Say cable is 10, rack and pinion is 8, and hydraulic is 1 on the feel scale.
The sailors with hydraulic liked it that I dealt with because they almost never 
steered by hand. A 3,000 mile trip was probably 100 miles of hand steering and 
2900 Otto.
I really don’t like it because you need to look at the rudder angle to trim 
sails, you have no feel at all for weather or lee helm. We got to where every 
time the rudder went past 20 degrees we reefed the jib on our charter cat.

From: CnC-List [] On Behalf Of Nauset Beach 
via CnC-List
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 5:29 PM
Cc: Nauset Beach <>
Subject: Re: Stus-List [EXTERNAL] Re: Hydraulic auto-pilot > Rack and Pinion 

To my knowledge when driving on OPB with wheel steering it has only been cable 
– was not aware rack and pinion was even an option, hence my question.  
Hydraulic seems the antithesis of the fun of sailing…

Not an Island Packet – they look to be very comfortable boats but a little too 
far into the cruising end of the spectrum for me.  Good to hear the feel is 
similar to the cable steering.  If I ever go for a test sail on that boat will 
report my observations.


From: CnC-List [] On Behalf Of Della Barba, 
Joe via CnC-List
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2018 11:31 AM
Cc: Della Barba, Joe <<>>
Subject: Re: Stus-List [EXTERNAL] Re: Hydraulic auto-pilot > Rack and Pinion 

Cable is better than rack and pinion for steering feel IMHO. The hydraulic 
steering boats I have sailed had rudder angel indicators because otherwise you 
have no idea what is going on. The owners said they didn’t care about feel 
because they hardly ever steered by hand out of the harbor.

From: CnC-List [] On Behalf Of Frederick G 
Street via CnC-List
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2018 10:18 AM
Cc: Frederick G Street <<>>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: Stus-List Hydraulic auto-pilot > Rack and Pinion 

Let me guess — Island Packet?

I’ve heard that the rack-and-pinion has a pretty direct feel, similar to a 
cable-based steering system like most of us have.

Fred Street -- Minneapolis
S/V Oceanis (1979 C&C Landfall 38) -- Bayfield, WI

On Jul 9, 2018, at 9:15 AM, Nauset Beach via CnC-List 
<<>> wrote:

A very timely thread…  I am beginning to look at boats for a possible change 
and wondered about what effect either a linear or a hydraulic below deck AP 
would have on the feel of a boat.  Having tiller steering now, any change to a 
wheel would be “different” – but had some concern having a below deck AP would 
make the boat feel sluggish.  Good to hear people notice little if any change 
in the helm.

What is the typical change over point in terms of displacement from a linear 
mechanical to hydraulic system?

One boat which caught my eye has rack and pinion steering, I assume from Edson. 
 Any sense of the pros / cons of that vs the chain and wire system?  Would 
think the “direct drive” nature of it would provide near 100% feel of the helm 
vs the chain and wire, but maybe not.  Is the maintenance simpler with rack and 
pinion?  Clean and lube the gears [like a winch] and you are done vs. all the 
discussion on replacing / aligning idler pulleys / plates, meat hooks on the 
wire, etc.



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