Steering wheel size - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 27 Old 07-09-2010 Thread Starter
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Steering wheel size

I have Hunter 29.5 with big main. If main is overpowered I get quite a bit of weather helm. If wind is stable it’s ok but if wind is gusty I sometimes keep fighting with a wheel. I am still ok but my wife can’t steer boat in anything but light winds. Of cause the right solution is to reef the main. But sometimes if you just 20-30 min from home on a day sail I prefer just to spill the wind out of sail in the gust and keep going.

I have smallish 24 inch wheel. I am contemplating to go with 36 inch wheel. Would bigger wheel help to reduce amount of strength you need to steer the boat?
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post #2 of 27 Old 07-09-2010
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A bigger wheel will give you more mechanical advantage so it will help a bit. A 24 inch wheel IS rather small for such a boat - it must look odd as well as limiting your reach from the outboard edges of the cockpit, esp when beating.

Are you making good use of your traveler? Flattening the main and letting the traveler down low on the boat will make a huge difference to the loads on the helm too.

I know some Hunters have limited travellers so this may be tougher to do than on other boats.

Ron

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post #3 of 27 Old 07-09-2010 Thread Starter
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My traveler is actually on the pedestal in front of the wheel. It is probably only 24 inch long with cart taking some space too so it gives me only 20 inch to play with. It is better than nothing but not much.

I will lower down traveler to reduce weather helm and it helps but in the gusty conditions fighting with a wheel and playing with a main is quite a work out.

At the same time having traveler right in front of the wheel is convenient. Some of the boats have travelers on the coach roof but I guess it was the option.
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post #4 of 27 Old 07-09-2010
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A 24" wheel sounds a bit undersized for the boat... do you have room to fit a 36" wheel? If so, there's no reason not to...

Depowering the sails—tightening the outhaul, cunningham, main halyard, backstay adjuster, etc.—will go a long way to making the boat sail flatter and reduce helm issues.

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Yes, I have room for 36 inch wheel. Or at least I think I do.

I have no backstay on Hunter, so backstay adjuster does not apply for me. I don't have cunningham on mine mainsail neither. Is this something i can ask sail maker to add?
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Your sail probably has a cringle for the cunningham already. It is usually about a foot or so above the main's tack. Installing a cunningham is pretty simple to do.

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Nope my mainsail doesn't have a cringle for cunningham. I don't know why they didn't bother as it helps to flatten the sail a lot. I agree adding cunningham if you have a cringle would be a simple task.
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It would be relatively inexpensive to have a cunningham cringle added... also, what do you have for a vang? A properly powerful vang can make up for an inadequate traveller....

Ron

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I have regular 4:1 set of blocks for a Vang. I don't use Vang often except when downwind to prevent boom from going up and down. I guess I should try to use it more often to try flattening the main sail.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ichorniy View Post
I have regular 4:1 set of blocks for a Vang. I don't use Vang often except when downwind to prevent boom from going up and down. I guess I should try to use it more often to try flattening the main sail.
Yes, you should! ... but for a main that size a 4:1 is woefully inadequate. At least add a block and a pennant and double it. Like so:


Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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