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Self-steering for Sailing Craft
Self-Steering for Sailing Craft
by John S Letcher jr

"One of perhaps 20 books published in the last 35 years that is considered a true modern classic for any sailing enthusiast. It is truly a book that should be in any comprehensive personal (or organizational) reference library. This extensive book features over 250 pages of detailed (yet practical) text, illustrations, photos, and diagrams"

"This is easily THE BEST boat engineering book I've ever read. John Letcher applies his considerable engineering knowledge and practical experience to the problem of boat self steering. He uses a systems approach to breakdown all the discrete elements that comprise an effective self steering system. He suggests a methodology of testing to develop each element in a prototype steering system before investing in more permanent materials. The reason for this is the variability in relative steering damping in each boat's design that every self steering system has to be adapted to, which also helps explain why many commercial windvane steering solutions with their "one size fits all" approach tend to work well only to windward in strong winds. He also gives several "cookbook" solutions that provide an effective design guide book, while pointing out the limitations of this approach. This book has a reputation as being the best book on sheet to tiller steering systems ever written and it deserves praise for this, but it is also the best book written for anyone that wants to design a self steering system for their boat or troubleshoot the flaws and improve the effectiveness of an existing windvane system"

John Letcher has been very generous and allowed his book to be available for download. This is on the understanding that it is for personal use only. All downloads copyright © John S Letcher jr

Chapter 1 Steering and Self-Steering
Chapter 2 Natural Course Stability
Chapter 3 Sheet-to-Tiller Self-Steering
Chapter 4 So You Want to Try a Windvane
Chapter 5 Controls
Chapter 6 Windvanes
Chapter 7 Oversteering
Chapter 8 The Linkage
Chapter 9 The Complete Vane Gear
Chapter 10 Electronic Autopilots
Chapter 11 Course-Keeping and Watch-Keeping
Chapter 12 Design for Self-Steering

Many thanks to Len Hiley for converting John Letcher's book to pdf files and obtaining permission from John Letcher.

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