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  #1  
Old 07-01-2004
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curious about one of the articles

I have just taken a look in the articles section at the new offering from Sam Boyle, entitled The Tiller Project.
It deals with the relcutent desicion to go back to tiller steering from the edson wheel that had been fitted by a former owner.

Time and again Sam talks about prefering the wheel over tiller, but simply not being able to work with the system as it stood in his boat. Admitedly, the pedestal in his pearson has been fitted so far forward that it could almost have been better another two feet forward and mounted in the actual cabin where the helmsman could stay nice and dry. The pedestal literally blocks the companionway and is a very poor placement by someone in the boat''s earlier history.

The thing is, rather then throw away the entire idea, I am curious why they did not go over to a linkage driven pedestal steering system which would be ideal for that boat'' setup? It could have been mounted as close as 4inches in front of the rudder stock and put the helmsman in the more traditional position...at the back of the damned boat, where he belongs.



Has anyone used the linkage driven steering systems? are they truly so bad as to merit no consideration?

It just seems baby-with-the-bathwater approach to throw out the enitre preferred steerin sytem because of the issues detailed in the article.

Sasha (playing at armchair general and second guessing the boat''s owner)
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Old 07-01-2004
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curious about one of the articles


Shasa

The wheel steering on Sam''s boat was a factory installation. From June, 1972 through June, 77 I was general manager of a boat yard here in Northern Michigan. We were a pearson dealer. I would have to do a little research, but I think it was in 1974, and probably the first year the 10M was out, we sold one to a customer that I had known for quite a while. In fact, I had looked after - taken care of - and sailed his Pearson Renagade for a couple of years before I went to work at the boat yard.

He bought the 10M with the understanding that I would race with him. We tricked the boat out with just about everything the era would allow, including a full complement of the best sails that North Sails could build during that time. When it was launched as I remember, the cost was just over $80K. It was the most expensive boat the yard had ever sold at that time.

The wheel was in the same location as Sam''s. I liked the boat a lot and I loved where the wheel was mounted.

Sure, you have to walk around the wheel when going below, but no big deal, we are walking around and over things every time we move around on a sail boat.

While moving the boat on Lake Michigan, I think about 45 miles, to the start for an over-nighter, in a black, hard as you can imagin rain, with the squals moving through storm, it was real nice to be able to hunker down behind the bulkhead with a compass right in front of me. The two compases and the chart was all I had, and going down into Grand Traverse Bay you better have a pretty good idea of where you are, when you cant see past the bow.

You could check with Jeff H, but I believe that during that era most all of the wheels were placed on the boats similarly. It was not long after that the big, flat out, race boats started putting the wheels way in the back of the boat. That makes a lot of sence, all the helmsmen does is steer the boat. And; the whole big show is in front of him, he can see everything that everyone is doing. And: most of all, he is out of the way. If I were going to be sailing with 12 guys working the boat and doing everything for me, I would stand back there and take it as it comes at me. Otherwise, I like that nice warm bulkhead.

I have more thoughts to offer on this subject, but this is getting long and I just may have opened a big can of squiggely things. So lets see what crawls out of the can.

Please excuse any spelling and typo errors, I sail better than I operate this thing.

Walt

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curious about one of the articles


Sasha

Dam!!!! I even spelled your name wrong. Sorry about that. If you need me to do an inside-out sail change for you, I will do better.

Walt
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Old 07-01-2004
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curious about one of the articles

Thanks. That provides a lot of interesting insights.
And don''t worry about the spelling on my name....Just be grateful it is not my surname you have to cope with.

I am about to install an edson pedestal on my Endeavour 26...and it was going right up the back for a number of reasons, including the fact I had not even considered putting it anywhere else. Now I get to think about that (we are a cruiser, not a racer).

Thanks


Sasha
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curious about one of the articles


Sasha

I will tell you, I cringe and shake my head every time I look at the steering wheels on boats these days. Infact, I was at the hoist well & dockage area about a block & 1/2 from my house today. We were launching my younger brothers 24 ft. S2.

These guys are screwing themselves around and behind the wheel and sitting on the transom. Not even the largest Gorilla would have arms long enough to trim the head sail with it sheeted to the primary winch, while being cramed back behind that wheel. I know that they spend a lot more time, back & forth around the wheel to get things done than Sam would on his boat going in out of the cabin. I can not even imagine sticking myself back there. There is to much to do on a sail boat.

I know that we all have auto pilots these days, but with all the frieghters and the power boats out there, I would not want to have to fight my way to the back of the boat and then take time to screw myself around the weel in tight quarters when something has to be done "NOW".

