best possible steering

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Guest1578132542, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. hi everybody.

    having a play with my steering. just pondering the absolute best system possible. (for a 21 x 44 6 ton cat)

    have a thread here, but no one seems to care

    and the lack of passion prompted me to ponder the difference.

    i want 1 to 1 wheel steering, on one rudder only, cable or mechanical, but will this be too highly loaded to make sense?


    what about using an
    NMEA rudder position sender to send data to the hydraulic rudder?

    can anybody out there say definitely one way or the other?

    i know for a lot of you out there, you just don't care about feedback.
    why is this?
    did you never play in smaller boats? and so don't find responsivenes appealing? the thrill of a powerful live creature as an extension of your being

    am i stuck in a smaller boat mindset that i should loose/getover? and merely install a dead hydraulic thingy, thus turning passion into an inert lump.

    is the best possible steering inert/dead or alive?

    also pondering no topping lift, but lazy jacks instead.

  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 16,468
    Likes: 1,490, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Depending on your location, there are regulations on steering systems. Planet Hoth, wherever that is, may not have any. If you come to Earth , I may be able to help you ;)
  3. i don't care about regulations
    (regulations specify absolute minimums - i hope always to be considerably over the absolute minimum requirements)


    just fess up gonzo boy.

    spill your guts

    what do you think is the best system?

    Schioning system - heavy duty push pull cables

    mechanical - tiller, normal dual cable system, steering wheel to solid tube ie a mechanical transmission steering system

    steering wheel hydraulic pump

    power hydraulic

    electric power steering - geared or linear actuators

    have i missed any?

    steering wheel to solid tube tranmission style system feedback

    how much feedback would the Jefa BG12 steering box have?

    (transmission tube linked to a tiller lever, transmission tube linked to a tiller arm on the rudder)

    if i split the steering in two, i'll have twice the power to result ratio, plus 100% feedback

    with the the feedback, by moving the cable connection further in or out i can set the gear ratio from 1 to 1 down to say 3 to 1

    or i can just calm down and go plain vanilla.

    join the noble mob.

    eat at MacDonalds, that sort of steering

  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 16,468
    Likes: 1,490, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    You are reinventing the wheel. Perhaps in your planet they are still experimenting with making them square. Off the shelf systems work fine and comply with the Law. I eat at MacDonalds and like it. Being snobby and making something different does not make you or the system better.
  5. bearflag
    Joined: May 2010
    Posts: 227
    Likes: 17, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 195
    Location: Thousand Oaks, California

    bearflag Inventor/Fabricator

    Do your countrymen snootily look down their noses at you when you dine on such American delicacies?

    I hear Mickie-Dee's has gotten much better in the last few years, but their product turned me off in the late 90s and 2000s. Besides, not a real fast-food eater myself....
  6. Briggsm
    Joined: Jul 2009
    Posts: 17
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Crestview Fl

    Briggsm Junior Member

    I know it is a little unconventional for a 44 foot catamaran, but I believe a well ballanced rig and a tiller arangement works the best. If I cant repair everything about it with a cheese grater a hand drill and what ever materials are floating around the boat, I've got no us for it...

    Good LucK
  7. thankyou

    that's all i was after. and i agree completely, but perhaps you and i just like small boats you see.

  8. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I've had cable steering and hydraulic steering (manual pump, at the wheel). I understand what you are looking for here and I've got an idea for your proposed setup.

    First let me say I would suggest a nice, off the shelf hydraulic (at the wheel, not power assist) system and forget about the complexity. Just install, run the hydraulic lines and be happy you don't have to wrestle with a rudder on a cat flying through the water. :)

    With that said, you could always link the two rudders with a cross bar...

    Now that both rudders will move the same all the time, you can put a steering quadrant for your cable system on one rudder post:


    ... Then put a hydraulic steering system (with non-powered wheel located steering pump) on the other rudder stock:


    Only issue is you'd have to disengage the hydraulic system to use the cable system, since you may not be able to turn the cable wheel when the hydraulic system is engaged. Maybe there is some way around this... allowing the rudders to move when the hydraulic steering is engaged... with some kind of diverter in the hydraulic line that takes the hydraulic helm out of the loop. This might work.

    The hot sun fried my brain today though... so... :(
  9. the dream - worthwhile or not?

