Help - Rudder problem - does this mean end of voyage?

RichardS

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I wonder if anyone has any advice about my rudder problem other than return to base!

The rudders on my cat were fine last season but this is our first trip this season and I noticed when we set off that the wheel felt a bit stiffer than I remembered but I thought it was just a winters non-use and that it would ease up. We are now anchored in Skradin about 4 hours from our marina and the helm became stiffer and stiffer rather than easing up. I've just disconnected the steering rod which runs across the stern of the boat and one rudder is fine but the other is so stiff I can hardly move it. I assume that the rudder stock has a bottom bearing and water seal below the waterline, a second bearing at the top of the tube which extends to above the waterline and presumably a third one at the top where the stock comes through the deck and is the place where the emergencuy rudder can be inserted.

It seems to be the middle bearing just about the waterline which has seized. I've squirted PTFE spray lubricant on top of the bearing to see if that will soak in but after an hour nothing seems to be freeing up.

I'm thinking that the only recourse is to leave the port rudder disconnected and then return to our marina tomorrow as I assume that the boat will need hauiing out for the rudder to be dropped.

Any other solutions out there?

Richard
 

KevB

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Is it possible to lift the cap on the bearing and remove a couple of the balls and live without it till a more convenient time to replace?
 

RichardS

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Do you need both, can't you sail with just one?

Thanks for the replies.

It looks like a plain bearing of some kind but I can't really get at it unless I drop the rudder.

It's definitely not a physical obstruction as I've swum down with a brush and cleaned it all up.

We could continue with one rudder but I don't know what the handling will be like until I've tried it.I'll phone the marina tomorrow and see if they have the parts and how long the work might take.

What a shambolic end to our first day. :-(

Richard
 

braehouse

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Sorry to hear this Richard. Know how much you have been looking forward to this. Let me know if the trip ends up being curtailed............
 

25931

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I wonder if anyone has any advice about my rudder problem other than return to base!

The rudders on my cat were fine last season but this is our first trip this season and I noticed when we set off that the wheel felt a bit stiffer than I remembered but I thought it was just a winters non-use and that it would ease up. We are now anchored in Skradin about 4 hours from our marina and the helm became stiffer and stiffer rather than easing up. I've just disconnected the steering rod which runs across the stern of the boat and one rudder is fine but the other is so stiff I can hardly move it. I assume that the rudder stock has a bottom bearing and water seal below the waterline, a second bearing at the top of the tube which extends to above the waterline and presumably a third one at the top where the stock comes through the deck and is the place where the emergencuy rudder can be inserted.

It seems to be the middle bearing just about the waterline which has seized. I've squirted PTFE spray lubricant on top of the bearing to see if that will soak in but after an hour nothing seems to be freeing up.

I'm thinking that the only recourse is to leave the port rudder disconnected and then return to our marina tomorrow as I assume that the boat will need hauiing out for the rudder to be dropped.

Any other solutions out there?

Richard
You have a place to insert an emergency tiller - do do you have the tiller ? If so you'll probably find that you can exert a good deal of force that way and perhaps free the bearing by waggling.
 

sailaboutvic

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What a bugger ,
Can you get to the bearing , I have managed to free bearing on water pumps and clear exhausted elbow by soaking them in ( don know what it called ) but you buy it in supermarkets in Greece spain and croatia it normally in a red or orange plastic bottle and used for cleaning toilets , I think you prob know what I mean or someone will , don't get it on your hands , it will burning a chunk of skin .
It may just get you thought your holidays althought the last time I clear a bearing with it , it still working a year later . .
Hope it helps Ric
 

Heckler

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I wonder if anyone has any advice about my rudder problem other than return to base!

The rudders on my cat were fine last season but this is our first trip this season and I noticed when we set off that the wheel felt a bit stiffer than I remembered but I thought it was just a winters non-use and that it would ease up. We are now anchored in Skradin about 4 hours from our marina and the helm became stiffer and stiffer rather than easing up. I've just disconnected the steering rod which runs across the stern of the boat and one rudder is fine but the other is so stiff I can hardly move it. I assume that the rudder stock has a bottom bearing and water seal below the waterline, a second bearing at the top of the tube which extends to above the waterline and presumably a third one at the top where the stock comes through the deck and is the place where the emergencuy rudder can be inserted.

It seems to be the middle bearing just about the waterline which has seized. I've squirted PTFE spray lubricant on top of the bearing to see if that will soak in but after an hour nothing seems to be freeing up.

I'm thinking that the only recourse is to leave the port rudder disconnected and then return to our marina tomorrow as I assume that the boat will need hauiing out for the rudder to be dropped.

Any other solutions out there?

Richard
Is it plain bush type bearings that are in there? I suspect they are. They can swell OR stick to the shaft and then turn in the glass.
I second the beach her, dig a hole and drop the rudder and see what is what. If it is a bush that is tight on the shaft then easing and fiddling with lube to get it to turn and then glue back or whatever is necessary. It might just be tight and some rubbing with abrsive will sort it
S
 

25931

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What a bugger ,
Can you get to the bearing , I have managed to free bearing on water pumps and clear exhausted elbow by soaking them in ( don know what it called ) but you buy it in supermarkets in Greece spain and croatia it normally in a red or orange plastic bottle and used for cleaning toilets , I think you prob know what I mean or someone will , don't get it on your hands , it will burning a chunk of skin .
It may just get you thought your holidays althought the last time I clear a bearing with it , it still working a year later . .
Hope it helps Ric

It's hydrochloric acid.
 

