Whipstaff vs. Wheel.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Bill PKS, May 9, 2010.

  1. Bill PKS
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    Bill PKS Junior Member

    Whipstaff vs. Wheel.
    Some folks prefer tiller “ feel” to a wheel, but, for a Center Cockpit, a tiller is very impractical,, so, I'm thinking about using a Whipstaff type Steering.
    I have used tiller lines to steer Spritsail Skiffs, and they give relatively good " feel"; so there's some hope some " feel" will pass around the sheaves.
    The arrangement is to have a quadrant on the rudder shaft connected by cables to a Whipstaff arrangement. ( See simplifyed sketch attached.)
    ( I think Erickson sold a similar Idea several years ago >> but they connected with some type of knuckle joint, and tried to make the top of the staff look like a wheel, perhaps because wheels look more " Nautical" ?)
    Obviously, the geometry, arc of the quadrant, lever arms, and travel of the top and bottom of the Whipstaff will require a lot of cyphering.
    Also, thinking about inserting a (connectable) hydraulic steering linkage into the system, using a Tug boat type toggle..for anywhere steering under power, and autopilot.
    Everybody will probably laugh at the Whipstaff arm sticking up out of the cockpit sole... but this was around long before wheels.
    Just fish food for thought.
    Any comments, or warnings?
    Bill PKS
    ( I broached this idea in another thread, but hope a specific discussion on the idea will be informative.)
     

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  2. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    As drawn, that whipstaff setup isn't too refined. The cable will change length as the boat is turned. Nevertheless the method of steering itself is sound. It is very important to have as precise a linkage as possible.
    What should change from the drawing as shown would be that the cable directly below the whip staff should wrap under a quadrant from both sides(the quadrand being part of the whip staff, curved side facing down), the whip staff pivot being the quandrant axis.
     
  3. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Whipstaff steering was very common and thoroughly practical on old time fishing boats and workboats. The ones most commonly seen differed from your layout. Your sketch shows athwartship steering. The traditional ones used fore and aft motion and the stick was attached at the side of the boat. Many a boat was built that way. Occasionally you might see a boat with sticks on both sides. In either case the cable or rope did not cross the interior of the boat.

    If you are going to install hydraulics anyway, then why not use it for manual steering as well as auto pilot. You can still use the whipstaff if you like. If so you will use a hyraulic cylinder on both ends of the circuit. Simple, cheap, powerful. Fuddy duddy that I am, I'd use the rope and block method. Even cheaper and much easier to repair than hydraulics.
     
  4. Bill PKS
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    Bill PKS Junior Member

    Alan,
    I know it's a very rough skech.. Just intended for conceptualization.
    ( There is a bulkhead in the hull as planned which the Cable can parallel.)
    Interesting idea of a Quadrant on the bottom of the staff.
    I was planning a Slot in bottom of the Staff, with UHMD and bushings so the cable could slide vertically in the slot, and the cable leignth would not be affected in the arc.
    In so far as turning the quadrant, wouldn't the distance of pull on one side of the quadrant be the same as the give distance on the opposite side of the quadrant,, so the cable would remain taught?
    Bill PKS
     
  5. Bill PKS
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    Bill PKS Junior Member

    Messabout,
    Some fishermen round here still use a whip staff to steer motors.
    Usually seen when steering is way in the bow for bait net casting and flounder gigging.
    In this instance the main idea is to have the feel of the rudder thru the cables when sailing.
    The Hydraulic connection to the Quadrant alternative is for running under power or auto pilot..
    I'm with you,,, I think the Cable an Blocks would be much more dependable and easier to repair.
    But I wonder if leverage can be designed to be adequate for a 44' Schooner, without getting the shaft to far aft in the rudder?
    Lots of geometry..

    Bill PKS
     
  6. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    I tried a whipstaff but the boat kept going in circles since I could not get both starboard and port rowers to work in harmony:p
     
  7. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    You will want to add a similar quadrant to the bottom of the whipstaf as used at the rudder head. This will ensure the cables on each side maintain the same length as the rudder is turned, maintaining tension and the feel.

    The Chris White Hammerhead 34 Spartina has a whipstaff tiller much like you describe. (Unfortunately, I can't find a picture of it just now, but there is a video somewhere on the web of the boat sailing that shows it quite well.) The tiller is shaped like an inverted "J" so there is a horizontal handle at the top. You could use a tiller extension with it, too.
     
  8. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    If there is a quadrant, yes. It's the whipstaff end, not the tiller end I referred to. As the whipstaff is swung to port or starboard, it has to raise the cable on both sides simultaneously. This stretches the cable. If you simply repeat the quadrant design used at the tiller end, the cable won't tighten up like it would in the drawing.
     
  9. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Exactly.
     
  10. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    I love the concept for three reasons , The Staff takes up almost no room

    The helm can make instant large changes , useful while docking or coming alongside (why its seen in so many yacht club launches or lobster boats).

    Finally a cheap tiller autopilot wors well , better to spend $300 than $3000 to be lazy.

    FF
     
  11. kenJ
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    kenJ Senior Member

    Unless I'm missing something, if you push the top of the whipstaff left the bottom of the shaft moves right. That would tension the cable running down the port side of the boat and rotate the rudder CCW making the boat turn right. This can be corrected by putting the quadrant on the rudder facing aft instead of forward.
     
  12. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I don't see that as a problem; a tiller works the same way. If you push it to the left the boat turns right.....
     
  13. kenJ
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    kenJ Senior Member

    If you look at the diagram, Bill PKS indicates push the whipstaff left to go left as designated by the red arrow. I was just saying that if that is his desire, it won't work as drawn.

    Most whipstaffs that I have seen are mounted o a side bulkhead and work in a fore/aft motion so which way they turn the boat is less of an issue. Maybe because I grew up using tillers, their movement seems normal to me. I think it would be very disconcerting and take quite a while to get used to a whipstaff mounted in the center of the boat that turned the boat opposite the way you pushed it.
     
  14. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    A whipstaff that operates like a normal tiller will come up closer to the windward side of the boat when beating, closer to where one is presumedly sitting. I'd think that it would feel just right to anyone familiar with a tiller.
     

  15. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Never trust a red arrow....:p
     
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