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Old 05-02-2017, 08:30   #1
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Hydraulic steering

I wasn't too sure where to ask a steering question but here goes. Would there be any reasons hydraulic steering wouldn't work on a 28 foot sailboat? I have a complete new Capilano system that's self powered and quite simple to install. I know it would certainly steer the boat but is there a reason it may not work well sailing?
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:01   #2
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Re: Hydraulic steering

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[..] Would there be any reasons hydraulic steering wouldn't work on a 28 foot sailboat? [..] I know it would certainly steer the boat but is there a reason it may not work well sailing?
I think it depends on what you want from the steering system and is a matter of personal choice, to a degree. Personally when sailing I like to feel the forces on the rudder, it gives me feedback on the vessel trim. Tiller will give you the most direct feedback. Wheel steering with mechanical linkage is next, with almost as good feedback level as a tiller has. Hydraulic steering will isolate you much more, sometimes to having (almost) no feedback. I had such a steering on a large heavy ketch I owned once and I wasn't happy with it at all..
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:19   #3
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Re: Hydraulic steering

For use with an autopilot would be fine. Rudder angle needs to be monitored with regard to sail trim. Every boat is different. My Ingrid performs best with zero weather helm. Must keep an eye to windward though lest a big gust sneak up on you.
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:52   #4
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Re: Hydraulic steering

What do you mean by "self powered"?

Smaller hydro steering systems normally just have a helm pump driven by turning the wheel and require no electrical power. Hydro autohelms have a small elctrically powered pump.

Are you asking about a primary steering system or just an auto pilot?

As a primary steering system on a 28 foot mono(?) It should work, but why? Most boats that size are tiller steered anyway. I would stick with that...dead simple, no hydraulic system complexities and maintenance issues, WAY better feel at the helm (versus none)...and thats part of the fun of sailing a small mono anyway.

A hydro AP should work, but again, why? There are simpler solutions available, like a tiller AP.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:36   #5
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Re: Hydraulic steering

The why would be that I already have all the components including an AP24 Simrad autopilot. I can mount the entire thing while retaining the original tiller in place and switch over just by turning a valve. I was just curious about using the hydraulic while sailing.
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Old 05-02-2017, 15:33   #6
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Re: Hydraulic steering

I have both hydraulic and cable steering on my 38 footer. Both are quite capable of steering the boat but we use the wheel to cable system because of its directness and 'feel'. The hydraulic system lacks the feedback to sail a straightish line. I admit that having the hydraulic helm in the saloon also detracts from using it often as we both prefer to sit out in the open air as we sail.
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Old 05-02-2017, 15:48   #7
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Re: Hydraulic steering

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The why would be that I already have all the components including an AP24 Simrad autopilot. I can mount the entire thing while retaining the original tiller in place and switch over just by turning a valve. I was just curious about using the hydraulic while sailing.
sounds like a good idea to me - unless you can be bothered trying to sell the system you have, to pay for a simpler tiller pilot - but the experience you might gain from fitting the hydraulics could be pretty useful.
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