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Old 18-02-2017, 04:27   #31
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

I have read of using a self steering vane on the emergency tiller of a wheel equipped yacht. Haven't seen or tried it in practice but perhaps a purpose built tiller for the vane might work???
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Old 18-02-2017, 04:39   #32
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Originally Posted by Pascals Wager View Post
I have read of using a self steering vane on the emergency tiller of a wheel equipped yacht. Haven't seen or tried it in practice but perhaps a purpose built tiller for the vane might work???
It depends on the boat. My rudder post is about two feet back from the wheel, and the wheel itself needs to be removed to give swing clearance for the emergency tiller. The Monitor will not generate enough force, I don't think, to adequately control the tiller although I have not tried it. If the boat is set up with minimal weather helm, it might work. The helm station is too high to set up an extension on the tiller that would provide better leverage.

Another option on some boats might be to reverse the tiller and the control lines, but there's not enough room in my cockpit for that either.

In all it's probably possible with enough fussing and McGuyvering, but unless you're 1000 miles out, it's likely not worth the effort unless you have nothing better to do. I have a ram-driven autopilot, so I'd just kick that on and call it a day.
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Old 18-02-2017, 06:50   #33
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
It depends on the boat. My rudder post is about two feet back from the wheel, and the wheel itself needs to be removed to give swing clearance for the emergency tiller. The Monitor will not generate enough force, I don't think, to adequately control the tiller although I have not tried it. If the boat is set up with minimal weather helm, it might work. The helm station is too high to set up an extension on the tiller that would provide better leverage.

Another option on some boats might be to reverse the tiller and the control lines, but there's not enough room in my cockpit for that either.

In all it's probably possible with enough fussing and McGuyvering, but unless you're 1000 miles out, it's likely not worth the effort unless you have nothing better to do. I have a ram-driven autopilot, so I'd just kick that on and call it a day.
You should always have your boat balanced and trimmed with minimum weather helm.

Fighting the course on the rudder increases drag and slows you down, besides it puts a lot of unnecessary wear on your rudder system.
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Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
When it comes down to self-steering, there seem to be three choices:
  1. An electric autopilot
  2. A windvane
  3. Rigging the sheets to the tiller

Given the whole belt-and-suspenders approach, I'd hesitate to make a solo passage without at least two mechanisms ready.

Some windvanes steer by driving a secondary rudder. Some use a pendulum to drive the main wheel or tiller.

Every discussion of rigging the sheets to the tiller involve just that - rigging the sheets to the tiller. I've never seen discussion of rigging the sheets to the wheel.

E.g.: John Letcher: Self-Steering for Sailing Craft

Is there some fundamental reason for this? Is it impossible to rig a sheet to a wheel in the same way that pendulum windvanes connect to a wheel, on boats that have wheels rather than tillers?

Or is it just more complicated to figure out how to get everything balanced?
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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
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!

Jim

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Old 18-02-2017, 23:11   #34
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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?
Depends on the boat. As I mentioned I can trim my boat to sail itself pretty well if the sea state and wind speed hold steady. For example from close hauled to a beam reach, maybe a little more, by flattening the headsail and easing the main sheet and set the tiller angle, she will waffle along pretty well. As the main pulls her up into the wind the flattened headsail and tiller angle pulls the bow back. If the bow gets pushed off the wind, the drive of the main brings her back up. It's a balancing act but it can work. It's not the fastest way to go and off the wind I'd rather try twin headsails poled out.
The steering forces on an Olson 30 are not great so I would guess that design lends itself to more success with sheet to tiller steering.
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Old 28-02-2017, 09:01   #35
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

This morning I received a very nice email from a fellow who is singlehanding all the way to the Marquesas using the surgical tubing self steering setup from my book. I've asked him for photos. He wrote:

What has really got me in wonder at the moment is watching my 29 foot fin keeled boat Maistral sail her way towards the Marquesas using the poled out storm jib steering method. I have a tiny transom with an outboard and a wind vane is just not a practical option. My tiller pilot has a miserable time in following seas. It's amazing to me that I already had all the pieces needed to self steer using the wind. All that was missing was the knowledge provided in your writings.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:15   #36
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Thus, using a bike wheel or other large diameter device will again not give one much rotation of the wheel.
I believe you can wrap your lines around the wheel further, so you can get as many turns as you like. Size of wheel defines purchasing power.

