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Moody Eclipse 33 Advantages of the MkII over MkI? and particularly inner helm setup.

Francis Mcdermott

Francis McDermott
Registered Guest
I am inclined to plump for the Mk1 with the internal helm but would be very grateful for informed input from those with experience of both models. Pros & cons generally between the MkI & Mk11, and also specifically in terms of the inner helm arrangements. Many thanks!
 

Paul Crickmore

Paul Crickmore
Member
Boat name
JONIKA
Berth
Whitehaven
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 33
Cruising area
UK West Coast
Hi Francis, and welcome to the most excellent of owners forums!
I know you want to hear from people with experience of both and I don't but: I've never sailed from the inner helm and don't motor from it either, mainly because I'm used to being outside while on the move - I prefer the better visibility. I suppose I would motor from inside in flat calm and drizzle/mist, particularly as that's where the previous owner had the radar display mounted. (So why did I buy a deck saloon? For the apres-sail.)
The inner helm takes up a lot of space that could be better used for e.g. a microwave oven. (As an aside, if anyone has a good idea of where to site one on a MkI, I'm still trying to figure it out.). The added complexity of dual gearbox and throttle control puts off most marine engineers in my experience and the system confuses novices to the point of having both throttles engaged at the same time, with ensuing chaos (and a slightly scuffed stem *blushes*.)
It is easy to access the back of the switch panel on the MkI because there's a drop-down hatch above the sink that gives good access, though not to the negative busbar, which is inconveniently mounted practically under the side deck outboard of the switch panel.
The emergency steering on the MkI is whichever helm position hasn't been compromised. You can't access the top of the rudderstock - there is no socket, hole or anything on the transom, so no emergency tiller. Not that there's much space between the transom and the outer helm, so an emergency tiller would be a serious effort to use anyway. I've not decided whether I think that's an advantage or a drawback.
Other thoughts may surface in time! You won't regret buying an Eclipse 33 (or at least not more than the general regret one has after making such a commitment).
Best wishes,
Paul
 

Francis Mcdermott

Francis McDermott
Registered Guest
Hi Francis, and welcome to the most excellent of owners forums!
I know you want to hear from people with experience of both and I don't but: I've never sailed from the inner helm and don't motor from it either, mainly because I'm used to being outside while on the move - I prefer the better visibility. I suppose I would motor from inside in flat calm and drizzle/mist, particularly as that's where the previous owner had the radar display mounted. (So why did I buy a deck saloon? For the apres-sail.)
The inner helm takes up a lot of space that could be better used for e.g. a microwave oven. (As an aside, if anyone has a good idea of where to site one on a MkI, I'm still trying to figure it out.). The added complexity of dual gearbox and throttle control puts off most marine engineers in my experience and the system confuses novices to the point of having both throttles engaged at the same time, with ensuing chaos (and a slightly scuffed stem *blushes*.)
It is easy to access the back of the switch panel on the MkI because there's a drop-down hatch above the sink that gives good access, though not to the negative busbar, which is inconveniently mounted practically under the side deck outboard of the switch panel.
The emergency steering on the MkI is whichever helm position hasn't been compromised. You can't access the top of the rudderstock - there is no socket, hole or anything on the transom, so no emergency tiller. Not that there's much space between the transom and the outer helm, so an emergency tiller would be a serious effort to use anyway. I've not decided whether I think that's an advantage or a drawback.
Other thoughts may surface in time! You won't regret buying an Eclipse 33 (or at least not more than the general regret one has after making such a commitment).
Best wishes,
Paul
Many thanks Paul. Exactly the sort of inside info I was after. I was thinking Hydrovane for emergency steering but (aside from the emergency rudder aspect) I suppose the normal autopilot should cope with weather okay. Does the Mk1 also come fitted with the Autohelm 4000 or was this just fitted to the MkII. If so do you know if it can be fitted easily to the MK1, or do you use another autopilot solution?
As you can imagine my boat-buying has come to a grinding halt with the lockdown. I am also waiting for RYA Day Skipper training but who knows when that will next become available. Many thanks for the feedback, Francis
 

Paul Crickmore

Paul Crickmore
Member
Boat name
JONIKA
Berth
Whitehaven
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 33
Cruising area
UK West Coast
Hello again, Francis,
The Autohelm 4000 isn't quite rated for a boat as heavy as the Eclipse, but does a reasonably good job in anything but heavy seas as it can't predict the swell, nor react in time. Jonika was fitted with the 4000 and a single control head (the actual course computer as well in this earlier design before RM got greedy and split it up into two units), the control head/computer being mounted on the port side of the companionway. All other MkIs I've seen for sale have the same 4000 system fitted, though I suppose there may be some where the commissioning owner didn't bother and no-one has later seen the need to retro-fit. I doubt there will be many without the system.
Fitting one if not there shouldn't be too difficult as the headlining in the aft cabin exposes the bottom of the binnacle - you may have a bit of a nut to crack to get the top of the pedestal off though after 30 years and would need to be careful not to damage the wires leading to the compass light. You will find sourcing the parts difficult or expensive, the current equivalent is £1300 from a quick internet trawl. eBay may be your friend. Personally, if fitting from scratch I'd prefer to mount an autopilot ram below deck. The steering quadrant for the inner helm is reasonably accessible from a hatch in the aft cabin - I may be able to rustle up a photo of the compartment - and it's far more weatherproof. There aren't any mounting points though, so you'd have to glass in a decent sized marine ply panel to support the ram and distribute the load.
I have made a few improvements to the system: I took a SeaTalk cable down from the rear of the control head to a junction box and then to an old RM300 GPS, an SL72 7" chartplotter (no radar) mounted on the mug-holder behind the compass and also to an ST60 Graphic on the right-hand side of the companionway. This makes knowing what's going on much easier and means the autopilot can be used in 'track' mode in addition to 'heading'. I have ready for fitting the compatible gyro unit which should allow the autopilot to cope better in heavier seas as it should know about course deviations almost instantly but family commitments have meant I never got around to it.
Happy hunting when we're allowed to again and good luck with the Day Skipper,
Paul
 

