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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default Hydraulic Steering Conversion

    Hi, I have a 50ft 1931 wooden gaff rigged ketch. Itís a former fishing boat. It has a relatively conventional steering gear comprising large steering quadrant above a heavy wooden rudder on the stern deck, this is connected to the ships wheel (in a wheel house) by steel cables that run forward along the deck and various heavy duty brass sheaves.
    I am considering alternatives to simplify and tidy up the deck clutter and the heavy wear and tear on the steel cables and wonder whether anyone has any experience converting to a hydraulic system?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    S. Wales
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Conversion

    Yes-I’ve a 14m wooden ketch; aged over 30 years my steering system fell apart and I replaced with hydraulic. Important to get advice to ensure kit matches the boat properly and that the installation is arranged to suit hydraulics eg reservoir at top of system, steady fall of pipe height to the hydraulic arm etc etc-I’ve been very happy with it - if you want details I can look up the drawings next week.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Conversion

    Many thanks I would really appreciate that. In March I am going to be begin a big project to replace a lot of my boats deck, particularly the stern deck, if I am going to redesign the steering, now is the time to do it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    S.W. France
    Posts
    7,710

    Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Conversion

    I looked after a 65ft 35ton ketch. It had two steering positions with hydraulic systems. The autopilot worked just by the rudder stock. Apart from a leaking ram, it was quite good. Have a look at Vetus systems. The only downside is lack of feel and no positive central position of the wheel, due to creep in the system.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    6,935

    Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Conversion

    I converted an old (1939/9) Scottish fishing boat, quite a few years ago. Her steering was rods and chains onto a huge quadrant on deck, with a massive wooden rudder. The propeller was in an aperture, with the rudder hinged onto the post behind the prop. This meant that there was no possibility of even a slightly balanced rudder, making manoeuvring very tricky.

    I cut out the wooden post, beefed up the skeg, installed a steel rudder with a balance strip, with the rudder stock in a steel tube, instead of the previous wooden trunking. But the biggest improvement was changing over to Hydraulic steering. I got the hand-hydraulic pump from Wills Ridley, and made up all the other stuff myself.

    The hydraulic steering was wonderful, and has the advantage that you can let the wheel go, and the rudder will stay in the same position.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Newport IoW
    Posts
    616

    Default Re: Hydraulic Steering Conversion

    Since you will have the chance, I strongly suggest fitting a rudder position indicator. There are plenty of different types available, or it would be fun to make one.
    Essential for manouvering any wheel-steered vessel really, but especially hydraulic set-ups as the wheel position changes as said above.

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