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Old 15-02-2017, 23:12   #16
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Originally Posted by GILow View Post
There was a 34 foot ferro ketch at my yacht club a few years ago that had a Fleming wind vane driving the wheel steering via a fairly small diameter drum on the face of the wheel. The owner was an excellent sailor (and a bush pilot, so a pretty squared away guy) and he said it worked brilliantly. I believe him but I never had a chance to go out on the boat so I don't know how heavy or balanced the wheel steering felt in normal conditions.

So it can work, but on our heavy old tub I am pretty sure such an arrangment could not be made to work.

Matt
Matt servo pendulum vanes like the Fleming can generate a LOT of thrust on the tiller or wheel. It is quite common for big,heavy wheel steered boats to use such vanes successfully. I bet Manera would do fine with one.

But the OP was investigating the use of sheet/tiller type arrangements but applied to a wheel, and I'm afraid it will be pretty hard to work out.

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Old 16-02-2017, 01:09   #17
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Would that have been one of these?

www.flemingselfsteer.com/products/


Yep! Just the thing. But I now see Jim's post that gently points out that I missed the point completely.

Sigh.


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Old 16-02-2017, 01:12   #18
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Matt servo pendulum vanes like the Fleming can generate a LOT of thrust on the tiller or wheel. It is quite common for big,heavy wheel steered boats to use such vanes successfully. I bet Manera would do fine with one.



But the OP was investigating the use of sheet/tiller type arrangements but applied to a wheel, and I'm afraid it will be pretty hard to work out.



Jim

Oops! Blush icon not available on my iPhone.

Yes, there are some Fleming vanes in service on Swanson 42s.

But I have my half, nay three quarters, built auxiliary rudder windvane which will be much better. I hope.


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Old 16-02-2017, 02:28   #19
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Another approach, used by many who use vanes on wheel steered boats is to rig an auxiliary tiller for use with the vane. This could be adapted from one's emergency tiller (you do have such on your wheel steered boat,, don't you?), or be purpose built. However you fit the tiller, that is what you would use for your sheet/tiller self steering setup. Jim
This is what we do. It works because the wheel steering is via a drag link from the pedestal to the rudder shaft, so very little resistance. A system involving cables, chain or multiple shafts and uj joints may have too much resistance for a tiller pilot or sheet. Replacing the tiller pilot with a sheet arrangement would be simple enough.

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Old 16-02-2017, 08:02   #20
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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But I have my half, nay three quarters, built auxiliary rudder windvane which will be much better. I hope.
The primary question, in risk assessment, is what are the consequences of a failure.

Losing auto-steering when single-handing is a major problem, which means that having a backup method is, in my mind, mandatory.

I'm not arguing that you should use sheet-to-wheel instead of a wind vane, only that I'd want figure out how to make sheet-to-wheel work, so I'd have something to fall back on, when the wind vane fails.

If I can't make it work, I need to either buy an electric autopilot, or figure out how to rig an emergency tiller and how to make that work with sheet-to-tiller.

Heading out alone with known single-points-of-failure makes me very nervous.
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Old 16-02-2017, 08:47   #21
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

Jedge, give the method I described (and in the video) a try and let us know how it works. I don't foresee any problems. It was designed as a cheap backup system for just the purpose you describe. All it costs is $2 for surgical tubing.

Remember that the key to any sheet-to-tiller system is that the sails MUST be well balanced. No system has the strength to overcome weather helm or lee helm. As I say in the book, the strength required to move the tiller should be no more than that of a 2 year old girl. Anything more than this is just slowing the boat down.
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Old 16-02-2017, 14:46   #22
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Jedge, give the method I described (and in the video) a try and let us know how it works. I don't foresee any problems. It was designed as a cheap backup system for just the purpose you describe. All it costs is $2 for surgical tubing.

Remember that the key to any sheet-to-tiller system is that the sails MUST be well balanced. No system has the strength to overcome weather helm or lee helm. As I say in the book, the strength required to move the tiller should be no more than that of a 2 year old girl. Anything more than this is just slowing the boat down.
One can usually trim out resistance from helm balance issues. The real issue on many boats is frictional losses, and those are harder to remove. I've steered boats where the static helm forces were far greater than your two year old's abilities... let alone when under way!

Sheet loads can be quite high on some boats, so there is potentially a lot of force available to drag the tiller up. It will take some heroic elastic tubing to drag it back down if there is a lot of friction!

