Like many boats of this era, the pedestal and wheel were added well after the design was complete. The result was a cockpit designed for a tiller with a pedestal shoehorned into place. In our case, the pedestal had been installed at the forward end of the cockpit.
While this had the advantage of placing the helm close to the traveler and winches, it was a little too close making it a major hassle to work the traveler controls around the helm. The pedestal and wheel also blocked access to the cockpit from the companionway and ate up a significant amount of the cockpit space when the boat was tied up. To add insult to injury, the cockpit design limited the size of the wheel so you couldn’t sit on the coaming and steer—the wheel was too small to reach. In short, this installation was not one of the better ones.
There was just this nagging problem of the installation not delivering the dream. We looked at the problem from every angle. We measured and considered options: move the pedestal further back; use a larger wheel; get one of the spiffy new folding wheels. We talked to the folks at Edson and got copies of various installation schemes. We considered increasing the mechanical advantage. We looked at autopilot setups. In the end, we just couldn’t make it work. The pedestal was a great piece of gear, but it created more problems than it solved in our particular situation. Having crossed the chasm, we began exploring our options for retrofitting a tiller.
Armed with this information, we entered the design phase. Kudos here go to our fellow 10M owner Dan Pfeiffer. Dan swapped e-mails and ideas with us for weeks while we pursued various schemes for designing the necessary adapters. The problem was fourfold. First, the rudderstock ended several inches below the cockpit sole. Second, the top four inches of the rudderstock was squared off to accommodate the emergency tiller. Third, the hole left by the deckplate would have to be filled in. Fourth, the extended rudderspost would need a bearing surface above the cockpit sole—and that bearing had to be in line with the angle created by the intersection of the rudderpost and cockpit sole (which was not 90 degrees).
|"Rejecting a separate design covering the opening and somehow adding a bearing to it, Joel proposed a cover that incorporated the bearing."|
He also suggested the same approach for the deckplate and bearing problems. Rejecting a separate design covering the opening and somehow adding a bearing to it, Joel proposed a cover that incorporated the bearing. We went to the boat and took more measurements to determine the approximate angle between the cockpit sole and the rudderpost. Finalizing the design via e-mail, we gave Joel the green light and he began machining the parts.
With our package in hand we rushed to the boat and quickly checked the fit of the parts. Everything seemed to line up perfectly. The next step was to actually start dismantling the existing steering system. That story will have to wait for our next installment.
With a Little Help from My Friends:
Again, we are extremely grateful to the folks below for all their help. If you're thinking of embarking on a similar project, we certainly recommend that you make use of these valuable resources:
Images of Pearsons: http://pearsoninfo.net/index.cfm
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