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S&S Swan General - Stiff steering on a Swan 48
08 September 2016 - 15:02
Join Date: 10 January 2016
Posts: 12

Stiff steering on a Swan 48

Hi we have a 1972 Swan 48, a boat yard recently fitted new cables and serviced the steering quadarnt etc. We have only used the boat once since the new cables were fitted, do you think we ought to ease the cables off?

I have taken off the auto pilot arm, checked the resistance and was still stiff, then reconected, also spun off the middle bearing nut and looks like we have delrin bearings and applied a thin amount of oil, still the same resistance so 'did' up the top nut.

Dived to see if anything was in between the rudder and skeg, nothing.

Does anyone have any ideas and or suggestions,as the steering is super stiff and hard to turn the wheel? We are due to be doing the Swan Cup next week.

Jonty Sleeper X


08 September 2016 - 15:49
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Jonty,

from time to time hardware "specialist" have the tendency to tighten the cables too much. No need to do this. I would try to loosen a bit the cables (same amount each one), and see what happens.

If they did not touch the bearings maybe the only problem is with the cable tension

Let us know

Anyway, in Porto Cervo there are at least two very good mechanics who I am sure could try to help you

Let me know

Fair winds

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

08 September 2016 - 16:37
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Jonty

The steering cables should be hand tight, meaning that pushing with your hand in the middle of the span induces a small deflection in them.
If this does not help, the suggestion is to remove the cables from the quadrant, and determine if the wheel or the rudder is stiff.
Kind regards

23 September 2016 - 22:21
Join Date: 05 February 2007
Posts: 102

Dear Jonty, Have no idea what solution you found, but it seems to have worked quite well!  Congratulations on your amazing performance, and would really appreciate knowing how you solved this problem for eventual needs in the future...Jayne / Aorangi 47/047

29 September 2016 - 17:19
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

Dear Jonty,

First, let me say that it was my pleaseure to have made your acquaintenance in Porto Cervo.  

Secondly, CONGRATULATIONS!  Outstanding racing!  I would love to sail with you sometime to see what you're doing to make your yacht go so fast!

Finally, under the Professor's guidance, I built a new rudder and ultimately mounted it.  I found that the pressure required to turn the wheel/rudder was greater than i was used to on all of my other boats.  I have not solved this problem yet, however, I know that before I added the packing glands BUT after I had installed the quadrant and cables, the wheel/rudder turned easily.  

Since my boat will be out of the water for the near future, I have not pursued a solution to this problem.  I suspect that the packing materinal is too tight.

Hope that helps a little.

Fair Winds,

Chris Mabel's Casse Tete  43/003

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