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Member
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
Hi Francis,

You will probably be surprised to learn that one of the more fragile components in the Whitlock Constellation steering gear is the quadrant - it's not unknown for these to fail if the rudder hits a submerged obstruction. Usually both wheel and auto pilot operate the rudder through the quadrant, whereas an emergency tiller fits directly on to the top of the rudder stock and is capable of steering without the quadrant. I would want an emergency tiller with any wheel steering system.

Peter.
 

Paul Crickmore

Paul Crickmore
Member
Boat name
JONIKA
Berth
Whitehaven
Boat type
Moody Eclipse 33
Cruising area
UK West Coast
Hi Peter - I did not know that!
On the Eclipse 33 the two helm positions have independent linkages to the rudder post: the inner helm uses the Constellation gear: chain driven in part with a steering quadrant mounted below bunk height while the outer helm uses a robust pushrod mounted on an offset bar at the bottom of the bevel-gear driven rod running down the centre of the binnacle. The pushrod is attached to an identical offset bar on the rudder post about 1 inch below cockpit sole height. Fortunately, the autopilot drives this second, far more robust looking arrangement. The offset bars are solid steel about 1/3rd inch thick, if memory (3 yrs ago) serves, the pushrod is round steel bar about 1/2 inch diameter.
I guess Moody felt the chances of both of these systems failing was remote enough that rudder loss was more likely and therefore didn't provide for an emergency tiller. I suspect that were you to bore through the moulding in the transom you'd be able to access the op of the post with ease - it looks like the moulding was a re-use of a moulding for a design that did require the tiller attachment.

Apologies for the rubbish images, I was actually photographing for a different purpose, but you can see the bottom of the steering post descending the binnacle, the rectangular section offset bar and the round section pushrod with screw adjuster for length
 

Attachments

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Member
Boat name
WILD THYME
Berth
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
Hi Paul,

Sounds like the dual helm was properly thought through in the design - each system fully redundant up to the rudder stock. The chain / cable and quadrant is probably a Constellation and the shaft and bevel gear a Cobra, both by Whitlock.

On the Constellation systems, autopilots are either wheel mounted or an independent ram which usually drives the same quadrant on the stock as the cables so, if the quadrant fails you lose both the wheel and the aitopilot. Some more meticulous owners fit a separate tiller arm for the autopilot ram, I'm afraid not me ( my excuse is that she was like that when we bought her). The quadrant is cast from some strange alloy which is fairly brittle, so a shock loading causes the C-clamp, which secures the quadrant to the stock, to break into a few pieces - I have a photo somewhere but can't get at it just now. Newer quadrants seem to be of the same material, but designed a bit more robustly, although the C-clamp doesn't look any different. More annoyingly, the newer quadrants have the stops set to allow the rudder to turn through a bigger arc so, if you replace one of the old ones without understanding this difference, your auto pilot ram will end up being the travel stop and destroy itself. Not an issud with a wheel pilot.

Peter.
 

Francis Mcdermott

Francis McDermott
Registered Guest
Hello again, Francis,
The Autohelm 4000 isn't quite rated for a boat as heavy as the Eclipse, but does a reasonably good job in anything but heavy seas as it can't predict the swell, nor react in time. Jonika was fitted with the 4000 and a single control head (the actual course computer as well in this earlier design before RM got greedy and split it up into two units), the control head/computer being mounted on the port side of the companionway. All other MkIs I've seen for sale have the same 4000 system fitted, though I suppose there may be some where the commissioning owner didn't bother and no-one has later seen the need to retro-fit. I doubt there will be many without the system.
Fitting one if not there shouldn't be too difficult as the headlining in the aft cabin exposes the bottom of the binnacle - you may have a bit of a nut to crack to get the top of the pedestal off though after 30 years and would need to be careful not to damage the wires leading to the compass light. You will find sourcing the parts difficult or expensive, the current equivalent is £1300 from a quick internet trawl. eBay may be your friend. Personally, if fitting from scratch I'd prefer to mount an autopilot ram below deck. The steering quadrant for the inner helm is reasonably accessible from a hatch in the aft cabin - I may be able to rustle up a photo of the compartment - and it's far more weatherproof. There aren't any mounting points though, so you'd have to glass in a decent sized marine ply panel to support the ram and distribute the load.
I have made a few improvements to the system: I took a SeaTalk cable down from the rear of the control head to a junction box and then to an old RM300 GPS, an SL72 7" chartplotter (no radar) mounted on the mug-holder behind the compass and also to an ST60 Graphic on the right-hand side of the companionway. This makes knowing what's going on much easier and means the autopilot can be used in 'track' mode in addition to 'heading'. I have ready for fitting the compatible gyro unit which should allow the autopilot to cope better in heavier seas as it should know about course deviations almost instantly but family commitments have meant I never got around to it.
Happy hunting when we're allowed to again and good luck with the Day Skipper,
Paul
Brilliant, thanks Paul,

Francis
 
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