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Old 12-03-2013, 08:16   #1
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Wink Edson Steering System For Windvane

I have a 34' Coast 34 sailboat, displacement around 9 tons with 27 year old Yacht Specialties pedestal that works fine. We are refitting the boat for long term offshore. Edson tells us that they figure a 30-year life for a YS pedestal and recommend a new 400 series pedestal, primarily because we have a Windvane (Monitor) don't know why the 400 series - didn't get a clear answer.

I don't want steering breakdowns offshore and probably can't get YS parts as they went out of business years ago. Edson Series 400 is slightly more expensive than their 300 series and I would bet there are fewer out there, so less used parts available. Does anyone have an opinion as to whether the 400 series steering system is needed if a boat has a Windvane? Thanks.
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Old 12-03-2013, 22:42   #2
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

before you do anything - contact Monitor and tell them what you have - they will tell you what to do and they will be right. Follow their instructions and you cant go wrong. Keep in mind that wind driven auto pilots no matter who makes them, have a mind of their own that needs to be dealt with- you have to learn to use them.
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Old 13-03-2013, 07:52   #3
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

Thanks for the input I will call Monitor. We have used the wind driven steering for years and it is easy and reliable on our double ender with long underbody.
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Old 13-03-2013, 08:05   #4
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

I'm curious about the 30 year life span of the steering pedestal. In my mind, if there is no corosion and slop in the bearings, why deep six it?
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Old 13-03-2013, 08:21   #5
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

I'm curious about the lifespan of these Yacht Specialties pedestals too. There is no problem with steering and there is some galvanic action between dissimilar metals which can probably be sanded out and repainted, but I don't know how good the bearings are. How do you check for "slop"? What I'm considering is the lifespan statement from Edson and the fact that parts are hard to obtain even here in the US.
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Old 13-03-2013, 09:40   #6
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

The simple answer is Edison wants to make money off of you. You can probably find spare sheaves for the YS and spare master links or even replace the chains before you go. Chains and sheaves are not specialty parts. Some spare parts and a workable emergency tiller, and you are good to go. You have tested your emergency tiller, havent you????? Here is a suggestion for off shore cruisers, Rig your E tiller with the fittings that it would have for windvane steering. If your main steering packs up, install the E tiller and a couple of snatch blocks for the rearranged steering lines, and go about your passage. I cant think of a more frustrating thing than to be off shore steering with the E tiller and having a perfectly good windvane doing nothing because you cant hook it up. I must add that many emergency tillers are just plain junk or un- usable ,which is why anyone with one should test it and make sure it works before you need it in an emergency. Just my 2 cents worth.____Grant.
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Old 13-03-2013, 21:22   #7
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

There is a YS steering system on the Seattle Craigs list tonight. You might want to see how much the whole system is, and take the spare parts that you think you might need. Just a thought. _____Grant.
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Old 14-03-2013, 08:40   #8
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

Good replies. I spoke to a Scanmar (monitor) rep and he said he didn't know where Edson was coming from with their statement. He said if I can move the wheel the monitor Windvane can move the wheel. So that means to me no need for a bigger pedestal/steering system.

On the Yachting Specialties pedestal for sale, that's a good catch. It's worth checking out, although, I have been reading the seller's Craigslist posts since he started parting out boats a year or two ago and I know he can't be trusted. But if I know that going in, shouldn't be a problem. Thanks!
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Old 14-03-2013, 09:14   #9
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

Annieinwa -
I have a monitor wind vane on my 48' ketch. I have Edson steering (worm gear) as well.
I have a wheel adaptor and a simrad tiller pilot driving the servo- pendulum on the wind vane when the wind isnt around and the system works fine 90% of the time. I have to hand steer in heavy currents found in tide changes but other than that - no worries.
My Edson gear is 72 years old and getting sloppy but still does the job - I'm pretty sure it'll outlast me!
My boat is a full keel, canoe stern, barn door rudder affair. Go to my pics and see it if you like.
I am really happy with the way it all worked out - I put on the Monitor and the tiller pilot for less than $2500. The tiller pilot hardly ever gets warmed up because it has no
work to do. Should last for a long time.
If you have about 4 turns lock to lock, you should be able to set it up and make it work.
Good luck!
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Old 14-03-2013, 11:45   #10
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

I will have a YS Steering System available after next week.

It was installed new on the boat when it was built in 1989 about the time YS went out of business. I took delivery of the boat in 1989 and the system has worked fine ever since.

The unit is fully functional at this time.

I am converting the boat over to a tiller.

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San Diego
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37
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Old 14-03-2013, 13:33   #11
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

If you want reliable steering that will work with a pendulum servo self steering vane, get rid of the wheel and convert to a tiller. Probably make the change for less than a boat unit. Take a look at the parts differential between wheel and tiller steering.

More than reliabililty, the vane won't be fightlng the friction, inertia, and travel limits in the cables, pulleys, chain, bearings, and the control line drum of a wheel system. My 35' boat with wheel steering came with a Monitor vane. The vane would not steer the boat below about 4k because there was not water flow across the PS rudder to turn the wheel. Steered the boat fine above 4k despite increasing weather helm. The problem was in the boats steering. Fortunately found a used WindPilot Pacific Plus auxillary rudder system that steered the boat without using the boats steering system.

