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Rotary Steering Helm

Cable steering systems are the most common type of boat steering mechanisms used in vessels with an outboard or stern drive for propulsion. Available cable systems include single or double cable models offered with either a rack and pinion or rotary helm unit.

All cable steering systems contain a jacketed cable that connects the turning wheel through the helm unit to the outboard or drive of the boat. The helm uses a push-pull motion on the steering cable so that when the driver turns the steering wheel, steering cables control the outboard or stern drive and direct the boat.

Rotary steering systems are manufactured by both Teleflex Morse and Uflex. A planetary rotary helm is the most compact and consists of three or more gears that mesh internally with the cable drum to move the helical core of the steering cable. The rugged reduction gear rotary helm is built with one or more gears that mesh externally with the drum to move the helical core of the steering cable. These rotary helms offer a compact system that will fit behind any dash or console. Rotary steering cable systems are available in both standard versions and no-feed (NFB) versions.

Rack and Pinion Steering Helm

Rack and pinion systems are also available in standard and NFB versions. This system involves a pinion gear, hobbed directly into the helm shaft and engages a rack gear in a tubular housing. The rack and pinion helm may require more space behind your boat’s console because of the long bar that acts as the rack. Rack and pinion steering is the most efficient mechanical approach to moving the steering cable.

If your boat has an engine over 150 horsepower or multiple engines, you’ll want to choose an NFB or “Zerotorque” steering cable system, which is designed for higher horsepower performance applications. If you are looking for a smaller, practical system for a vessel with under 60 horsepower, the Uflex Rotech will work well.

Edson Marine Steering Systems and Pedestals 

 

Edson Corporation is one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Massachusetts and the United States, producing boat steering wheels, marine steering pedestals and manual bilge pumps. Founded in 1859 by Jacob Edson, the Edson Corporation designs and manufactures specialty marine hardware for both commercial and pleasure boats.

 

Early Edson Factory

Edson’s First New Beford Factory

 

Edson’s first, and still produced, steering system, is the 1902 Meteor worm steering system for Kaiser Wilheim’s 161’ yacht “Meteor”. This famous yacht, with its rugged Edson steering gear was Germany’s unrealized entry in the America’s Cup race.

1902 METEOR

Kaiser Wilheim’s 161’ yacht “Meteor”

 

Edson continued steering designs with Edson emergency steering systems being fitted to all WWI Hog Island freighters and Liberty ships. In WWII the famous Elco PT boats as well as other naval and merchant vessels are equipped with Edson emergency steering systems and Edson pumps.

 

ELCO PT 80\'

Elco PT 80′ – Jungle Paint Scheme

 

Steering systems were to give way to Edson steering pedestals on modern personal sailboats and offshore racing sailboats, from 18′ Catalina to 152′ Baltic, and beyond. Edson installed the first steering system fitted to a fiberglass production sailboat in 1959.

 

Baltic 152\'

Balti 152 – “Pink Gin”

 

Edson Steering Pedestals lead the way in small sailboat steering for anything over 20′. Edson builds a steering pedestal system for virually every production sailboat with the ability to fit to any rudder, cockpit, transom arrangement.

 

Edson Steering Pedestal