Well, after the awesome sail-setting tips you got in the last post, I'll bet that you are on tenterhooks about what pearls will be imparted in this one! Welcome to 'Steering 101'.
Nick was checking out the steering one day (as you do)...when he discovered that the steering idler was in need of replacing. The base plate was rusting out (I could almost write 'the base plate had rusted out'), and we decided that we didn't need it coming adrift at some inconvenient moment (are there many moments where it would be convenient for the steering idler base plate to come adrift Sam?).
The steering idler is essentially two brass pulley wheels mounted together on a base plate and sitting beneath the steering wheel, under the cockpit floor. It runs the steering cables from the steering wheel to the rudders...to steer the boat (doh!). In the photo above you can also see that the steering cables have been chaffing at the edge of one of the pulleys and wearing it down.
There are more of the pulleys under the cockpit floor (Note: That wire is no longer leaning up against that pulley either)...
...guiding the steering cables back to the quadrants on the rudder shafts (more about carbon fiber rudder shafts in another post)...
Nick thought that he would have to find someone to custom make a base plate for the idler and we started seeing the $$$$ signs flashing. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the part was an Edson one, and now...18 years later, they still make the same part (it is almost an exact match, only now it is made of aluminium, not brass). One of the advantages of having a production boat (which was built in the US) and made using high quality components...you can still source the parts years and years later!
We were able to order the whole unit through Harken Australia and got it a few weeks later. It cost about AUD380.00....which was no picnic of a price, but we felt that we were better off than if we'd had to get it custom-made.
The idler is accessed through a hole in the saloon wall, behind the sliding door.
When Nick installed the new one, he made a wedge of wood to mount underneath the pulley and make the cables align better with the wheels (and hopefully reduced the chaffing):
So now the steering is working nicely, and I have a newfound understanding of what is going on every time I turn the steering wheel! However, as I alluded to before...we still have some issues to address with one of the carbon fiber rudder shafts. Sigh!
On a lighter note, I recently made a sun catcher with some beautiful glass lampwork beads that I bought on Etsy (here). It is now hanging in the saloon and casting groovy rainbow spots around when the sun hits it:
Thanks for dropping by!