The problem with servo pendulum self steering
vanes is the F^%(*)&* wheel and all the friction points that are associated with it. Wheels have so much internal drag and limited range of motion with the vane that they often don't steer worth a damn. The Monitor
that came with my current
boat wouldn't steer the boat below 4 knots of boat speed. Just not enough force generated by the servo rudder to turn the wheel. The faster the boat went, the better it steered but I don't drive so it was unacceptable. In contrast, our tiller steered Westsail 32 with its huge barndoor rudder and fearsome weather helm
at speed was steered by the Aries
Vane if the boat would move right up to surfing at hull speed
. From barely ghosting to 180 mile days, the vane steered the boat. Some wheel steered boats are reported to work just fine with a P S Vane but others have some degree of degraded performance.
These guys http://www.idasailor.com/catalog/default.php
made a tiller conversion for a 30 some foot Pearson
for the guy that ran AirForce Sails
, believe his name was Sam Boyle. There was a write up on the AirForce Website but it appears to be NLA. Might try contacting either AirForce or Idasailor. The IdaSailor fix was a sleeve that went over the rudder post with a stub steering tube that brought the steering tube above the cockpit sole for the tiller head
attachment. The puka in the cockpit sole was covered by a PTFE Plastic that covered the puka, acted as a bearing and stablizing force on the stub tiller. Sam seemed happy with the conversion.
35, is my first with a wheel and will be my last. The happiest day owning this boat will be the day that I dump the wheel in favor of a tiller. Problem is the cost. I need to pull the rudder to inspect the shaft. Can't seem to stop the shaft from leaking around the log. Fear there may be some electolysis which will necessitate replacing the rudder stock and rebuilding the rudder. Hopefully will get around to that this year. If the shaft needs replacing, it will make conversion to a tiller a no brainer. If the shaft is okay, will go with the Ida Sailor arrangement.
You can't just stick in the emergency
tiller and get a feel of what the boat will steer like with a tiller. You need to disconnect the wheel steering or you'll be fighting the wheels friction as well as the water
pressure on the rudder. Had to use the emergency tiller when the quadrant slipped on the wheel steering. It was a thorough pain fighting the wheel. Wasn't a problem when I disconnected the wheel steering cable. Unfortunately that's not all that easy to do, especially when you're faced with ramming one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.
I really don't know why this wheel fetish that has infected the sailing community, maybe it's Bligh syndrome. I find the wheel to be inferior in almost every way to a tiller. Wheels do not take less effort to steer than a tiller. Steering my boat at near hull speed
or under power with the wheels is god awful tiring. Worse, it requires forearm and hand strength that I find particularly onorous. Under the above conditions, find I have to stand to get the leverage to steer which gets old real quick. I've done three days at hull
handing a W32 without a problem except sleep depravation. A wheel leaves me wishing for a break after only a few minutes under these conditions. With the tiller, you get more muscle groups into steering which, for me, is virtually non tiring. Nothing like banging your cold fingers into the spokes of the wheel when the wet rim slips in challenging conditions. The wheel effectively blocks fore and aft movement in the cockpit. I can step over a tiller, but have to take a detour to get around the wheel. The wheel has no feel and takes forever to respond to command inputs. Heaven help you if have to make a large steering correction quickly. Cranking from center to stop just isn't fun. With a tiller, I just lean back. I can steer a tiller with my legs either standing with it between or against my legs. Really a benefit when short tacking, single
handed as I can steer and tail the winches simultaneously.
Having a wheel, just makes you the a**hole, isolated at the back of the boat, yelling commands at your crew.