RichardS

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What a bugger ,
Can you get to the bearing , I have managed to free bearing on water pumps and clear exhausted elbow by soaking them in ( don know what it called ) but you buy it in supermarkets in Greece spain and croatia it normally in a red or orange plastic bottle and used for cleaning toilets , I think you prob know what I mean or someone will , don't get it on your hands , it will burning a chunk of skin .
It may just get you thought your holidays althought the last time I clear a bearing with it , it still working a year later . .
Hope it helps Ric

I spoke to the marina service manager today and he said exactly the same ..... that it's most likely to be barnacles or similar which have got into the lower plain bearing and jammed it. I've spent all afternoon pushing aside the rubber top water seal with a small screwdriver and forcing hydrochloric acid into the rudder tube with a syringe. There's been a lot bubbling and fizzing but it's still solid.

I've left it full of HCl tonight so I'll see what it's like in the morning. If it still solid we'll head back to the marina on one rudder.

I'll let you all know what happens. Perhaps if I had done the acid trick before it got this bad it would have worked but the boat is left too long in the water doing nothing.

Richard
 

William_H

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I would suggest that she should be easy to handle provided you do not drive her too hard under sail. If you have twin engines then hopefully you have lots of directional control under engines.
It may be possible to partially drop the rudder by sliding the shaft downwards which will likely move the barnacles etc outwards from the bottom rudder or move the corrosion ornrough ness of the shaft out of the bearing. If it remains stiff as you slide it down then clearly the bearing material has swollen and will need to be reamed out.
I would suggest you at least finish your holiday but perhaps cut down on passage making until it can be fixed.
 

RichardS

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I spoke to the marina service manager today and he said exactly the same ..... that it's most likely to be barnacles or similar which have got into the lower plain bearing and jammed it. I've spent all afternoon pushing aside the rubber top water seal with a small screwdriver and forcing hydrochloric acid into the rudder tube with a syringe. There's been a lot bubbling and fizzing but it's still solid.

I've left it full of HCl tonight so I'll see what it's like in the morning. If it still solid we'll head back to the marina on one rudder.

I'll let you all know what happens. Perhaps if I had done the acid trick before it got this bad it would have worked but the boat is left too long in the water doing nothing.

Richard

Checked again this morning and it's still extremely stiff. I think the problem is that the rudder tube is full to halfway with seawater and the binding crustaceans are right at the bottom below the retained seawater so the acid cannot get down to where the problem is. The bubbling is from old formations which are inside the rudder tube but above the bearing and the acid can get to these higher deposits.

I suspect that as soon as the boat is lifted in the slings the seawater will drain out and the acid will do the trick as it follows the seawater out. If I could dry out I could do it myself but that isn't going to happen in the Med of course!

If the lift does it we might only lose a day so not a big deal, apart from the lift cost but might as well go for a pressure was whilst I'm there.

Oh well, back to Base it is!

Richard
 

neilf39

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Are you sure the rudder did not hit something and the shaft is now bent and binding, or the rudder itself now rubbing on the hull at its aft end? How slow a process was it from being free to stiffening up? I would have thought if it was growth like barnacles then working it back and forth would have made some difference. Maybe things were already a bit bent so shaft/tube/bearings were not aligned and any clearance you did have that allowed it to move before is now taken up by calcified growths.
 

RichardS

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Are you sure the rudder did not hit something and the shaft is now bent and binding, or the rudder itself now rubbing on the hull at its aft end? How slow a process was it from being free to stiffening up? I would have thought if it was growth like barnacles then working it back and forth would have made some difference. Maybe things were already a bit bent so shaft/tube/bearings were not aligned and any clearance you did have that allowed it to move before is now taken up by calcified growths.

Definitely not bending as last time boat was motored from hoist to finger berth in November 2014 the steering was light as a feather. Seven months later one rudder is seized solid so it's either crustaceans or some other form of corrosion in the bearing.

We are now back in our marina and the guys are going to look at it tomorrow. The boat sailed reasonably well on one rudder although the autopilot tended to hunt more than usual because the waves seemed to knock us off course more than before.

Boats never cease to suprise me! On the way back we anchored for lunch in a small bay and as we dropped the anchor my wife mentioned that something seemed to be coming out of the windlass. I went to check and it was foul-smelling Hypoid oil. Stripped the windlass down and the oil seal on the gypsy shaft has gone so will need to get that sorted whilst we are here if the service people have the correct oil seal. I will find out tomorrow.

When we came to leave the bay I turned on the chart plotter and it took about 10 minutes to get a GPS fix rather than the usual 1 minute. Checked it again when we got back here and ...... yep, 10 minutes to get a fix. This means the battery in the Raystar 125 has died after 7 years. Tried to buy a CR2032 in the local shops this evening but no joy. Will try the marina chandlery tomorrow but it's not critical if I have to wait until I am home.

Boats ..... bad news comes in threes ...... hopefully!

Richard
 
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