I expect a self steering vane to steer the boat if the boat is moving under sail decimal k up to and beyond hull speed. As soon as I leave the confines the harbor channel and the main is up, the vane is steering the boat. Whether it's just a daysail or a 2,000 mile passage. That's the performance I demand from a self steering vane and have gotten.

As far as your Yacht Specialites Wheel System. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Do a thorough inspection. Look at the cables for frayed strands and obvious sings of replace it. Be sure all the bearings in the system are tight and not showing wear and that all sheaves turn freely. If there are issues, a machine shop may be able to resurrect the offending piece if you can't buy new replacements. Check the pedestal mounting bolts. My Edson had four large galvanized flat head machine screws fastening the pedestal to the deck. They appeared to be fine but 2 twisted off with very little torque applied when I converted to tiller steering. Water had infiltrated and rusted most of the bolts diameter away in the cockpit sole. Unless there is a fatal flaw that can't be fixed, it's way way cheaper and probably just as safe to stick with your present wheel. Of course, that is if you don't get rid of the wheel completely.
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Old 15-03-2013, 08:22   #12
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

We've thought a lot about converting to a tiller but decided to stay with a wheel. One reason is that with our cockpit with its high coamings there is limited range for a tiller from side to side without raising the tiller uncomfortably high or hinging it. While backing we often put the wheel hard over and would need more range than a tiller gives. Also, for me to see over the coach roof (I'm 5'2") from one side or the other while holding the tiller (we tried this out with the emergency tiller) I would have to sit on the coaming which I don't think is safe offshore. It is true that I won't be hand steering much offshore but inshore I like steering. Also holding on to the wheel gives me some stability in rougher weather. And we like the pedestal guard to clip lifelines to while moving around in the cockpit. The pedestal guards also hold some of our instruments. Lastly, we would have to do some pretty significant fiberglass work to accommodate a tiller. So, all in all, no tiller.
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Old 15-03-2013, 08:50   #13
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

Marc, do you have the engine controls on your pedestal? BTW, I like your website. Great pictures.
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Old 12-01-2015, 16:51   #14
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

It is usually not worth digging up threads from the past, but this one contained too much misinformation and safety concern to let it rest in the archives of the Internet...

First, a little clarification on Edson 300 versus 400 series pedestals. The 400 series pedestal has an extra aft wheel shaft bearing (for a total of 3 needle bearings) and stainless bearing liners. The 300 series pedestal has two shaft needle bearings and they ride on the aluminum housings. Why is his important? Well, Edson customer service was spot on with their recomendation, because a windvane autopilot Pulls in either one direction on the wheel shaft, or back and forth. This causes uneven wear and will elongate the bearing housing over time (oval wear pattern) - hand steering distributes the loads more evenly. The extra bearing in the 400 series and bearing liners distribute this offset load.

The guys at Monitor are great, but I wouldn't go to them for recommendations on equipment in which they do not have full expertise. Plus, they want to sell us equipment too, and adding the requirement of a pedestal upgrade to the total bill doesn't encourage sales of their equipment. On this line of thought, a Yacht Specialties system is just not worth refurbishing or repairing... They have been out of business for over 25 years and it is now a fools errand of putting less worn (aka used) parts into already very worn equipment.

The lifespan of steering equipment can vary greatly, from salt to freshwater, and from the Caribbean to the Pacific Northwest. In the overall picture, 30 years on a piece of modern sailing gear is pretty good and I wouldn't expect much more. For reference, think about how old your current car is and when you will upgrade that, and that isn't even in an environment that is a fraction as bad. Sailing equipment has maintenance and replacement schedules to keep us safe out there. If you think an emergency tiller is a comfortable back-up, think again, or give it a try for any decent passage. It can be absolutely exhausting. Steering is a critical system. Keep your equipment in shape, or if you're too cheap (as most of us sailors are), then simplify. In the case of steering systems, this means converting to tiller steering. Tillers work better for windvane steering anyway. This option isn't possible for every boat, but maybe there are other less critical areas where cost cutbacks can be made in that case.

A lot more can be said on this, but Monitor and Edson both great with customer service, so they can take you even further along than this post. Stay safe out there.
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Old 14-01-2015, 11:17   #15
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Re: Edson Steering System For Windvane

Quote:
Originally Posted by acove View Post
...The lifespan of steering equipment can vary greatly, from salt to freshwater, and from the Caribbean to the Pacific Northwest. In the overall picture, 30 years on a piece of modern sailing gear is pretty good and I wouldn't expect much more....
I would like to pick up on this and get some clarification if I may.
Your statement above - the lifespan of a modern sailing gear is 30 years. I hope an old pedestal does not fall into this category....
If it does, it makes no sense and you left a lot of assumptions out of the 4 variations provided. Picture a boat under construction for 10 years and then sailing for 20. That means the equipment is 30 years - should be replaced.
Attaching a time frame to equipment life span serves no purpose other than helping sales. This is the same as saying that you should replace the rigging after 10 years... based on what?
I have a 47 year good old boat, the pedestal has been there since day 1, all the parts can be replaced if needed, the boat has a lot of experience, I just repainted the pedestal itself, below decks everything is in great shape. Why would I replace it? To me there is no reason to replace a steering pedestal until the aluminum pedestal itself has gone bad due to corrosion, etc. If looked after, they will last much longer than 30 years.
Just saying, ...I am picky...
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