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What drives me nuts is a picture of a sailor at his precious wheel, looking upwind and looking oh so nautical. Then you find out he's steering a 28 or 30 footer, and all you can do is shake your head.
That's us

We fitted a wheel to a tiller steered 31 ft boat because Susie at 11 yrs couldn't handle the tiller under sail, whilst the wheel offered much better gearing.

In practise we use both. Around the very busy waters of the Solent, stand up steering gives a better view which is essential. Across channel on passage the tiller pilot is connected to the tiller to do the hard bit so I can sit under the sprayhood or even go and put the kettle on.

Have sailed both, but prefer the wheel, although do agree you have better feedback via the tiller.

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Old 04-09-2010, 19:58   #40
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I can't say that I rather have one over the other. I have had more boats with tillers and at one time I was sure that I would not have the "feel" for the boat with the wheel. Now I have a wheel with hydraulic steering and no "feel" to speak of at the wheel, but with the loss of one sense others are heightened. Certainly with the numb touch to my wheel I must be atuned to the lift of the windward rail, the wisps on the water, the breeze on my neck and my sails and telltales......and the spilling of my drink.......... and my wife telling me to head up. Sure I get feedback!
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Old 04-09-2010, 20:03   #41
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I would only like a wheel in a boat that does need the purchase/advantage given by the wheel. Maybe also if there are any visibility issues. I think the biggest boat I have seen so far with the tiller was a 54 Dykstra. But they say it is not the limit (some Open 60 are tiller controlled, aren't they).

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Old 04-09-2010, 21:27   #42
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. . . There are several things about it I don't like, the primary being that no matter how much I bleed the system there is always a dead spot of about 1/8-3/16 of a turn on the wheel before she answers. the feel you get with this is pretty useless.
The second thing, and this is scary is that the rudder quadrant is welded to the rudder shaft, so there is no way to remove the rudder for servicing.
There is also no way to put an emergency tiller on the shaft as the shaft and quadrant are completely isolated. I suppose you could sit in the lazarette and steer with your feet if need be but you couldn't see a damn thing. . . Sabre

Hydraulic steering is used where great forces are needed for steering or where it is near impossible to run cables or push/pull rods.
- - A non-responsive zone as you described normally is not due to the hydraulic part of the system. Assuming you have a reservoir and pressure gauge, you pre-load the system for about 20 to 30 psi air pressure. That takes care of the possibility of any air in the system. If the system will not hold pressure then there is hydraulic lead which must be fixed.
- - What is "normally" the problem is a loose hydraulic ram or linkage to the rudder quadrant/tiller or a rudder post quadrant/tiller that is slipping.
- - As the ram pushes or pulls something is moving or slipping that shouldn't and that gives you that "dead zone." It is also possible that the piston pump which is directly attached to the steering wheel is slipping on the pump shaft.
- - You need to measure the ram extension at a given rudder position and then move the wheel through the "dead zone" and remeasure the ram extension. The two measurements should be different. If not find what is slipping. If once you reach full rudder throw the wheel can still be rotated than you have a leaking pump or leaking ram.
- - The quadrant or tiller off the rudder post should not be welded and might just be oxidation "welded." If it is welded that would not be too much of a problem for an emergency tiller. The emergency tiller is normally a large I.D. pipe that slides down over the rudder post head or can be altered to fit into the quadrant or rudder tiller arm. The emergency tiller then extends vertically up through the deck/cabin top and has a horizontal arm that becomes the new tiller.
**But** you have to install a bypass valve in the hydraulic system or you will not be able to move the rudder with the emergency tiller. The bypass valve is a ball valve that has hoses that connect to each outlet/port of the hydraulic ram. You normally have to install Tee-fittings to allow the main steering hydraulic lines to join with the bypass valve. When the bypass valve is opened it allows hydraulic fluid to vent from one side of the ram to the other side as you manually turn the rudder.
- - Hydraulic steering has no feedback and knowing the rudder position is not possible without a rudder indicator gauge. Most autopilots for hydraulic systems come with a rudder position gauge feature. And it is not difficult to install an independent one if you do not have an autopilot. The positive side of hydraulic steering is you can position the wheel anywhere you want on the boat and run hoses to it. You can also install auxillary steering stations by adding tee"s and hose and another wheel and hydraulic pump.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:02   #43
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Hydraulic steering - looks great on paper, but I am yet to see a nice application of the theory in a real life boat.

Based only on personal and biased experience:
- tiller best,
- direct drive (rod+cogwheel) second, and best of wheel systems,
- chain next,
- wires follow,
- hydraulics last.

I base my likes and dislikes 90% on how the system feels and 10 on how difficult it is to maintain and fix.

Sure thing, as said above - at times hydraulics can be the only way to go, and they can be executed brilliantly.

b.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:21   #44
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... Sure thing, as said above - at times hydraulics can be the only way to go, and they can be executed brilliantly.
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In which case (hydraulic steering) will not only look great on paper, but would be a nice application of the theory in a real life boat.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:41   #45
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Yep.

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