A good point about all the inputs. I'm looking forward to the change, in a way, because it will force me to use other inputs. Kind of like the trick of sailing blindfolded to get the "feel" of the boat.Sure, there's less in your hands, but that does not eliminate feedback. You do have the response of the boat, the lift of the rail, visual movements of rounding up or falling off, apparent wind, the hull to the wave...... Hydraulic steering requires you to use all the tools in the box, not just the tiller in your hands. For many it might take some time to adjust if they've not been using all the input.
I'll agree with much of what you say, although I'm far less passionate about the issue. I don't agree with the "slow" statement. The transfer of energy by hydraulic pressure is no slower than the mechanical linkage. I suppose that the "slow" that you refer to might be the time it takes a helmsman, without good anticipation, to interpret the need to correct steerage. A redeeming feature that you are not recognzing is power. Far less effort is required at the helm and this also means that there is far less mechanical effort required for an auto piloting device.I've got hydraulics on my boat and I hate it - HATE IT. Numb, insensitive, slow - it has NO redeeming features, The only reason for using it on a boat is necessity ...........
My boat doesn't have one and it's TOP of my list to install.Absolutely.
I think the 3 & 1/2 turns is a function of the gearing from the wheel to the hydraulic pump and the rate that fluid is pumped. This is not an exclusive trait of hydraulic steering. Cable steering can also be designed to have more or fewer turns to complete the full action of the rudder.Slow is 3 1/2 turns lock to lock on a 30 footer - 1/2 or one turn would be lots.
I'm passionate about it because I have it on my boat.
There's also a knob on the pedestal that says "more turns/less turns". It may have something to do with it. I'll investigate further when I get my pedestal put back together.The best thing about hydraulic steering is the ease of engaging an autopilot. Can't think of any other reasons to have it. Six turns lock to lock??? easiest fix is to increase the size of the pump . Rudder indicator a must have in close quarters.