Re: why so long?
due to the cockpit layout, if i were to ever opt for a wheel, the best way would be to extend the stern post to the desired height of the center of the wheel. use bevel gears to transition the rotation to the horizontal plane to attach to the wheel, and simply build a pedestal to contain the two shafts. it would be direct. no cables or chains. just as bullet proof as rack and pinion or worm gear.
the bevel gear on the wheel shaft side could be larger than the bevel gear of the rudder shaft; enough to grant you proper mechanical advantage in comparison to the diameter of the wheel. figuring out the sizes of the gears would be fairly simple, really.
if you had a 3' diameter wheel, and your wheel shaft bevel gear was three times the size of the rudder shaft bevel gear, it would give you the leverage of a 4.5' tiller.
you'd just have to grease the gears regularly to keep the whole thing working smoothly.
the wheel would be on the forward side of the pedestal. i could steer from the side. there would be plenty of cockpit space. the wheel could be fairly low to the cockpit sole, since i would not be standing to use it.
thinking about it, it might be best to have the console forwards of the wheel. still easily achieved. just mount the rudder shaft gear at the height that the tiller fitting presently is. you could use a chain drive set up to go from the 90 degree shaft, with the bigger bevel gear, to the wheel shaft. you could always get your gear reduction in the chain sprockets. in which case, i'd use mitre gears instead of bevel gears.
not quite as derect but a high quality motorcycle chain would last nearly forever, under those circumstances. proper chain tension could be achieved by a simple chain tensioner. for something like this, that could be spring loaded. self adjusting.
The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do.---Captain Jack Sparrow
1971 Cal 27
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Last edited by captain jack; 02-02-2014 at 06:46 AM.