I have been a subscriber to PassageMaker for many years and go through the magazine pretty thoroughly. In my latest issue, January/ February 2018, I have found what appears to me to be a confusing description concerning the proper attachments of cable clamps for the steering system in the Troubleshooter article. On page 20 the caption for the photograph states that the U bolt lands on the dead end of the cable while on page 23 the text states that the saddle must rest against the dead end of the wire. To me, the picture caption is correct and the text description is incorrect. Is this the case? —Doug Morse
Good catch, Doug. I looked at my file of the photo and caption and it is correct. You are right, the text description is not right: It should have read, “...must never rest against the dead end of the wire.” —Steve Zimmerman
I found Steve Zimmerman’s piece about steering systems interesting and useful as far as it went. It didn’t cover, however, another significant type of steering system found in many higher end boats: that is, rack and pinion, and rod steering, and variations on those types (rotating torque tube and bevelhead, for example). These are much better systems than cable steering systems and offer somewhat less maintenance than hydraulic systems. —Bob Frantz
Thank you for your letter and comments. I agree that rack and pinion steering has its advantages, but we rarely see such systems on cruising powerboats. Sailboats with the steering wheel in close proximity to the rudderpost often utilize rack and pinion. Boats with outboard motors use another version, combining a steering cable with a rack and pinion connection at the outboard.
Cruising powerboats however, place the steering station a long way from the rudder, rendering rack and pinion impractical, and for this reason I did not include these systems in this article. —Steve Zimmerman