Sunday, December 16, 2012

Broken Steering

Those of you who have been following know that we lost our steering in the middle of the Atlantic. This morning we took it apart. Here are the photos:

Fair winds and following seas


  1. Question about the temporary fix; Did you place a nut and bolt in the center hole to keep the (I don't know the nomenclature) wheel block in place and rotatable? I am really interested because I like learning other people's hard lessons, and one never knows when this fault may occur again.


  2. First, this is the bottom plate of an Edson steering gear. It is the chain over a gear on top, they are swedged into two wires that lead down, around these blocks, and then back to the steering quadrant on the rudder post.

    Note in the working block the pressed in fitting. It turns out that this is a flared piece (ferrule) that is identical to what sail makers use to provide grommets in sails. In fact we got the replacement from the local North Sails loft.

    Our problem was that the wire passes through the center of the ferrule. So the fix had to leave space for the wire. We ended up using a hose clamp to hold that end of the block in place.

    Not clearly visible in the photo is that the other end of the block has a captive bolt and nut. We discovered that both nuts had worked loose and fallen off. Thus the structural integrity of the block was compromised. We think this lead to vibration that ultimately sheered the ferrule.

    Unfortunately the die used by the sail maker to crush the ferrule does not fit. The block does not have enough clearance. At the moment I am waiting on a machine shop to fabricate something we can use to set the ferrule.

    I think that with a new ferrule (both blocks actually) and getting the other ends of the blocks properly secured and coated with LocTite we should be good to go.