So... I finally get the replacement gearbox, get it installed and everything tests out fine. Resume my trip, and #&*(@#& two days later, in a very pleasant F5 beam reach, the plastic around the clutch wheel / lever axle fails!
I suspect it was stressed during the gale, and was just waiting to fail, but @#&%*(@#& this Mk2 is a toy. I wouldn't put it on anything bigger than a 22ft day cruiser, and only use it under 10kn of wind.
I'm back at my home marina now, after 4 days of solo sailing sans autopilot, and will definitely be looking for a replacement drive of some sort ASAP.
Does anyone know how difficult it would be to adapt a non-marine (i.e. reasonably priced) ram drive with clutch, mounted to the quadrant, to the Raymarine controller? It has the connections for the Raymarine branded ram drive, but that is IMO ridiculously expensive.
Or should I consider converting from pull-pull cable steering to hydrolic, and go with a hydrolic ram drive?
If a man speaks at sea where there is no woman to hear, is he still wrong?
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Cruising the Baltic in 'Merihiisi', a 1979 Westerly Berwick Ketch