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Old 28-04-2014, 16:02   #1
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Jury self steering - help please!

Can you help? Our friend is currently sailing the Solo Trans Tasman race from NZ to Australia - at 19 he's the youngest competitor and he's doing it in the smallest boat at just 9m. Unfortunately his main & backup autohelm (tiller pilots) have died and he's been hand steering for 5 days with at least that much again ahead of him. He's understandably knackered and running out of ideas. Does anyone have any experience with or ideas for jury rigging an auto steering system that we can pass on, even if it will let him get short bursts of sleep to recharge? He has plenty of rope and a little shock cord on board, but whatever it is needs to be fairly easy to rig and also easy to explain in a sat phone call! Thanks in advance.

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Old 28-04-2014, 16:39   #2
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Re: Jury self steering - help please!

This has been discussed many times. Sheet to tiller steering will work, and I have been experimenting with wheel to sheet steering. Both will allow him to get short naps. Google sheet to tiller to see more. I have written a tutorial on Sailfar sailing forums. Let me know if I can be of any help.
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Old 28-04-2014, 16:43   #3
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Re: Jury self steering - help please!

OK, I suppose a bit more info might help.

  1. How many miles does he have to go?
  2. Is he currently sailing upwind or downwind?
  3. Is the helm heavy or light?
  4. I assume from the "tillerpilot" reference he has a tiller but just checking.
  5. Does he have any winches, cleats or solid tie off points adjacent to the tiller?
  6. If the answer to 5 is no, does he have turning blocks in his spares that he can use?
  7. For those of us technically minded, what is wrong with the tillerpilot, if you dont know, what are the symptoms? Maybe someone here can help out trying to fix it.
That should be enough to start looking at an idea or two.


You might also search the forum, there was a similar post about 6 months (maybe longer) ago about a similar situation with a lot of helpful responses
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Old 28-04-2014, 18:28   #4
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Re: Jury self steering - help please!

Thanks guys, I'd actually never heard of sheet-to-tiller steering before! Mind you, I've got a Monitor on my boat, which has never given me cause to look elsewhere for steering solutions.

To answer your questions Jonathan...
1. About 600nm - he's about half way
2. Currently reaching, but could get anything in next 600nm!
3. Not sure...
4. Yes tiller steering
5. Probably but not sure
6. I would think so
7. TP is beyond repair by the sounds of it - I think the mounting position probably wasn't ideal and put too much strain on it.

We've passed on some info about sheet-to-tiller (or boom to tiller I guess) so will see how that pans out for him. Fingers crossed!
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Old 28-04-2014, 18:42   #5
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Re: Jury self steering - help please!

Given all that the sheet to tiller will work very efficiently especially if he can balance the boat by working the sails a little bit.

If he is on a reach it can be very accurate (although it works in any conditions) and will certainly allow him to nap without a problem, get his head straight and look at the problem head on.

Best of luck to your friend, let us know how it works out.

BTW - threads about sheet to tiller steering are all over for example Sheet to Tiller Steering

or

Sheet to Tiller Steering

or

Sheet to tiller alternative setup.

to name a few

Up towards the top, towards the right is a search button, use the google search for sheet to tiller and you should gets heaps
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Old 28-04-2014, 20:47   #6
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Re: Jury self steering - help please!

See if you can provide pictures or drawings of the boat, tell us what sails he has, too. Strategies for sailing upwind and downwind are different as to sail plan and how you set things up. What kind of a boat is it? How is it rigged? Can also suggest he heave to for a few hours (one sleep) just to get enough rest to be in a little stronger position after you've had time to secure him some simple suggestions.

Simplest: dead down wind with two headsails up, main down. Sheet from each clew through a block to the tiller. Helps if the two sails are the same size.

On the wind. balance the tiller close hauled. Tie it there. Sleep till you wake up.

He probably wants to stay on course, but if he can get the boat moving in a reliable direction, then he can rest, and once rested will be in a better position to understand the instructions people from here will come up with.

We wish him well.

Ann
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Old 29-04-2014, 04:57   #7
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Re: Jury self steering - help please!

Thanks Ann, great suggestions, will pass those on. You can see the boat he's on and recent photos on his facebook page if you like - just search Atom Ant Racing.

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