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Old 04-27-2008
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Steering Cable Replacement

My cable steering system needs a bit of work. Actually, it depends on who you ask. My surveyor wrote "The stainless steel cable run from the pedestal helm to the quadrant on the rudder post is starting to fail at the connection to the port side of the quadrant, with several strands broken. It is required that the cable be replaced as new at this time..." I asked my marina to look at the problem and they wrote "Steering ok ... There is only one section of cable that is frayed." Given the importance of the steering system, this doesn't give me a lot of confidence.

So, since my marina doesn't think this is worth doing, I guess I'll do the job myself. The marina indicated that the existing cable is 1/4" galvanized. One of my books ("Spurr's Guide to Upgrading Your Cruising Sailboat") indicates that the cable is typically 7x19. So, onto my questions:

1. I assume that stainless cable would be preferable to galvanized? (I can order 1/4" 7x19 stainless aircraft cable for $2 (Canadian) a foot. The marina estimated that 20 feet was required.)

2. Spurr's indicates that I should attach the roller chain to the wire with a thimble and a Nicropress fitting (and then the wire to the quadrant using cable clamps to allow for later adjustment). As I don't expect to be doing this frequently and the professional tools from Nicropress are quite expensive, can anyone comment on the much cheaper Swage-It #3 tool (which relies on a wrench to tighten the connection, instead of a ratcheting mechanism)?

3. Anyone have any other helpful tips about completing this job?
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