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Old 28-08-2013, 20:51   #31
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Originally Posted by dugout View Post
I'm a tiller person. I can't see myself with a boat that doesn't have a tiller. That is just me and to each his own. The one big negative, for me, is it eliminates the possibility of a below decks pilot but it would never drive me to wheel steering.
On the contrary. Just attach a below deck linear drive to a tiller arm on the rudder post (or in my case the old cable quadrant). Best setup. I have a switch that activates the servo lock without AP when I just want to lock the tiller (ie balanced upwind sailing) without using as much power. Or set full AP and flip tiller up to vertical.

I converted to tiller as did roverhi, and haven't looked back. Love steering from the rail with extension (great visibility) or under the dodger in snotty crap. Or tiller between legs while singlehanding with full spinnaker (have done several times).

Aother big advantage not mentioned yet- in sudden quartering seas, broach conditions, downwind, much easier to go stop to stop on rudder to correct a yawing motion. With a wheel, you often get behind due to time it takes to get rudder to correct. Ie mechanical advantage slows you down too much.
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Old 28-08-2013, 21:13   #32
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

The one of the first things I did when I got my current boat was to tear out the wheel and replace it with a tiller, to this day I have no regrets.

The boat is a Phillipe Briand designed 40 footer from the eighties with a shoal draft fin and a balance spade rudder that weighs in around 9 tons, drives great with a stick! I have left the original quadrant in place which means I have the option of mounting a below deck autopilot.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits to tiller steering, I have found that the range of rotation of my wheel steering was limited by the quadrant and cables, and that by changing the rudder stops after I got rid of the wheel, I picked up +/- 15 degrees of range. This has proven to be very useful when backing down in a tight marina and no, I personally do not have problems with the rudder getting away from me when I do.

Maybe one more thing, use of a tiller does not require having an emergency tiller onboard!
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Old 28-08-2013, 21:33   #33
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by malbert73 View Post
On the contrary. Just attach a below deck linear drive to a tiller arm on the rudder post.
Well in many boats like mine the shaft is enclosed in a solid tube, hull to deck. To access the post the rudder shaft tube would need to be cut off and a stuffing box added to seal the hull. I don't want it that bad. I do have a Vane Gear.

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Old 28-08-2013, 21:47   #34
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by FLLCatsailor View Post
Depends on the boat, and how you use your boat

and there you go, couldnt have said it better...
Our First 42 has a very ballanced rudder which only takes finger tip control to keep her in line on the large 48 inch wheel..
very little energy used by myself or the auto helm when traveling distance..
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Old 28-08-2013, 23:29   #35
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by CapnBrown View Post
I agree about the tiller pilots being cheaper and in both ways. I would think the wheel steering affords extra purchase on the loading of the rudder. So I would think you would need a more formidable use of power on the tiller pilot. If the tiller pilot is less expensive I would think that would go hand in hand with less power. I guess there's an exorcise here to examine the power outputs on the units. To the subject of the thread though I would think you could still use an under the deck model on either wheel or tiller. No?
Yes, this is exactly what I had in mind as well. The idea is that you have all the agility of a tiller when needed and when you go cruising you tilt-up the tiller and press AUTO to engage the AP. You have a clean and quiet cockpit without clutter from either sticks, AP, poles or wheels.

I asked the dealer if you could just replace the current ST6000+ tiller autopilot for a below deck mounted linear drive (e.g. M81130) but he said you needed to replace the course computer and other components, adding up to 4000 EUR+ investment excl. labor. He also mentioned when the AP is not engaged you always feel some extra resistance because it remains permanently mounted. This is probably less noticable when using a wheel.

Another option is to make a tiller extension that points astern when the tiller is up and hook this end up to a wind vane. So you also have a clean and quiet cockpit and can choose between waypoint or wind-based self steering modes. Not sure if there are any disadvantages other than some extra engineering because it is not the standard setup.

