The Freehand steering system was originally designed by Larry Pardy, and subsequently developed and produced by Mike Anderson of Anderson Boat Works, Newport Beach, CA. Production of this extremely reliable system has now moved to the Sam L. Morse Company, who have fitted many of these units on the Bristol Channel Cutter and the Falmouth Cutter.
The overall simplicity of the design and the few moving parts make this self steering system a winner, furthermore, being mounted to the backstay, the need for thick and unattractive supports for the sail is eliminated.
The clutch mechanism is available to the helmsman without stretching, and, once the Freehand is engaged, the tiller can be removed, providing an open cockpit. Fine adjustment to the clutch mechanism allows the helmsman to change course without re-installing the rudder.
The system is designed specifically for vessels with a backstay, boomkin and transom mounted rudder, but can be modified for other boats, including those with a reverse transom.
The key to the success of the Freehand system is the simplicity of design, ease of use, and the quality of components. Maintenance is easy: all one has to do is ensure the bearings in the lazy susan are kept free of salt and dirt.
A video of the system in action in 28 knot winds is available here:
Requests for more details of the system should be addressed to Mike Anderson, +1-949-246-8116 or firstname.lastname@example.org
View Mike’s work on his website, Anderson Boat Works.