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Old 12-10-2014, 09:45   #1
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Pedestal Makeover

Hi, I want to make a pedestal steering for my 30ft. Irwin. I do not want all the cables and pulleys etc...I am thinking of using a gearbox and shaft with a drag link to the rudder. Has anybody tried this? I have read and looked at all the systems for sale out there and they are way out of my budget...I can do this fairly cheap with, what I believe, better results and a more maintenance free system.
Here are a few of the gearboxes I am contemplating...
Any input is appreciated...
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Old 12-10-2014, 16:51   #2
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Re: Pedestal Makeover

First thing why a wheel on such a small boat??

You can buy my old pedestal for way way way cheaper than what it's going to cost you to fabricate one out of autoparts. You will probably end up with totally numb steering with no feed back as well. If you are into pointing the boat instead of sailing it with some feel, then it will work. Saw a 45' center cockpit homebuilt aluminum boat that used a truck steering box. The box was stronger than the rudder as he found it when he ran aground and knocked the rudder off.

Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
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Old 12-10-2014, 17:11   #3
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Re: Pedestal Makeover

Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
First thing why a wheel on such a small boat??
... He knows the chart is not the sea.
-- Philip Booth, Chart 1203
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Old 12-10-2014, 17:43   #4
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Re: Pedestal Makeover

About 10 years ago a friend of mine got a 45ft DuBois designed racer built in England in the early 80s for some US owner who did quite well with her on the Euro racing circuit in the early to mid 80s. Anyway, she had this huge single wheel which was deriguer back then which of course had it's own well aft of the cockpit. My friend, himself a former active racer and marine pro, hated it and while doing changes to the deck to reconfigure the boat as more of a liveaboard cruiser he installed the tiller. I had the chance to steer the boat before and after. And even though I've never owned a boat with a tiller nor came up from small boat sailing, I have to agree with him that even on such a large boat a tiller is much more responsive not to mention more confortable as far as cockpit layout is concerned, etc. Not to mention the ease of maintanence for autopilot related issues. I crewed with them twice from St. Pete to Miami and twice from Miami to New England and will confirm that the tiller is way better for the long trips. He harps on me to change mine to a tiller as it will open up my cockpit space considerably. I've taken it under advisement for a sometime in the future project.
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Old 12-10-2014, 20:15   #5
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Re: Pedestal Makeover

As others have said, don't discount tiller steering. It is responsive, simple and probably least expensive. Done right it can make a more usable cockpit area as well. Cables and pulleys are a tried and true system. Don't knock it until you have compared it to something else like rack and pinion. The forces on a rudder can be a lot more than one might think. I think you will find it takes a bit more than a 1.5HP gear box to handle rudder forces.

If you are going to DIY a wheel steering system consider hydraulic instead of gears. It's more flexible to engineer and more efficient.
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