Does anybody have any experience combining a tiller with a linear drive AP or reverse stick wind vane setups?
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Old 29-08-2013, 00:46   #36
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Before the BMW drivers took over sailing, boats up to 40' or even larger came stock with a tiller.
The well known (at least in the Netherlands) Dutch sailor and naval architect Gerhard Dijkstra had a 53' yacht built for himself. With tiller...
See it here:
Bestevaer 53ST Bestevaer II / K&M Yachtbuilders
If only I had a few million lying around...

Personally I prefer a tiller too, which is why I find the RM range by Fora Marine so interesting. Modern hulls, but their 35' and 40' both can be had with tiller steering. Tiller steering btw doesn't mean you can't have a below deck AP drive...


Quote:
Just as it's gotten harder to near impossible to find cars with manual transmissions
Hmmm. This side of the pond manual is still standard, although I do prefer automatics... Especially the DSG you find in VW's and Audis...
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Old 29-08-2013, 01:47   #37
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

The easiest thing to do is make a stub tiller out of square stock aluminum tubing that stops where a pendulum servo vane hooks on with a slip in wooden extension when you want to hand steer. Most people wouldn't bother with it and just let a self steering handle the steering with a normal length tiller.

Wind Vane Self Steering is simple, reliable and doesn't eat electrons. The only reason to have an autopilot is for powering. Doesn't take much of an autopilot to steer a boat under power. YOu can also hook a tiller pilot to the wind sensing section of the vane and have a very very low drain autopilot.

AFAIK Raymarine does not make a ST6000 tiller pilot. They make a range of self contained tiller pilots and the SPX5 tiller pilot with seperate computer and control head in two flavors. The standard model is good to 13,000#s displacement and the Grand Prix to 16,000#s. The electronics are the same for the two models, only the tiller ram control is different. When you have a chance to look at the boat again. Check how the rudder stock is carried through the hull to the deck. Since most of these boats were built with a wheel, they may have used a packing gland. If that is the case, all you'd have to do is add a stub tiller below deck and the A/P of your choice. If you use a hydraulic drive for the A/P, you can install a by pass valve and have virtually no drag on the tiller under vane or manual steering.
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Old 29-08-2013, 05:17   #38
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Originally Posted by Maartster View Post

Yes, this is exactly what I had in mind as well. The idea is that you have all the agility of a tiller when needed and when you go cruising you tilt-up the tiller and press AUTO to engage the AP. You have a clean and quiet cockpit without clutter from either sticks, AP, poles or wheels.

I asked the dealer if you could just replace the current ST6000+ tiller autopilot for a below deck mounted linear drive (e.g. M81130) but he said you needed to replace the course computer and other components, adding up to 4000 EUR+ investment excl. labor. He also mentioned when the AP is not engaged you always feel some extra resistance because it remains permanently mounted. This is probably less noticable when using a wheel.

Another option is to make a tiller extension that points astern when the tiller is up and hook this end up to a wind vane. So you also have a clean and quiet cockpit and can choose between waypoint or wind-based self steering modes. Not sure if there are any disadvantages other than some extra engineering because it is not the standard setup.

Does anybody have any experience combining a tiller with a linear drive AP or reverse stick wind vane setups?


I have a raymarine linear drive below decks with a tiller, as I noted above. Used a metal bracket on the existing bronze quadrant arm. The extra resistance is noticeable if I wag the rudder out of the water. In the water, the water resistance over the blade is far greater than the inertial resistance of the linear drive so I don't notice except when sculling the rudder in light air (ie to turn the boat when becalmed)

Overall, the setup works great.

I was told a hydraulic linear drive would have caused more noticeable resistance.
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Old 29-08-2013, 06:03   #39
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
We've been out in a number of large Lake Superior "blows," where the big wind and seas are coming from all over hell's creation. In these circumstances I definitely prefer the tiller over the wheel for hand steering. The more direct connection to the water allows me a much better feel of what's going on. I can more easily anticipate momentum shifts than with the wheel, which makes the steering a lot less active. I suspect it is less strenuous overall.
I am surprised how many prefer a tiller even on big boats. Converting over to a tiller on my Slocum would not be a big deal other than taking away cockpit space depending on which tack your on. Using an emergency tiller is another story. Access to the rudder shaft is not a problem. Working it around the wheel and pedestal is. Thinking instead of a tiller, mounting a smaller wheel to the shaft say 18"-24" so it lays horizontal. Anyone ever try that?

