Originally Posted by Heath68
Thanks Dave, I had read the Antares site about steering linkage and must admit it looked pretty bombproof to me.
"Bombproof" is one thing, sensitivity and feedback and "feel" is another. A solid, mechanical system should serve both desires. Cats, by their nature, do not provide the generally desired helm
feedback of well designed and built monos that have good steering. This is not new news. Given that detrimental starting point, the last thing a cat should have is a poorly designed and built steering system that just exacerbates the "poor feedback" problem. The very best "system" are tillers attached to the top of the rudder
stocks. Everything else is a compromise - and the more moving parts
and opportunity for "slop" and friction in the system between rudders and helm just contributes to worse steering performance.
In the perfect world we would all have the opportunity the visit all cats we're considering buying
while they are hauled. You can learn a lot from below.
One "test" to perform is to grab one of the rudders and try to turn it. The ease of turning indicates the quality of the steering gear
. (If the system is hydraulic, I don't know enough about hydraulics to advise what to conclude. But hydraulic systems are acknowledged to have less feel.) Generally, helms located far from the rudders have to have more complicated and/or lengthy linkages. The further apart they are, the worse they will be unless engineering solutions, like solid mechanical systems, are employed.
The design of the rudders themselves are another topic altogether as regards helm feedback.
In the end, helm "feel" means nothing on autopilot
. This gets back to what you want to experience with your boat. Some people don't give a hoot about helm feel. To others, it's a big deal. Do you want to sail your boat or merely point it? Autopilots are stupid and don't care - but a good linkage system means fewer amps getting consumed by the AP.
As for other things to look at - electrical
distribution and plumbing
. Is there a rat's nest of wires behind the panels
or a haphazard run of tubing? Just compare as you look at boats and the better builds will be revealed.