I own ALAUA VI (#021, formerly Gran de Sel). She is a pilothouse with dual hydraulic helms. I would like to install an emergency tiller and am considering accessing the rudder post via an inspection plate in the cockpit and fitting the emergency tiller over the rudder post. I was wondering if any other owners have experience with this and was hoping you could post this question on your site. Cheers, Bob Schwartz, ALAUA VI (#021, formerly Gran de Sel).
a. The top of my rudder post extends thru the cockpit sole and ends within the pedestal. I have an emergency tiller which fits on top of the post, for use with the Monitor windvane. Lester Helmus, (s/v #010, Insouciance).
b. I have the same set up as you, plus the emergency tiller. My system consists of the following: A stainless pipe that fits over the rudder stock. The pipe is prevented from rotating by using keys set into a groove in the stock and held in place by a clamp. The pipe goes through a snug nylon bushing in the cockpit to about 6 inches above the cockpit floor. Two wedges are welded into the top part of the pipe where I insert a tiller with a stainless steel fitting. The tiller is placed backward and thus must be angled upward to clear the seats. You just snap on the tiller, switch the steering to bypass and that’s it. It works like a charm. I originally installed it for the windvane since, as you surely know, windvanes and hydraulics don’t mix. In fact, while crossing the Atlantic, after experiencing a problem with the windvane, we used the emergency tiller for about 5 days of hand steering simply because it was there and was easy to use. You could have the pipe not go through the floor and, instead, install an inspection porthole or something like that, but then you would have to build some sort of support on the inside and make the male tiller fitting longer. Here are two pictures of the pipe attached to the rudder stock (see below), Here are some more pictures of the emergency tiller setup (These close-up pictures really make rust and dirt stand out!). You might consider improving the way the tiller fitting attaches to the pipe coming through the cockpit deck (below ). Mine works OK, but for windvane steering there’s always a bit of undesirable play (See emergency tiller1). The round silver lever at the base of the pedestal is the “normal, feedback and bypass” lever. The actual mechanism is hidden in the pedestal. Good luck, Horacio Marteleira, (#073, Jakatar), Peniche, Portugal
c. We have added an emergency tiller to Necessity. We removed the fibreglass gland which supported the upper end of the rudderpost and fabricated a cup which was glassed to the underside of the cockpit sole in its place. We had a bronze bushing made which is fitted into the bottom of the cup so the post sticks through. This provides the necessary support for the rudder. Perhaps a bearing would be better but the bushing works fine. We have had to lubricate it occasionally during our transatlantic passage as the salt seems to build up. (See emergency tiller access). The final step was to cut out the cockpit floor to expose the cup and the top of the rudderpost which has two keyways. We covered it with an inspection plate. The tiller is a piece of stainless tube the same diameter as the post with a larger diameter piece of tubing welded to the lower end so that it slips over the top of the rudderpost. We added a key which locks it to the shaft. A smaller diameter stainless rod fits through a hole in the top of the vertical tube and faces aft as a tiller, just clearing the helm seat. Not the ideal way to steer 1000 miles but it should work in a pinch. Fortunately we have never had to use it. Hope this helps. Let me know what questions you have. Brian Hall, (#135, Necessity), Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada
d. I see that you have a Mark 1 Corbin, like mine. You will probably find that the rudder shaft is directly below the cockpit pedestal. The original Corbin drawing of an emergency tiller system showed the use of an angled shaft connected with a universal joint, to bring a stub shaft up through the cockpit sole ahead of the pedestal (see rudderpost pantograph). I figured the cost of a universal made of non-corrodible material would be very expensive, even if I could find one. During a trip to the Corbin factory I saw a clever alternative system being installed. It used a dummy rudder shaft ahead of the rudder connected to the rudder shaft with a pantograph linkage. This required a second tiller arm on the rudder shaft (additional to the one used for the hydraulic steering ram) and an identical tiller arm on the dummy shaft (see emergency rudderpost in #050, Opportunity). This is the system I have used and it works well although it takes some effort to move the rudder manually because of the friction in the various bearings. Also, it wasn’t cheap!. My dummy shaft is the same diameter as the main rudder shaft, 1 ½”, but it could probably be smaller as it doesn’t carry a heavy load. I have a bearing (bushing) on the hull at the bottom of the shaft and a stuffing box at the top end, below the cockpit sole. The dummy shaft is a few inches ahead of the pedestal and just ahead of the pedestal 1″ guard tubes. It protrudes a few inches from the sole and I have a system to quickly connect the emergency tiller. My photo is the best I have on file and it is too cold to go out to the boat and dive under the tarp at the moment. If you would like more details I will get a photo and some measurements later on. Regards, David Salter, (#050, Opportunity).
e. Thanks very much for the information. The base of my pedestal is about 3 inches ahead of the rudder post so I should be able to rig something directly above the rudder post. On a separate note…your spotless bilge puts mine to shame!!! Cheers, Bob Schwartz