Locking the wheel when leaving a boat at a mooring... - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-03-2007 Thread Starter
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Locking the wheel when leaving a boat at a mooring...

When leaving a boat at a mooring, should the wheel be locked or restricted in any way? Thanks in advance for all opinions on this one... (can't find anything anywhere that says I should, but want to ask just the same)

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-03-2007
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No real need to do that, unless you're worried about the rudder slamming around. Some people I know take the wheel off the pedestal to make more room in the cockpit, but I don't think that's necessary, especially if you're not going to be on the boat.

Restricting or locking the wheel could present problems if the mooring breaks free or you need to have someone secure your boat due to heavy weather coming in.

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post #3 of 8 Old 06-03-2007
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While many steering pedestals have inbuilt locking mechanisms these always seem to seize up fairly early in life and are a complete mongrel to get working again. This is particularly the case where the mechanism is a small wheel rather than a lever.

Me, I hate having the rudder crashing around on the mooring so I just use a piece of shockcord around the binnacle and through a couple of spokes. Leaves a bit of play and you have to watch the cord for chafe but it does work pretty well.

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post #4 of 8 Old 06-03-2007
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I tie the tiller off to the side, as it gives a little more room and I've been awakened by rudder slamming around before.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-04-2007
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Securing the wheel makes sense for the above named reasons. Locking the wheel makes zero sense. As the dog was alluding, it is not out of the realm of possibility that you, or someone else, may have to board the boat to perhaps even save her, and need to use the wheel. A lock will do nothing to impede determined theives and everything to defeat a quick manoeuver by someone without the keys to the lock. Line or shock cord.

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post #6 of 8 Old 06-04-2007 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailaway21
Securing the wheel makes sense for the above named reasons. Locking the wheel makes zero sense. As the dog was alluding, it is not out of the realm of possibility that you, or someone else, may have to board the boat to perhaps even save her, and need to use the wheel. A lock will do nothing to impede determined theives and everything to defeat a quick manoeuver by someone without the keys to the lock. Line or shock cord.
On a couple occasions, I've come to the boat after having been away for a week to discover that the motion of the rudder/wheel has loosened the wheel nut (on two occasions I found it on the cockpit sole). There's a bushing inboard of the wheel nut (also on the cockpit sole in the forementioned situations). I only tighten it with my hand, but putting a wrench on it would likely help (I'm nervous about overtightening it).

A shockcord will help reduce the motion -- my use of the word 'lock' was a poor one as I'm sure at least one person envisioned something like the Club.

I'm fairly new to this board but have learned a lot and have received a lot of good advice from people such as yourself. Thanks (to you and other posters) for making this such a valuable resource.

s/v Grey Goose
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLucas
I'm nervous about overtightening it.
Hey, I can't even undo mine, its so overtight I'm afraid of busting something.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-04-2007
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The manufacturer probably has a torque wrench setting (in foot-pounds or newtons) for the wheel shaft lock nut. Borrow a torque wrench and tighten it properly, please. The "hand tight" thing is not acceptable for such a critical piece of equipment. I was at dock a couple of years ago and a 37' race boat was leaving their dock to head to winter storage. They took a turn and their wheel came right off the shaft because the nut had been loose and they had used the wheel a fair bit backing out of their slip. Despite hitting full reverse (remember, it's a race boat with a folding prop...not fast reaction time), they hit my port stern quarter at nearly 4 knots.

And people ask why I keep fore and aft springs on in fair weather...

Their stem bent up my stern rail, creased the fibreglass and sliced a cast aluminum extrusion clean in half. They were gentlemen about the cost, but it could be easily avoided.

Another sailor in the club this spring couldn't find the hub nut during launch. She had to steer by pressing the wheel onto the shaft with her belly...probably not confidence-inspiring.

I have no idea why wheel hub nuts aren't like the older type of spreader nut, with a hole through them and the shaft that lines up and through which some sort of spring-loaded clevis pin can be pushed.

Other than that little rant, I agree with the "bungees are your friends" sentiment.
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