how many turns in your wheel?

Engines, Drive trains, Propellers, Steering, Ground Tackle and other mechanical system

how many turns in your wheel?

Postby seadago » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:53 pm

How many turns in your wheel?
Fair weather sailor that I am, only recently I was faced with a fresh breeze against a 5 knot tide for about 4 hours, including coming up the channel in Lowestoft (Suffolk, UK). It was a rather exhausting afternoon. The wheel felt very heavy, and keeping the sails in good trim demanded full focus and reaction time measured in seconds.
Now, I only have one and one-half turns of the wheel between full rudders. I don't know if this is "normal" in a F30 CK. Never asked myself the question. But one of the crew on board then remarked it was too little, and suggested I should consider changing the gear ratio at the base of the pedestal, or installing a hydraulic dampener on the link to the tiller lever.
I don't know what mechanism is there at the base of the pedestal. Presumably a radial arm drive of some description, but seems to me unlikely I can change the gear ratio on it without replacing the whole thing.
Anyone with experience of having done this, or whom suffered the same heavy wheel problem, I would much appreciate your input.
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Re: how many turns in your wheel?

Postby Camino » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:53 am

One and one-half turns sounds about right. 5 knot current is significant. A fresh breeze against you coupled with the current makes boat handling challenging. Having more turns in the wheel stop-to-stop will only add to tiring out your poor shoulder. The heaviness you feel is the current and wind exerting pressure on the rudder as water pushes past it forcefully. In that situation the quicker you adjust the helm ( aggressive handling the helm) to keep course the better the boat will handle. Once the boat is allowed to sliddle off a bit, getting her helm back up will exert a noticeable force. Make sense? IMHO

I must say the the Freedom handles way better than my old Sabre 34 - she had a strict IOR hull and quartering seas in a breeze downwind would push her around alarmingly if you weren't extremely aggressive on the wheel immediately when feeling her being shoved off course. Steering was "easy" if aggressive and very very heavy if the boat was allowed to start fish-tailing. The AP could not handle those conditions.
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Re: how many turns in your wheel?

Postby bad » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:07 am

1.5 turns from stop to stop sounds low. It may be as simple as changing a sprocket to change that. Some info on steering here ... gGuide.pdf

Edson still had the file on the F40 CC and were helpful answering questions.

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Re: how many turns in your wheel?

Postby andygc » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:29 am

I believe that all the F30 CK boats have Whitlock Cobra steering. The ratio between wheel rotation and rudder lever movement is fixed. There should be no reason to want to alter it.

I commonly have to beat against a 4-5 kt current (but only for a short distance) and the helm is not stiff or heavy. Heaviness is either due to rig balance not being right, giving excessive weather helm, or to mechanical problems in the linkages. Heeling will, of course, also give you some weather helm. If the helm is not heavy otherwise then it is unlikely to be a mechanical problem.

It's not clear from your description what your point of sailing was. The great joy of the Freedom CK rig is that beating up a channel is easy (although very slow against a 5 kt tide!). It doesn't need any sail trimming once the sails are set up for close-hauled. My wife no longer gets grumpy if I insist on tacking up the Exe because she no longer has to do any winch-grinding. :D
(UK Freedom 30 cat ketch, build number 107)
River Exe, Devon
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