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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-03-2008
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Lost My Steering Today

Hi all. Went out on Sundance for the third time (gone almost 2 weeks fighting wildfires). Again no wind. I'm not sure what 's up. Anyway, my son was at the helm when he told me that the boat didn't "feel right". When I checked it out, the steering wheel had indeed become disconnected from the rudder. Luckily, I knew right where my emergency tiller was and installed it. So instead of struggling for control in no wind, we struggled for control under power. Made it in without any further adventures and left it in the slip. When I had it surveyed recently, the surveyor looked at the steering mechanism and thought it looked okay. Is it possible that the cable just slipped on one end? Has anybody had to replace a steering cable before? I know that I can do it, I just don't know if I can do it in less than 100 hours. This is a 1981 Catalina 30. Any tips or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance, montenido
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Old 07-04-2008
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Usually an easy and dirty task, resulting on a regained steering and some cut/puncture on your fingers . But check where it failed: cable ? cable conectons ? quadrant ? chain to cable joint ? chain ? key at wheel shaft ? well, that could not be that easy, but the more you invest on it, more you know your boat .... although at some "non-sailing time" price.
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Old 07-04-2008
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Mon...
Can you post a picture or two?
Failed steering is a heart-stopper.

Cable steering lets you fit an emergency tiller. Worm gear steering (mine), really is not so co-operative.
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Old 07-04-2008
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Hydraulic steering is pretty bad too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
Mon...
Can you post a picture or two?
Failed steering is a heart-stopper.

Cable steering lets you fit an emergency tiller. Worm gear steering (mine), really is not so co-operative.
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Old 07-04-2008
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That happened to me once while sailing on a friend's boat. We were 250 nm SW of Bermuda, headed for Virgin Gorda, in a gale.

In that case, a shackle joining the cable and chain came unscrewed. Turns out it hadn't been moused by a contractor who had replaced the cable. But you really need to stick your head into the tight spaces and trace the steering gear from wheel to rudder post to figure out what happened.
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Old 07-04-2008
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fairly easy job.i converted my boat from tiller to edson steering in an afternoon.
on your boat it should be a cable system.
chances are the cable came loose or broke from corrosion.
not a bad idea to replace the cables if they are original.
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Old 07-04-2008
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Quote:
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not a bad idea to replace the cables if they are original.
Heck, they'd only be 27 years old. Aren't they good for life?
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Old 07-04-2008
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Thanks for the input so far. I will post some pics when I get a look at it. Might be several days before I can get down there. Would an engaged auto-pilot cause any trouble like this? It might have been activated while we manually steered.

Thanks, montenido
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Old 07-04-2008
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Depends on the auto pilot. Mine (Raymarine ST6001) has it's own tiller arm on the rudder pintle on which the ram works. With such a setup it's actually easy to "drive" the boat on the auto pilot controller.

Ordinarily though, if the AP is causing an issue it will be to lock up the steering rather than set it free.

We came through a force 10 storm uneventfully and the next day in total calm the steering went totally limp. My heart stopped at the prospect of that happening in 50 knots and a 9 meter following sea.

The cable end on the quadrant had come loose due to the PO not locking the lock nuts. We now have two nyloks back to back against each other!!

To respond to the original question - there are many variations to steering setups so I reckon the only useful answers will come from someone with the same vessel.

FWIW

Andre
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Old 07-04-2008
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"The steering system is quadrant with cables which allows it to be tuned as the boat ages."

If you haven't done any tuning at the quadrant...check there first...chances are the problem will be right there and obvious.
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