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Old 06-08-2004, 00:42   #1
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Sheet-to-Tiller Steering

I came across the John Letcher "Bible" on sheet-to-tiller arrangements last year, and was immediately hooked. So I made up all these different rubber return straps and all manner of pulley systems to set up a sheet-to-tiller arrangement from the jib sheet, from the main sheet, and from a small steering sail sheet hauled up on the topping lift.

None of them worked except when close hauled, when the boat self steers OK anyway with the tiller unattended. I noticed that the photos in John Letcher's book always showed a background of sea that doesn't seem to have too much swell, and I get the inpression that my systems might have worked if the wind was really constant, and the sea was dead flat- but that's a combination that doesn't happen too often around here (Sydney).

What I was wondering was whether any of you forum watchers had had any more success the I have when sailing off the wind? One possible shortcoming in my system is that I didn't get the really expensive roller-bearing pulleys for the blocks and pulleys. Does that make a huge difference ?

In case you are interested, my boat is a 28' Canoe stern fibreglass Swanson of fairly heavy displacement. It has a fairly full keel and an unbalanced rudder.
MD
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:52   #2
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Steering

It is something I have started to fiddle with but the tension on the sheets which would need to vary with the wind strength just does not seem to happen. My boat goes straight on the wind but off the wind the waves move it around. It is easy to hand steer off the wind but it would be nice to take a break. I have found that the electric autohelm is not fast enough to keep up with the spinnaker but works fine with two headsails up and a reef in the main going straight down wind. BC Mike C
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Old 13-09-2004, 17:15   #3
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Our boat is a light displacment fin keel, spade rudder machine that tracks like a drunk on ice. So some sort of self steerng was nessisary. We used a Monitor wind vane. I thought it was just the cat's meow! In really light air, almost no wind at all, it could be set to head the boat down in the puffs and head up to build aparent wind in the lulls. Then when it was so scary that I wanted to go hide under my blankets, it would dirve the boat, no worries at all.

Too cool!

For motoring? Can't beat an electric tiller pilot. :-)

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Old 14-09-2004, 09:00   #4
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You might be able to find some more design information on this link

http://www.onpassage.com/Steering_Sy...f_Steering.htm

There are a few self build designs which might give you some more pointers. Good luck

Rod
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Old 14-09-2004, 15:30   #5
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J/35

With your Monitar do you lash the tiller in the neutral position and let the self steering units rudder blade do the steering ? or does the self steerer move the main tiller. I think most have their own blade which may be separated from the main rudder by up to 3 feet or even more. I have a transom hung rudder so the self steering rudder could follow close behind. What is the most normal way to do this? BC Mike C
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Old 14-09-2004, 20:37   #6
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The Monitor controls the main rudder. Mine uses a tiller so its pretty simple. There is a rope attched to a short chain that passes under the tiller. When you want to enguage the windvane: Put on the wind wing thing, two thumbscrews. Twirl the wind wing to point into the wind. Drop down the paddle, slip the chain into the tiller catch and take a nap. Well, not really. It takes some time to learn how to tweak 'em.

After a couple months with nothing better to do than play with the vane, a couple things surfaced as important to the design.

Up and down wind vane as opposed to the streaming type. The vertical wing is -much- MUCH more sensitive to small wind changes. Basically if the wind isn't dead nuts lined up with the wing, it falls to one side or the other. Meaning that tiny changes give full power for corrections on the tiller.

Using the boat to power the tiller. When the wind wing falls, it rotates the water paddle. Rotating the water paddle uses the power of the boat's movement to pull on the tiller.

Pretty slick.

I know there's a lot of different vanes out there. Some have their own rudders and some attach things to the existing rudder. I liked the Monitor 'cause it has a good reputaion, it was pretty straight forward to mount and it doesn't get in the way much when I'm not using it.

The Monitor works for the transom hung rudders. I've a couple friends that use them for that. Both were Bristal Channel cutters.

Hope the helps, and no I don't have any affiliation to them that made the Monitor vanes, just liked mine.

