Self steering on wheel steered boats - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-01-2013 Thread Starter
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Self steering on wheel steered boats

I am in the process of selecting a boat for limited offshore sailing (NC to Bahamas) - already started a thread on that in general discussion forum. As I am planning to sail solo, I need a self steering capability (like a wind vane systems). I know how these system work on tiller steered boats, but some of the boats I am considering have wheel steering. Is that going to be a problem? What are your experiences with self steering mechanism on wheel steered boats?
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

The wheel adapter on my Aries wind vane is burly, offers a fine-tuning adjustment, easy to use and has never given me any problem. Bonus is that you can run the control lines down the same side of the cockpit to free up some room.

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post #3 of 20 Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

we use a Monitor to the wheel on our Pacific Seacraft 34
Works great, but it will make you properly trim the sails
We also tow a warp down wind with big seas to make it work better.
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

I'm very satisfied with my Cape Horn wind vane. All of the connections are below decks, no lines in the cockpit or attached to the wheel. It also has the ability to connect a small tiller autopilot to it, haven't taken that step yet. Does a good job going downwind too!

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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

Thanks, guys
Does it make a difference what wheel steering system is used (worm gear vs pedestal)?
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-02-2013
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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

Consider whether you need a vane for the type of cruising you plan long-term. An electric autopilot offers greater flexibility eg use with engine, turn on/off more easily. A vane really comes into its own for extended passage-making.
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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
Consider whether you need a vane for the type of cruising you plan long-term. An electric autopilot offers greater flexibility eg use with engine, turn on/off more easily. A vane really comes into its own for extended passage-making.
Good point and I'm planning to have an autopilot as well. I was thinking of having self steering as a reliable backup system to it.
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-02-2013
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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

I've known people to have wind-vanes and I've always assumed I would do the same, if we ever take off on one of our bucket list adventures.

However, as time passes, I've been considering where I would be better off to have redundant autopilot components instead. Stocking all the parts to address points of failure is probably not that different from what it would cost us to fit a Monitor. The ideal would be to have a redundantly installed autopilot system. I've ever heard of that being done.

Big advantage of some windvane systems is the ability to have an emergency rudder.


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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

Fitting a small electric tiller-arm autopilot to a Monitor is easy to do.
Then it works with no wind (calm conditions).
You 'trick' what the Monitor responds to by substituting the autopilot push-pull for the windvane and the hydrovane still does all the work.
We also have an old backup reliable electric CPT wheel pilot that works well. I believe these simple strong units are now built in California (originally Fla).
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post #10 of 20 Old 03-02-2013
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Re: Self steering on wheel steered boats

Friends who've done similar cruising (BC to Mexico, then 3 seasons up and down Mexico's coast) put a Hydrovane on their Passport 40, as well as a below decks autopilot (RM). The Hydrovane worked well (a wonderful piece of engineering, and it also provides the 'spare rudder' mentioned above) but they ended up using the autopilot much more often.

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