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Old 16-02-2017, 21:47   #23
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

Foolish's video of use of storm jib notwithstanding, I don't see sheet to tiller or certainly sheet to wheel really beating out other options in a pinch in larger boats. Lechter certainly describes a variety of configurations, but they are on a very small boat, with much lower loads. The set up that does seem to make sense even for a larger boat was the twin headsails for running, with sheets run back to the tiller. In any case, at least with my boat, I can set the sails and tiller so that she'll sail fine by herself close hauled to just about a beam reach, just not as fast as a with a good windvane or ap. With a wheel that would make even more sense. Ok I have not tried it yet, but even with a fool's purchase, I think my sheet loads will overwhelm it pretty quickly... time to buy a bunch of blocks and surgical tubing! Maybe there is a thread somewhere in this to rival Noelex and Panope's anchors!
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Old 17-02-2017, 08:40   #24
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Foolish's video of use of storm jib notwithstanding, I don't see sheet to tiller or certainly sheet to wheel really beating out other options in a pinch in larger boats.
What are the other options "in a pinch".

I mean, assuming your autopilot or windvane has packed it in, are there options other than sheet-to-tiller?
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Old 17-02-2017, 11:44   #25
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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What are the other options "in a pinch".



I mean, assuming your autopilot or windvane has packed it in, are there options other than sheet-to-tiller?

Rigging some kind of drag device seems to behave a little like an autopilot from what I have read.


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Old 17-02-2017, 11:57   #26
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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One can usually trim out resistance from helm balance issues. The real issue on many boats is frictional losses, and those are harder to remove. I've steered boats where the static helm forces were far greater than your two year old's abilities... let alone when under way!

Sheet loads can be quite high on some boats, so there is potentially a lot of force available to drag the tiller up. It will take some heroic elastic tubing to drag it back down if there is a lot of friction!
Your comments are absolutely correct, but are the exact reason why all of these extra loads must be eliminated for a sheet-to-tiller steering system. We are working with limited amount of strength here. It won't work if he is unable to eliminate these loads, but with proper sail balance he should be able to do so.

Quote:
I don't see sheet to tiller or certainly sheet to wheel really beating out other options in a pinch in larger boats.
Remember that the OP is only planning to use this as a secondary, emergency system after his main system fails. It's not perfect, but it does work. 50 years ago people actually sailed around the world in heavy wooden boats using this type of system. I can't recommend strongly enough that you all give it a try. It's amazingly simple to set up. You've got nothing to lose by trying.
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Old 17-02-2017, 11:57   #27
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

As others have pointed out, it's a question of friction/force, degree of travel, and balance, and every boat is going to be different.

A Monitor wind vane's wheel assembly, attached to the helm, if rigged properly (i.e. according to Scanmar's instructions) will only give you 360 degrees of wheel turn off center in either direction. The wheel itself is small, so there is less line travel required to turn the wheel, BUT, that is the purpose of the swimming vane, to provide sufficient force to turn the wheel. Even in Monitor setups friction is critical, and if the control lines are not run as straight as possible, or there is chafe, the system will not perform well.

And it does all come down to balance and how good you are at setting up your boat. I can balance my boat fairly easily on anything other than a deep reach, which is what allows the Monitor to work at all. Your and your boat's ability to balance itself on a point of sail is the critical piece in all this. If the boat is not balanced, virtually no approach at self-steering is going to work.

Jdege, I would argue that depending on what your plans are, just one of those solutions may not be adequate. I single-hand almost entirely, and have an Alpha autopilot and Monitor. Having a powered autopilot is a serious plus in a huge range of circumstances. I've been on a long voyage where mine broke and it was a serious PITA. You don't realize how useful it is and how much you rely on it until it stops working, lol.
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Old 17-02-2017, 12:14   #28
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

Slight thread drift here, but on another recent thread someone commented that you can't use a wind vane when under power. Why is this?

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Old 17-02-2017, 12:22   #29
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Slight thread drift here, but on another recent thread someone commented that you can't use a wind vane when under power. Why is this?

Pete
You can if the wind is strong enough and you want to motor to a particular apparent wind angle. The wind vane doesn't care what is actually moving the boat. That said, since the primary point of a wind vane is conserving electrical power, if the motor is running just kick on the auto pilot.
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Old 17-02-2017, 14:32   #30
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Slight thread drift here, but on another recent thread someone commented that you can't use a wind vane when under power. Why is this?

Pete
Besides the obvious issue of the vane steering to a constant apparent wind angle, in many boats the turbulence of the propwash will drive the pendulum blade quite crazy, causing wild course deviations.

Jim
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