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Old 13-02-2010, 12:55   #1
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Lightbulb Hydraulic vs Cable Steering

Hello me 'ole catlovers!

Reading the various designer comments and talking to experienced catsailors, I am still none the wiser what is best to choose: cable steering or hydraulic steering. The opinions vary.
On a monohull, I would never have hydraulic steering. But steering a cat, is a different sensation where fine tuning is concerned.

There are some cat designer who are quite adement about cable steering. However, I have spoken to several cat owners "in the field" who would only have hydraulic steering. Either coming off cable steering or because of years of pleasant cruising without any problems.

The pro's mentioned for cable steering is mostly the "feel factor". Some also mention the weight of hydraulic systems (although the weight thing is bollox as far as I am concerned).

However, hydraulic steering systems on cats apparently also have some "feel" to them, as long as the system is not overdimensioned. If there is pressure on the rudders, this will be felt in the steering wheel.

Also, where weight is concerned, a well laid out system (with totally clean pipes and connections) will not wear and tear as much as a cable steering system and will be lighter in it's totallity. Furthermore, plugging in the autopilot into the hydraulic system is easy. No need for extra arms, just a hydraulic junction junction box.

But, what are the experiences of people who have dealt with either system, or even better, with both!

I thank you for your comments.
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Old 13-02-2010, 15:12   #2
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Hydraulic is easier to install, especially if you want multiple helms. It's also easy to find and fit a decent quality autopilot. Makes it easier if you want kick-up rudders too.
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Old 13-02-2010, 15:33   #3
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On a monohull, I would never have hydraulic steering.

.....................

But, what are the experiences of people who have dealt with either system, or even better, with both!

I thank you for your comments.
Why not?

Obviously, you haven't been aboard a vessel set up with the latest equipment. Hydraulic Steering steering

BTW - I've just added a new piece of equipment (manually operated lock valve) that allows for feed back (if I want it). But it's main purpose is to avoid pressure build up on hot days when it's sitting idle. See Kolbelt link........

Kobelt
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Old 14-02-2010, 07:20   #4
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Over the years I've had more problems with hydraulic than cable, to the point that I wouldn't have the stuff.
Your results may vary.
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Old 14-02-2010, 07:59   #5
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I would always pick the cable, if the boat were to be steered by hand. On a full-time autopilot boats the hydraulics may make more sense.

b.
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Old 14-02-2010, 08:13   #6
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how about rod steering , direct, light with feel and multiple station possible
Both transmissiion and rack and rack and pinion steering also work great

Jefa Steering Systems
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Old 14-02-2010, 12:08   #7
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Over the years I've had more problems with hydraulic than cable, to the point that I wouldn't have the stuff.
Your results may vary.
I guess I should mention that one should be knowledgeable in hydraulics to have it. It is a Trade that requires same experience with the math and fittings.
I just hate backlash, and I do have a tiller back up, which I actually use for the windvane.

I have a friend that uses a steering gearbox from a truck hooked to a rod and onto the quadrant/rudder arm, which is pretty tight (little backlash). One just has to calculate the ratio. Should be 4-6 turns lock-to-lock.
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