Steering inside my pilothouse?

I have Corbin 39 # 154 and it does not have an inside steering arrangement. As the boat is on the Gulf coast, it may not even need one. However if we ever headed north it would be good to be in the protected pilot-house. Any thoughts on systems and solutions? Tim Baggett, (#154, Brillo del Sol)

a. For my Corbin I changed both steering stations with a direct shaft & gear system from Jefa and couldn’t be more pleased. Jack V., (#127, Kathrian).

b. Two Pelicans is “fitted for but not with” inside steering and engine controls. It would be simple to connect the engine controls with a Vetus steering pump coupled to a bypass valve and some hydraulic tubing. Then, she could be operated from the pilothouse. I have never considered this option as the operator would have extremely limited vision. Jeremy P., (#101, Two Pelicans).

c. I have inside steering, but no engine controls. The steering wheel is a nice luxury, especially with the Captain’s chair; but I would use the Monitor when sailing on the open sea and I would use the autopilot when motoring. In addition, when motoring in close quarters I would be outside, in the cockpit. Inside steering is not needed, really. Lester H. (#010, Insouciance).

d. A little more info would be helpful. What is your present setup (i.e., cable, hydraulic)? If your system is hydraulic it would be easy to expand to include a second station and autopilot. I have a two station Wagner & Novice AP. The installation is straight forward, copper tubing, flaring and compression fittings. This is not a cheap way to go but if your present system is hydraulic your half way there, and it’s pretty bulletproof . Bill C. (#095, Coochi).

e. We have inside steering on “#050, Opportunity”. We never use it, partly because of our “local” sailing activity. If you stand in the wheelhouse and look out of the forward windows you will realize how restricted the visibility is. Additionally, you cannot see much of the sails. However, if you were out for an extended period in bad weather I suppose it would be useful to be able to steer from inside but only if you were not concerned about visibility. That would mean that you were not close to hazards and there was little boat traffic nearby. We have Wagner hydraulic steering for both the cockpit and in the wheelhouse so the installation was not difficult (when building the boat!). Both sets of hydraulic lines lead to a Tee near the hydraulic ram. The hydraulic autopilot (a pump) links in to the same system. I don’t know what your primary system involves. We also have duplicate engine controls. Parallel cables are attached to the throttle and the gear shift so operating one moves the other. Friction isn’t a problem. There is also an ignition switch and glow plug heater switch (for our VW diesel) adjacent to the inside steering. The analog rudder angle indicator is also duplicated here. So that is a lot of extra equipment. I was surprised to find I don’t have a decent photo of the set up, just this scan of an old photo. The wheel is on the centreline and the “step” is needed to cover the rear of the engine. It is also useful to see out a little higher up! I hope this helps. Regards, David S., s/v #050, Opportunity

f. I have a second steering station in the pilothouse. The outside and inside steering wheels have individual hydraulic pumps hooked up to the same ram. It works beautifully. HOWEVER, I’ve sailed many miles since the year 2000, including an Atlantic crossing, and, as far as I can remember, only used the inside steering one time while motoring on a cold rainy day (that’s before I had an autopilot). Why? because you can’t see what lies ahead all that well…or not at all. (by the way, I’m 6′ 2″ and my head touches the ceiling). The flaw is that the Corbin pilothouse is too low [note, this is a mk1 that Horacio is describing, it is a little better in a mk2 in this respect]. Sailing in close quarters, it’s useless; sailing in open ocean, it’s also useless because you have the autopilot on. I suggest that you stand in the pilothouse, as though steering, and ask yourself whether you’d feel comfortable with your field of vision forward (with the boat in the water and preferably not with the boat stripped in “on the hard mode”). If you add a dinghy on deck, an unrolled genoa, staysail, etc., it’s like sailing into the unknown. Setting the autopilot and occasionally scanning the horizon while standing on the companionway ladder is much better and safer. If you were in Portugal, I’d sell you mine and use the money to buy a radar and AIS. Merry Christmas and safe sailing. Horacio M., (#073 Jakatar), Peniche, Portugal.

g. Thanks Horacio, I am getting pretty much the same opinion about wheelhouses–no one uses them. Just felt if we ever came your direction it would be great to have. I do have autopilot with remote so that should do. On a side note I just read Laurence Bergreen’s OVER THE EDGE OF THE EARTH a tome about Ferdinand Magellan’s adventure to locate the Spice Islands. It is very good. Thanks for your time and the very informed response. Happy Holidays, Tim Baggett, Nacodoches, Texas, (#154, Brillo del Sol).