    CatBuilder - you've had both cable and wheel pump hydraulic,
    and recommend the hydraulic only over cable.

    but tell me - do you miss the feel? for normal fun sailing?

    a cross bar is definitely out - hydraulic cross bar ok though

    "a nice, off the shelf hydraulic (at the wheel, not power assist) system " is the default if i can't get this proposed system to work

    and is the proposed system worthwhile pursuing? - thats a good question
    maybe i am just stuck on the small sailing boat brain set. the only reason i want true full feeling is for fun, enjoyment.

    "forget about the complexity" is one big reason for wanting just the simple cable or mechanical on one rudder.

    i'll be cruising for years and just don't wanna be hassled by breakages, and i've read cruising sites where some people say hydraulic always break down and should be avoided if at all possible.

    the dream steering setup has simplicity and can fix it if it goes bung in the middle of nowhere, perfect feedback, twice as easy to turn as other tillers since there's only one rudder to be turned, the other rudder turns by power pack..

    and also has hydraulic power on the other rudder so the autopilot doesn't break down. many cruisers pilots break from strain.

    i can easily go plain vanilla hydraulic if this proves impossible to build,

    the NMEA rudder position indicator way will probably work - just have to find an NMEA guru lurking round here on the forum to say yay or nay

    adding rams to both rudders and using a power pack may also work

    "put a hydraulic steering system (with non-powered wheel located steering pump) on the other rudder stock" that or something similar would work but be a pain to get going.

    nothing definitely works yet though

  10. aussiebushman
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 283
    Likes: 33, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 132
    Location: Taralga NSW

    aussiebushman Innovator

    Have to agree with Phil. Hydraulic has all the advantages of being to run the lines wherever you want them and sure, there is a lack of "feel" but I never found this to be a problem.

    My 30' cat had twin rudders linked by an alloy cross beam. The tiller head on one rudder was connected to a transducer with the hydraulic lines run under the cockpit to a wheel pump. The entire system was self contained and there was never any kind of problem in 10 years.


    Attached Files:

  11. redreuben
    Joined: Jan 2009
    Posts: 1,983
    Likes: 214, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 349
    Location: South Lake Western Australia

    redreuben redreuben

    I am no expert on steering systems, except to say Kiss always pays. When I worked as a glassie we built Kiwi designs (monos) and they are passionate about tiller over wheel for the feedback reasons you like. A further consideration is autopilots, is your chosen system going to assist or complicate the installation / operation of this.
  12. elliott
    Joined: Jan 2008
    Posts: 9
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: e

    elliott Junior Member

    Steering: the most neglected aspect of multi design. Idiot designers intoxicated by the beauty of the hull they have just designed fall fast asleep when they should be thinking about steering setups. The vast majority of helm positions have less than 50 per cent all round visibility. They are usually exposed to the full force of windward spray and blinded by a too low headsail. The remote control mechanism is more often than not a pipeful of liquid. God save us from the Bowden cable.

    Helm position on a bridgedeck cat should be in the lee of the bridgedeck with rollback roof and swept screens using a vertical tiller working tubular drawbars and quadrants. Variable leverage should be available by sliding the connecting rod up and down the tiller giving large response in heavy weather and easy, fine response in light. When you have been discharged from the asylum feel free to contact me for more detail.
  13. glad to see some passionate replies

    because 9 out of ten people just don't care about their cat steering and go for zero feedback

    n i'm afraid it's looking certain that i'll be using a plain vanilla power assisted hydraulic steering setup

    but i really don't want to.

    on the cruisers forums the consensus is, it's not if, but when the hydraulics are going to break down.

  14. aussiebushman
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 283
    Likes: 33, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 132
    Location: Taralga NSW

    aussiebushman Innovator

    If you are that worried about hydraulic steering, get a different brand/installer. For backup, a square head on one rudderstock allows an emergency tiller to be fitted in seconds.

    Also, less patronising comments from some members might be helpful. No single individual has all of the right answers all of the time and some of we lesser mortals might actually contribute good ideas


    Attached Files:

  15. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I would like to add that my reason for preferring hydraulic steering is reliability.

    I had a very old cat (25 years) that had a hydraulic unit not much newer.

    The unit worked flawlessly, without leaking or having to add a drop of fluid for 2000 nautical miles or so.

    I found the hydraulic system to be more reliable than cables because it didn't need adjustment and couldn't "jump the track" if I paid no attention to it.

    Before this hydraulic system, I had only had Edson cable systems.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.