Looking at your Rafiki and cockpit you definitely have more space while sailing and in port. My cockpit is smaller and the wheel would have to be removed to come close to the space you have. This could be one of the reasons why the Slocum 37 didn't take off. All all I am pleased with the teak over stainless wheel and pedestal with 6" Binnacle. The quadrant and associated hardware are robust and I'd be a fool to change it. Besides, she came with an Alpha 3000 autopilot that still works. Talk about a robust pilot. She may not track with my GPS but you just dial her in and she locks directly to the rudder shaft.

Still would like to know if anyone out there knows how many Slocum 37's were built and what the sale price was back in the '85.

RT
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Old 29-08-2013, 06:37   #40
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by malbert73 View Post
I have a raymarine linear drive below decks with a tiller, as I noted above. Used a metal bracket on the existing bronze quadrant arm. The extra resistance is noticeable if I wag the rudder out of the water. In the water, the water resistance over the blade is far greater than the inertial resistance of the linear drive so I don't notice except when sculling the rudder in light air (ie to turn the boat when becalmed)

Overall, the setup works great.

I was told a hydraulic linear drive would have caused more noticeable resistance.
I called the Raymarine dealer and they said it was possible to replace the tiller mounted drive unit with a linear drive without changing the other components. He also mentioned that this tiller-linear drive setup that you have is used in many racing boats so apparently there is no major downside over tiller mounted AP except for higher cost.
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Old 29-08-2013, 06:55   #41
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Wind Vane Self Steering is simple, reliable and doesn't eat electrons. The only reason to have an autopilot is for powering. Doesn't take much of an autopilot to steer a boat under power.

AFAIK Raymarine does not make a ST6000 tiller pilot. They make a range of self contained tiller pilots and the SPX5 tiller pilot with seperate computer and control head in two flavors. The standard model is good to 13,000#s displacement and the Grand Prix to 16,000#s. The electronics are the same for the two models, only the tiller ram control is different.
This is our exact setup roverhi. Our vane does most of the steering work (an Aries), except when we're in very light airs, or more commonly, when we're motoring (b/c we have very light airs). We have the SPX-5 GP version, which is still undersized for our boat, but it was biggest cockpit mounted one I could find. So far no issues, no problems. Seems tough and well built. It does a fine job keeping the boat on track, but I wouldn't use it (on our boat) in heavy conditions.

This gets me to the one downside of our tiller and transom-hung rudder: no place to attach a robust below-deck pilot. But as I say, the vane does all the heavy lifting anyway.
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Old 29-08-2013, 11:40   #42
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

I'd say the choice depends as much on the type of boat as it does the size.

In my case, I have a little 19' Menger cruising catboat that came with a tiller. Now catboats are known for having considerable weather helm under some conditions -- although mine isn't too bad -- and using a tiller often requires a lot of length for leverage... as well as a place to brace your feet (I know... reducing sail or adjusting the centerboard usually gets rid of much of the weather helm, but sometimes you just have to deal with it).

The tiller on my Menger is quite long and it doesn't hinge upward because it comes aboard under the taffrail. It sweeps over about half of the relatively large cockpit and makes reaching the engine controls awkward during close-quarters boat handling. It also makes having a small cockpit table that is usable under way problematic. In short, it is the biggest PITA on what is otherwise a great boat. I plan to replace it this winter with a rack and pinion quadrant steerer with a small traditional wheel way aft.

Many small catboats are also so beamy that it is impossible to brace your feet on the opposite seat. These are often fitted with wheel steering for just that reason.
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