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Hello There:

In the process of testing for purchase a 2003 Bavaria 44 w/double helm I noticed that the steering Wheel was remarkably staff.

I’m a 220lb man and found it staff; when my wife, who is 100lb came at the helm she thought that the autopilot was active and that that was the reason she could just not stier tha boat.

The present owner claims that this is just due to lack of use and that after some use it should loosen-up. He sprayed the chains with WD-40, which loosened it up only about 5 to 10 %.

Can this be lack of use? What else can it be?

Please advise!

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Possible causes:

1. Is the wheel break on? Simple I know, but it's always best to start with the simple things first when diagnosing.

2. Autopiolt set to on, as your wife suggested. Another possibility is that if the ram arm is frozen (assuming a belowdecks pilot), then the wheel would be very difficult to turn, regardless of whether the autopilot is on (this happened to me once).

3. Steering cables WAY over tightened.

4. Rudder is aground.

5. If it's hydraulic sterring (and I'm almost certain it is not), hydraulic fluid could be low.

6. Frozen pulley somewhere in the steering system (which would explain why the steering freed up slightly after WD-40).

7. Steering cable jumped a pulley somwhere.

8. Depending on the steering system, the cables may need to be greased.

There may be other causes for sure, but those are the ones that come to mind. One thing is for sure, it's not merely that because the boat hasn't been used in a while and the steering system needs to stetch like it just woke up or something. Something's wrong, and needs to be addressed. It may not be a big problem or hard to fix, but something is not right.
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