Hopefully my diagram makes sense?
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Old 08-08-2017, 14:43   #37
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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I believe you can wrap your lines around the wheel further, so you can get as many turns as you like. Size of wheel defines purchasing power.

Hopefully my diagram makes sense?
The limiting factor is the distance that the sheet can move to drive the wheel. Additional wraps don't alter this fact.

Jim
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:01   #38
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

Just started reading this thread, but throwing this out in case I forget, apologize if it is redundant.

The author of "get real, get gone" is a huge sheet to tiller fan but has a wheel on his current boat, he has a slick setup with a disc of plywood attached to the wheel, with rings of holes, and pegs that fit in. Multiple wraps of line and pulleys rigged to disadvantage get past the 90 max throw problem

I was a machinist and a common manual machining tool is a dividing head, a disc that has spirals of holes in it. I was thinking you could do that on a disc like his, and be able to tune it perfectly, counteracting the changing leverage as boom and rudder forces change non linearly.

I recently traded for a saugeen witch, wich is super well balanced, Tom colvin the designer was a big fan of sheet to tiller as well, so I will probably be messing with this soon, since I have a balanced boat with a bulletproof wormgear steering wheel (would be silly to swap to a tiller if I didn't have to) my boat has a flush deck aft, and the little box over the steering gear makes a nice seat for helmsman, it would require a big change to swap over to a tiller, maybe including fabricating a cockpit, so I'm gonna sail it how it is for a while before I do anything drastic.
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Old 13-07-2018, 21:20   #39
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

Greetings Bond vagabond and welcome to the forum.

We have had a Saugeen Witch in the family for 40 years or so and have some experience with sheet to tiller self steering. Back in the 80's my father took the boat down to Mexico from Washington state. The first leg to San Francisco was steered entirely by a stay-sail sheet to TEMPORARY tiller. Worked great.

The boat had the same flush after-deck and worm gear that you have. It was easy to simply unbolt the worm gear and fit a crude pipe tiller for the offshore legs.

I have since modified the boat heavily (pilothouse etc.) and no longer have the above ability to rig a tiller (other than for emergencies).

That said, I still have an interest in self steering and might try and rig a drum to my wheel. My current wheel uses chain, sprocket and cable and although it has much less friction than the original worm steering gear, I worry that it still may be too much friction.

I have not been offshore with the boat in its current configuration, but I have played around quite a bit in local gales (and 2 meter seas), experimenting with simply locking the helm. What I have found, is that as the wind strengthens and sail is reduced, the boat becomes more and more directionally stable.

Buy the time the main has a couple reefs in, the boat magically holds any course from a broad reach or higher, without any steering input.

Tom really did design a very good hull for holding coarse. Probably not as good as the king of self steering hulls (Slocum's Spray), but close.

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Old 13-07-2018, 22:18   #40
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

Hi Steve, Ive "know" you already from your vids on YouTube of your saugeen witch refit, very thourough. Also really enjoyed your anchor comparison.

Mine isn't actually worm gear, it has a pizza slice shapped quadrant with gear teeth on the top edge of the "crust" and the shaft that the wheel rotates on is angled down and back, through a little doghouse, just like the worm fear steering on my old wood pilot cutter. Much less drg than a worm gear, my plan is to make the shaft slide in and out 2", to allow it to disconnect from the quadrant, then the other trick I want to try, is actually have an backup tiller pointing aft from the top of the rudder post. I have a plan to be able to do sheet to tiller steering off that, while eliminating the turning block used in most sheet to tiller setups. I hope to reduce drag in the system significantly that way, will keep you guys posted, I have a solid month ahead of me before I can Chuck it in the water. Been on the hard for 16yrs before I swapped my i-28 for it, but almost done with the deck core repair, then just rigging and bottom paint, glass up a few through hulls.
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Old 14-07-2018, 10:56   #41
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

Sounds good.
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