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S&S Swan Maintenance - Stuffing around rudder post - Swan 47
13 March 2016 - 15:40
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 912

Dear All,

overhauling our steering gear (every single part of the steering gear has been removed, which is part of the process of a total refit on 47/069 Vanessa), we found out, as already seen on the other 47's, that there is not enough rounded part of the stock to get the packing gland properly work), maybe it was better in origin, and the stock consumed the lowest bearing a bit.

We estimated only one single round of packing seal (of two installed) has been working in the existing situation (and there was no leaking, after I gently tightened the upper nut, last summer).

So, we succeded in adding a bearing under the stock, on top of the bottom bronze skeg shoe, in delrin, and gaining 11 mm, which gives us room enough to install three layers of packing seal around the stock (and we can estimate two and half will be actually working from now on).

Please see how it is now

Will report after we'll do sea trials, in about a month!

Fair winds

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

Round portion of the Rudder Stock which will be working with packing seal

13 March 2016 - 20:01
Join Date: 16 December 2013
Posts: 8

Dear Matteo,


Just a comment about the choice of Delrin for the rudder stock.

I was advised to use Vesconite instead of Delrin, as bearing.

Any comments on that? 




13 March 2016 - 20:43
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 912

Dear Per,

I had bearings built on Delrin onboard Only You when I did the same job (in 2003) I am now doing on Vanessa, and they were still in perfect condition, no play no increasing volume, wheel absolutely free to turn each side with a few lbs force, at the time when I have delivered her to her new Owner, last year, so, hope this will work fine on Vanessa too!

Will keep Forum posted on this

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

14 March 2016 - 14:01
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 912

Dear All,

as Milo wrote above, we adopted (this morning) even second Lars' suggestion and cutted a small part of the Rudder Case, so we have now enough space to have the packing seal properly working

Boat is going back into the water next week, I can't wait to sail her again after so many months of work!

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)


18 February 2020 - 19:49
Join Date: 12 February 2020
Posts: 4

Lars et al.

Thank you very much for the inputs. Am planning to do the work this weekend so will provide feed back and pictures all being well, next week

Thanks again



24 April 2020 - 20:29
Join Date: 24 April 2020
Posts: 18

So here weare 10 years on and I am the very proud and happy new custodian of Swan 47 048.

After Last of the Normal People she was sod and re-named Cygnus and used only for day sailing in Connecticut area. I have kept the name, being a supersttions old sailor and apologize to the other Cygnuses out there!


So the survey showed the rudder loose on the stock and I am happy to report that we were able to get the rudder out and on its way to Jamestown Boatyard for repair. The boat is in Rhode Island and I am in Florida so I cannot take pics of the boat itself.

We also unearthed the garboard plug from under a lot of filler - the yard that looks after the boat did not believe there was one and the fact that she has been papmered these last 10 years inside a heated shed in the New England winter means no harm done. It does however need replacing!

The boat is in wonderful condition but she is 40 years old and I do suffer from boat pride to a huge extent so my mission is to make this beautiful peice of floating art just as perfect as possible, while at the same time sailing her as hard as she was designed to be sailed (and raced) - Newport Swan regatta here we come as long as we can have some socilaizing by then, otherwise it will be double handed racong as i have been doing for the last 15 years.

Look forward to being part of this group of passionate S&S owners and leaning on you as a resource as I take this wonderful journey - I have wanted a 47 for 30 years so delayed gratification at its best!

Be safe, sail safe

Adrian Little

Cygnus 048

24 April 2020 - 20:38
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 912

Dear Adrian,

congratulation for Cygnus, you will never regret! And of course congratulation for joining the Family of S&S Swan Owners!

The problem with the plug is quite usual, so would not worry, as they have told you at the yard, if could be changed easily.

Keep us posted with your restoration progress!

Stay safe in this difficult time!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

28 May 2020 - 21:33
Join Date: 24 April 2020
Posts: 18

Rudder is now at Jamestown Boat yard and repair started.

They report as follows:

"We removed the front cowl and found that the two key ways that keep it fixed when turning have worn and is what is causing the issue. To simplify the repair we are taking it to our metal worker and he will weld the shaft to the wings which will stop the play. I can not imaginethat the stock will ever have to be removed but if it did the welds can be cut to facilitate removal.


We did find delamination of the fairing over the wings on the blade so we are grinding away and refairing after returns from metal worker."


Picture attached for any of you eagle eyed owenrs to see if anything else jumps out to fix!


Thank you/


29 May 2020 - 19:55
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 145

Dear Adrian,

This is just a thought, but given you have got this far it may not be a bad idea to check the seating of the rudder shaft in the bronze shoe fitting before you weld the tangs in place.( you do not want it fixed at the wrong height) The shaft has a rounded end , and the shoe is supposed to take the weight - not the collar! If there has been sideways movement, there could have been up and down movement, if parts got worn. On Sarabande we discovered the blade had slid down through the splines on the tangs. I just thought it is just one more hurdle for you, but you are on the last lap!

Best of luck


30 May 2020 - 09:45
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Adrian

There should be a round Delrin disc at the bottom of the bronze shoe fitting shaft recess. Shaft end to bear on this disc.
By changing the thickness of this disc the vertical position of the rudder can be adjusted to some extent.
Kind regards

31 May 2020 - 00:31
Join Date: 24 April 2020
Posts: 18

Thank you Rob and Lars - most helpful.

I have passed your thoughts/comments/advise to the good folk at Jamestown BY and am sure they will do whatever is needed to make it right.


Sail safe/A

01 June 2020 - 20:21
Join Date: 24 April 2020
Posts: 18

Here is the rudder afer the shaft has been welded

Does this look OK to you?

01 June 2020 - 20:25
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 912

Dear Adrian,

the shaft has already been covered by the GRP carter, but I suppose it is OK, at Jamestown they have quite a long experience on S&S Swan and know their job!

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 vanessa)

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