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S&S Swan Maintenance - Steering cables
02 March 2018 - 21:23
Join Date: 19 July 2007
Posts: 66

Steering cables

Dear All.

I have previously posted a query regarding the wire steering cables as fitted to our 411. the wires are 6mm diameter 7x19 stainless flexible wire.

 After 2 seasons of use I am finding broken strands in the area where the wire bends sharply around each end of the rudder quadrant. The wire I am replacing is simlar to that fitted when we purchased the boat.

My query is- is 6mm the correct size as fitted originally?, or would a smaller diameter be more flexible and less prone to fatigue?

I have considered galvanised wire which would be more flexible but am concerned due to the closeness to the compass.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Paul Bond

Hierro 411 042

03 March 2018 - 12:13
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

The original wire diameter was 6 mm, smaller wire would reduce the bending strain, but it can be noted that 5 mm wire was never used in this yacht range.
The wire is supposed to be in static bending around the quadrant end, but for some reason there is movement in your case. The suggestion is that you increase the end groove radius.
You are right that galvanized wire may influence the compass. When the rudder is on the centerline the cable upper ends are at about half pedestal height, and it would be interesting to check if this affects the compass. 
Compass deviation should be less than 5 degrees, if it is more there is something magnetic causing this, needs to be found and moved further away..
Kind regards

03 March 2018 - 22:49
Join Date: 19 July 2007
Posts: 66

Dear Lars.

Thanks for your reply.As you say the wire is in static tension on the quadrant ends and I have previously made the area as smooth and rounded as possible.

The boat is moored on a swinging mooring and as such, with the steering lock applied, there will be a constant alteration to the tension of the wires, probably increasing the effect of fatigue. Additionally  the quality of the wire is probably not as good as the original.

I will keep to the original specification and have spare wires on board.



04 March 2018 - 09:07
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547


Are the wires slack? Hand tight is recommended.
If you are able to prebend the wires locally so they conform to the radius this should reduce the fatigue

07 March 2018 - 16:26
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 202


When we bought Soeur Anne in 1982 there were a few broken strands in the 6mm wires, so we replaced them after a few years with new ones, say alltogether 10 years use for the first pair. Now we still have the same new pair of wires which have been greased, and not seen any broken strand so far...!

So my advice would be: first buy good quality wire, and second grease them!

I beleive the steering system of our Swans is beautifully designed... as the rest n'est-ce pas!

We still carry a pair of wires.. to no avail for now, but just in case! 

Too strong has never failed!

Kind regads.

Philippe 41/022 Soeur Anne

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