What I recently learned on this topic.
The wheel brake is stronger than the cables
I did a steering system inspection
before leaving the west coast
. Sailed to Hawaii
with the Hydrovane
steering most of the way. This means that I had the wheel locked down. Several times waves smacked the boat and kicked the rudder
out of line. Had to watch that.
After months here, I was setting out and just as we were setting sails
, the steering locked up, then snapped with not much effort. Dug out the emergency
tiller, which had obviously never been used in my 43 year old boat. It was built 90 degrees off of centerline !!
Got back to the mooring
and went to work. Found the one cable that goes around the sheave and back to forward attachment on the quadrant had failed. Considered myself very lucky that it broke when it did and blamed myself for an inadequate inspection
. Replaced both cables
and had spares made up because I learned that the recommended life of said cables is 4-7 years. I also had the emergency
tiller modified. Still difficult the use it with the pedestal
in the way, but usable.
Sailed from Honolulu to Maui. Picked up a mooring
in Lahaina/Mala. Beautiful spot, but a roadstead. Swells made for a pretty rough stay at times. to keep the rudder
from swinging wildly and slamming into the "stops" (my boat was built without stops), I locked it down at the wheel,... for weeks. I went to move the boat one day and the same new steering cable parted. and it was clearly stressed where it went around the sheave.
Due to conditions, I got the spare cable in place but left it disconnected and used the emergency tiller to try to contain my rudder from slamming around. Not an easy thing to do, and it was only so effective.
Bottom line is, the wheel lock is only so effective. You need to relieve some stresses on the cables. I intend to tie the wheel down with bungee cords to take the shock and return the wheel to center after the rudders gets smacked.
Some boats have less vulnerable steering systems. But I was not the only boat in that anchorage experiencing rudder abuse.
Once I got to flat water I was able to properly attach the cables to the quadrant without losing any fingers.