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Old 18-02-2017, 05:27   #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, 05:39   #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, 07:50   #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 19-02-2017, 00:11   #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, 10:01   #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, 10:15   #36
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Re: Self-steering with wheels?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
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, 15:43   #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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