Steam Yacht Thordis

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According to the old drawings the steering gypsy was originally mounted above the boiler in the old fashioned back to front way so the wheel was behind the helmsman. In 1932 when she was converted the wheel was mounted further forward at the front of the wheelhouse with the steering gypsy outside in a covered box. At a later date this was again changed when a faceted front was put on the wheelhouse to enclose the steering gypsy.

The steering gypsy is made of cast iron operating an iron chain fixed to steel cables running either side. This creates its own problems in where to sight a compass. Originally it was back to front with a large mushroom binnacle compass mounted in front, but with it mounted in front the only place for a compass is on top creating a huge deviation chart and nightmare for the helmsman.


There are several solutions to this problem,

a. position the gypsy in the original back to front place with the compass in front.

b. do away with a compass and rely on the modern electronic equipment.

c. find another method of steering the boat ie. a different style of helm like a bronze pedastal helm.

6. steering gypsy steering gypsy op

It is possible that the compass may have been a continual cause for concern as it shows a large binnacle compass on the saloon deck in the photos of 1935.  I think we'll have to experiment a little before making any final decisions.


The steel cables running to the rudder are attached to a large quadrant and bronze shaft with an emergency tiller attachment through the deck. The original rudder was made of wood and later replaced by steel when it fell off in Gloucester docks!

Smashed wheelhouse and helm in the bilges after the collapse of the deck.