-jim lee
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Old 31-10-2004, 06:16   #7
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tiller steering info

Go to http://www.catalinaowners.com. Then select the Forums tab and then the Catalina owners forum. There is a discussion on tiller steering with some good answers and web links. One of the areas of discussion is downwind sailing with the tiller steering. Sounds like it might work for you.
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Old 14-03-2010, 23:26   #8
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Sheet to Tiller steering 'Bible'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaffi S28 View Post
I came across the John Letcher "Bible" on sheet-to-tiller arrangements last year, and was immediately hooked. So I made up all these different rubber return straps and all manner of pulley systems to set up a sheet-to-tiller arrangement from the jib sheet, from the main sheet, and from a small steering sail sheet hauled up on the topping lift.

None of them worked except when close hauled, when the boat self steers OK anyway with the tiller unattended. I noticed that the photos in John Letcher's book always showed a background of sea that doesn't seem to have too much swell, and I get the inpression that my systems might have worked if the wind was really constant, and the sea was dead flat- but that's a combination that doesn't happen too often around here (Sydney).
MD
I think that John Letcher's book would be better regarded as the 'Old Testament' or even just the 'Pentatuch' of sheet to tiller steering.

Lee Woas' book 'Self-steering without a Windvane' is a likelier candidate as the 'Bible' as it is devoted almost entirely to sheet to tiller systems and draws from Letcher, Gerard Dijkstra and a number of articles in magazines and journals to present a much larger number of alternative systems, most using simple drawings showing the variations from one system to the next.

The book is long out of print and therefore expensive ($50-100) to acquire, but if you are still interested in sheet to tiller this may be a worthwhile resource for you.
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Old 15-03-2010, 18:55   #9
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I tried this and it does not work on my boat (long keel, very, very well balanced and well tracking, small boat and often relatively big waves+swell).

The only angle that did work well was upwind, but upwind my boat self-steers without any lines too.

Perhaps on a lake?

b.
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Old 16-03-2010, 00:33   #10
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Based on what I read in Lechter's book I tried it on my 24ft. Columbia Challenger and it worked well enough. Didn't really get into it under different conditions before selling the boat. The half dozen or so times I played with it were in steady 10 to 15 knot winds and a moderate swell on Santa Monica Bay outside King Harbor and it steered the boat a bit drunkenly for long stretches. I do remember it took awhile to get everything set up properly and that, naturally, the boat did not track very efficiently but kind meandered across her course a little as it moved through the swell.
I look forward to trying it on the much heavier, full keel Dreadnought... we will see. Can't afford vane steering for awhile yet so hope I can make it work.
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Old 17-03-2010, 21:10   #11
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See my tiller to sheet tutorial on Sailfar. I have gotten this system to work at just about every point of sail on my Compac (23 foot) and have just started working with it on my Valiant (40ft). Larger seas should not be too much of a problem if you have enough power in your sails. I think you would have problems with large seas in a small boat, but Lecher took his 22 foot boat to Hawaii and back a few times...
Downwind it is important to place your steering on the most leeward sail, usually the jib.
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Old 04-10-2016, 11:34   #12
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Re: Sheet-to-Tiller Steering

I have had a lot of success with sheet and bungee methods and clocked up 14000 miles after my windvane gave up. Video outlining methods for all points of sail are on YouTube


John Letcher's Self Steering for Sailing Craft is invaluable reading and it is available in PDF, with permission, on the Jesterinfo website.
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Old 04-10-2016, 14:17   #13
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Re: Sheet-to-Tiller Steering

ScaffiS28, et al,

We used sheet to tiller steering on Jim's Yankee 30 (an S & S 30, to the Aussies). The tiller pilot died en route from Kaneohe Bay, Kauai, HI, to San Francisco. The apparent wind was never aft of the beam. The sheet to tiller steering, when on a beam reach, was marginal, it did not require hand steering, but was inclined to drift off course. On that trip, we had 11 days where we had to run a DR, so keeping the course steady was of some concern to us. It was good enough to let it steer when we went to the head, but not good enough to remain untended, imo. Lots of blocks and surgical tubing involved.

For downwind sailing, people used "downwind twins", size-matched headsails, with their sheets led to the tiller. It's a pretty rolly way of progress.

Ann
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Old 05-10-2016, 19:48   #14
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Re: Sheet-to-Tiller Steering

Take a look at this video on Youtube. I've learned to do it on a 30' ultralight fin keel boat with nothing but a $5 piece of surgical tubing, at all points of sail and all wind conditions.
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Old 05-10-2016, 19:57   #15
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Re: Sheet-to-Tiller Steering

Did you try the double headsail for downwind sailing?
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