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  #1  
Old 09-07-2004
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CLASSIC YACHT STEERING

I am restoring a 1924 59 ft Nicholson sailing yacht in Sydney Australia. I am researching steering. Australian suppliers have limited experience with such a vessel.

Details are: LOA 59 ft LWL 42 ft DISP 35 ton
Long keel with sloping keel hung rudder. WHEEL 2 ft diameter facing aft (as was original). An autopilot is proposed. Max speed say 13 knots.

The original steering was long lost and when bought had hydraulic steering. The boatyard has suggested new hydraulics (without power assistance), with a system requiring 5.5 turns lock to lock with max 8 knots design speed. Over 8 knots, the system could become heavy. This appears too many turns and what happens if you are caught surfing waves at 12 knots. What feel could one anticipate as I love steering a yacht to windward.

Query: What is the desired number of turns for the 2 ft wheel? What would have been the original number of turns? What is the best number of turns to obtain maximum "feel"? What alternate cost-effective system would be a good alternative?

I am open to comment from equipment suppliers that may wish to obtain an order.

I am also trying to track the owner (or other who may know the detail), of the 1916 59 ft Herreshoff New York 40 "Rowdy" that is nearly identical and has installed hydraulic steering.

Assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Steve Gunns
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Old 09-09-2004
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CLASSIC YACHT STEERING

Steve,

You should post this over on the wooden boat forums, people there will have the answer.

The 120'' fishing schooners I have sailed on used worm gears. Much larger than your boat but they were also going up to 13 knots and the worm gear never got stiff. Not sure that helps much but its a data point.

Good luck
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Old 09-11-2004
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CLASSIC YACHT STEERING

I have seen all kinds of installations on larger older boats. Many large turn of the century race boats just had long tillers. Simply fit out work boats would use ropes lead to tillers on either side of the rudder head, or forged quadrants that passed over a drum on the shaft of the wheel steering. Geared quatrants on the rudder head and a pinion gear on the wheel shaft were very common, low friction used on race boats but not all that reliable over time. Of course worm gear steering existed and was very reliable but offered next to no feel and a lot of friction and so were rarer on performance sailing yachts of that era.

I would suggest that many of the early Nicholson drawings are in archive in England and that you might be able to find out what was originally specified. I would also contact Cantiere Navale dell'' Argentarario in Porto San Stephano, Italy. They have restored a number of Nicholsons of that era. You can probably get contact information for them through WoodenBoat Magazine, who had profiled the yard on a number of occasions.

Sounds like a neat project.

Good luck,
Jeff
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Old 09-16-2004
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CLASSIC YACHT STEERING

Thyanks Jeff. I will try them for advice. I have been informed that Edson have an older style of system and have made enquiries of them.
Steve
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Old 09-16-2004
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CLASSIC YACHT STEERING

Tom,
Thanks. Can you advise a site for the wooden boat forum. I have tried to find with no luck.
Steve
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