Now; there is another whole discussion on the pros and cons of a wheel versus a tiller on a lot of boats. Five years ago I bought a Capri 30. Would you know it ---- the guy had put in a wheel, and guess where? That is right ---- WAY IN THE BACK OF THE BOAT. The boat was on the hard and I did just what I had to to get her in the water. Got her in and went for a sail, put her on the mooring and the next stop was to the guy I know that I knew would have a piece of Ash from which I could whittle out a tiller. I took the wheel out, the whole thing, right back to and including the quadrant, and gave it away. With the tiller that boat came alive. That boat did not deserve to be saddled with a wheel. And; for sure, not in the back of the boat.

The thing that scares the crap out of me is what they call the "EMERGENCY TILLER". The one on my boat was not more than 12 inches long. There are a lot of them out there like that, maybe 18 inches at the most. I don''t even want to think about steering the boat for 100 miles in 6, 8, or ten foot seas with one of those! Just think, there you are trying to steer the boat with a fourteen inch stick, and all the while you have to do it with that wheel right in the way. And; wheel steering systems do fail once in a while.

In Sam''s case; I think I agree with him if he is doing it because he wants to steer the boat with a tiller. I think the 10M is a good boat for a tiller, for sure, if he is going to race the boat. If he is doing it because he thinks the wheel is in the wrong place ------ Sam you are wrong.

And you know what? With the tiller in his hand, Sam will be sitting in the same place he was while hanging on to that wheel.

And: he can still hunker up behind that bulkhead when the squall moves through.

Walt
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Old 07-02-2004
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curious about one of the articles

My questions is why did he buy the boat in the first place? The location of the wheel didn''t change!

My first boat, a Catalina 22, had a tiller. It was certainly easy to use and I had no problem with it. However, I did not like banging people in the knee every time I needed to tack or jibe!

When I shopped for a bigger boat, a wheel was a requirement. I looked at a number of boats, and the wheel and mainsheet / traveler location is different for just about every boat. I am not a racer, I just sail for fun, so I wanted a boat with the wheel in the back, and the traveler either at the end of the boom (like on a S2 9.2A or early Catalina 30) or on top of the cabin (like many boats). I rejected Oday 30, Ericsson 28, and a number of boats because the traveler is located directly in front of the companionway. I understand the location from a technical point, and if you race that''s a great location. However, for cruising, especially with young kids and older folks who like to go below, it''s a terrible location.

On the boat I bought (Newport 28) the wheel is at the back. The cockpit is T shaped, so I don''t have to stand right behind the wheel, I can stand on either side, and the jib winches are easily to reach while steering. With self tailers, and a wheel brake (or autopilot) I can trim the jib from the wheel. I cannot reach the main sheel from the wheel, but if I single hand I will have the autopilot steer.

I guess my point is (do I need a point?) is know what you are looking for and buy a boat that fits your needs.

Barry

Barry Lenoble
Noble Prize, 1986 Newport 28
Mt. Sinai, NY
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Old 07-02-2004
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curious about one of the articles

Some people buy boats with an eye to modifying them, even as they are writing the check. I know, I am one of them.

You look at the boat and asses whether the key, unchangeable characteristics (hull shape, cabin height, whatever is important to you) merits the "annoying" stuff that you are going to need to change in order to make the boat "personally comfortable" to your needs.

The reason I brought up the whole issue was because he kept saying that he really wanted wheel steering, but went over to the tiller because the hassle of having the wheel that far forwards was an issue. To me it seemed like there was a third (and possibly better) solution of using a different kind of steering pedestal, that can sit closer to the rudder stock and dispences with the quadrant.

I am very fortunate on my boat. It is geared for multiple uses and crewing situations. the original owner never knew if he would be sailing with his family to act as crew or single handed...but he did know he was going to go sailing regardless.

There are two main-sheet travellers. One is mounted on the bridge-deck across the companionway. It is used for racing. The sheet has shackles at both ends and can be unhooked from that position and relocated to the second track, which lives behind the helmsman and goes to the end of the boom.

The winches for working the headsail are a fair way forwards in the cockpit and do great when you have a crew, but the spinnaker winches live on either side of the helmsman''s position, and the head-sheets can be run back to them for single-handing. So apart from needing to go up to the cabin-top if the halyard tensions need adjusting, and not being able to fly a spinnaker (Something I never want to do when single-handing) I have a boat with a good deal of versatility, in that a crew will not get in eachothers way because everything is jammed in around the steering position, nor will the helmsman need to run all over the boat if there is no crew. You can just rig the lines to different positions.

I do NEED to go over to wheel steering though. We own a Newfoundland dog. When he was a pup, he used to be able to sit beneath the tiller and not get clobbered, now he cannot even lie down under it without it whacking him. With a wheel. I get a nice sitting position to steer form and he gets the space immediatly in front of the pedestal to hang out and do newfy things.

He makes excellent crew. He tails ropes on command like a champ. Always lets you know if you are trailing a rope in the water and never critiques the tactics of his skipper.
He also takes an active interest in fishing.


Sasha














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