Tuesday, November 05, 2013

'Minnow's' Steering Gear

When I acquired ‘Minnow’ I was not happy with the steering gear. The galvanized pulleys did not run freely, and they squeaked as the steering line ran over them. I subsequently bought four ball bearing pulleys to replace them, and this afternoon I set them up with the old steering line. The line was worn* where it came into contact with the bulkheads, because it had not been aligned properly.

I exchanged the shackles securing the pulleys in the lazarette with short pieces of cord to allow them to assume the correct angle for the steering line to run freely. I also secured the forward pulleys with cord, but instead of tying them to stainless steel fixtures, I tied them to bolts passing through number two bulkhead. The previous owner had the forward pulleys bolted directly to the bulkhead, which meant they could not align themselves for the steering line to freely pass through the holes in the bulkhead.

I attached the steering line to the tiller with a clove hitch at one end, and a round turn and two half hitches at the other. I think this will prove satisfactory. This arrangement gives two advantages over Matt’s system where the line passes through holes in the tiller and over a slot at the end of the tiller. The advantages are: 1) Quicker to tension or slacken off the line, and 2) Quicker to release the line in an emergency.

*When I’m sure there will be no further abrasion to the old rope, I’ll replace it with a new one.

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