A Yacht Steering System Must be Responsive, Reliable and Safe
Yacht steering systems vary enormously.
If you've sailed other European yachts, try the helm
on a Hanse you'll be amazed at the difference in the
Time after time as we head out on test sails
one of the first things our customers say is something
along the lines of...
“Wow the steering is so light and responsive!"
They love the tight turning circle and the fact that a
small turn of the wheel gives a big change in
So why is the steering of Hanse yachts so responsive?
First off, the rudder on Hanse yachts is long. Almost as long as the keel.
A long rudder means the boat turns more readily.
This is because there's more surface area available to displace water.
It also makes marina berthing easier as you have more control.
And if you go blue water sailing your rudder won't come out of the water
in a big swell.
Second, Hanse use a rod and pinon steering system.
A rod and pinion system is solid, rigid and direct.
Every turn of the wheel is translated directly by rods and cogs
to the rudder stock. This gives you responsive steering with
no play or give.
This also means the Hanse single wheel yacht steering is quiet...
... there's no creaking or groaning as you turn the wheel like you get with a
Many of our Hanse owners like twin wheel steering.
The main advantage is the easy access to the cockpit after a swim or
when you're loading your supplies.
On twin wheel Hanses, Jefa Steering Systems have designed a small
length of chain to bridge the gap between the wheels.
And is the Hanse Steering System Reliable?
As always with Hanse the motto is quality at every stage. Every Hanse
yacht steering system is built by Jefa. Jefa Rudder and Steering is
located in Copenhagen, Denmark. They have manufactured rudder
and steering products since 1980 and they are recognised as world
eaders in this field.
Let's start with the rudder & post.
Hanse rudders are made from weight saving aluminium alloys.
The inner rudder is constructed by a process of drilling and glue.
This takes more time and effort than welding - but it's worth it - welding would weaken the aluminium.
Aluminium 6082 is also used for rudder shafts, it will not corrode, even if it's exposed by surface damage.
Polyester glue is added on all contact places then the
rudder stock is carefully glued to the blade.
The form is then filled with PU foam which expands
dramatically and fills up any free space in the blade.
After a few hours rest, the mould is opened and the
blade edges are finished by hand.
A lot of effort... but quality at every stage is what
Second, let's take a closer look at the self-aligning bearings.
Hanse pivot the hubs with self-aligning bearings. Here's the difference
between self aligning and non self aligning bearings... When a big wave
hits your rudder the stock will bend. The amount of bend depends on
the size and strength of your rudder and the position of the bearings.
in a yacht with non self-aligning bearings (left hand diagram) the bend
causes friction and heavy steering. If plain bearings are replaced with
self-aligning roller bearings (right hand diagram) the steering is totally
transformed. The steering is lighter and more responsive.
This is because the system is coping with the bend and
the rudder stays properly aligned.
Of course self-aligning bearings are more expensive...
but at Hanse quality comes first.