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Old 06-07-2016, 21:01   #1
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In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

My friend is racing his Freedom 30 to Hawaii right now. He reports that his rudder is stiff and hard to turn. He dove on it. There's no fouling and it appears to be in good shape visually. He has also looked over the entire system. The ram was disconnected and the drive was OK. He is continuing on, but is wondering if anyone else has also had such a problem, especially if you're familiar with the F30 rudders. Please let us know any suggestions you might have!
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Old 06-07-2016, 22:10   #2
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

When is the last time the bearings were serviced, & what are the odds of finding out their type, & manufacturer? As armed with that information, if their maker is still in business, one can contact them & ask some questions about them, to aid in diagnosing the problem. Also, I know that TPI isn't cranking out Freedoms any more, but it would also help to find out what the rudder post is made of, given that it's the other half of the bearings equation.

And, of course, tell your friend to be "safe", & that he's doing a grand thing!
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:45   #3
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

If your friend is Mike Cunningham, he is familiar with the grease nipples to lube his rudder bearings, and presumably did it before the race.

Re: F-30 Rudder Shaft Packing
Postby mike cunningham Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:00 pm

On my boat there are lube nipples attached to outside of shaft tube. Just hook a lube gun to them and lube away. Now if you don't have the nipples you gotta drill the tube and install them. If they are not there check the exterior of tube at about 3 inches off bottom and similar distance from top of tube. You may see signs of previous installation. If no luck I have a spare rudder in the garage and can give you some precise dimensions where the post bearings are located. These could extrapolated to the tube for drilling if you decide to go that route. I would want to be a le to lube the bearings periodically.


If he decided to replace the delrin bearings just before the race, the new bearings could be swelling from absorbing water--he would need to drop the rudder and scrape the bearings out (been there, done that)--not much he can do at sea.

The other potential problem is the needle bearings in the steering wheel shaft. If they haven't been lubed recently, they could be rusting and seizing. He could try shooting WD40 in the ends of the bearing to see if things loosen up. If he was not at sea, he could disconnect the steering cables to see if it is the wheel or the rudder binding up.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:20   #4
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

Checking the other components in the steering system has run through my mind as well. Although supposedly they’ve been gone over already. However, he may be a bit sleep deprived to be doing an in depth assessment of things. Such does happen to all of us.

That said, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out whether a sticky helm is being caused by the rudder itself, or something else. As if you loosen the cables up so that there’s a small bit of play in things, you can discern whether or not the issue is somewhere in the cables, chain, or wheel vs. in the rudder proper.
And when doing that it’s pretty easy to check & see if the quadrant is sticking or jamming things up. Or if it has slid down/shifted position on the shaft at all.

There are a few other bits to check as well, such as bearings in the pedestal (as mentioned), & the gearing if applicable. Plus all of the sheaves in the system. But my money’s still on bearings, or perhaps the shaft seal? Unless, unbeknownst to the skipper, the boat hit something just hard enough to slightly bend the shaft. Which of course, could throw the bearings out of alignment as well.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:27   #5
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

Thanks Don and Uncivilized! Yes, it's Mike and I'm glad to hear he knew about the grease in the tube. He'd done a lot of work to the boat before he left but I don't know if he dropped the rudder. I also saw a post that he was thinking of installing a new drive, but given the timing, he would not have been able to test any of the changes and he's had some pounding seas. I have not heard anything more since the initial report but I've passed on all the suggestions. I think just about everything has been covered, but if anything else comes to mind jusr let me know. Will keep you posted, too.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:34   #6
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

Quick FYI. If this is the SSS race from SF I'm pretty sure the rules preclude any outside assistance for the competitors, except in an emergency. Guessing that if he receives outside help on solving the problem he will need to retire from the race. Have a friend in the race and he sent an email to all of us saying not to send any assistance info to him.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:44   #7
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

I had something very similar happen to me on my Cal 2-29.

a PO had installed a nylon liner in the shaft, this had fractured and some of broken pieces had slid down to effectively double the width of the liner causing it to become very stiff and limit the turning. I had to drop the rudder to remove them (and renew the liner).

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Atlantic Highlands ,NJ
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:22   #8
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moontide View Post
Quick FYI. If this is the SSS race from SF I'm pretty sure the rules preclude any outside assistance for the competitors, except in an emergency. Guessing that if he receives outside help on solving the problem he will need to retire from the race. Have a friend in the race and he sent an email to all of us saying not to send any assistance info to him.
Yes, you're absolutely right and I should have been more clear on my first post. I am not in direct contact with any of the SSS racers. Any communication about the rudder would go from the Race Committee PIC to the Comms boat and then back to Mike - but only if he needs it for emergency purposes. The Comms boat had asked the RC to ask me for some feedback since I have a Freedom, and I'm on the Freedom Yachts Forum, too. Mike has an emergency back up rudder, so if that gets deployed, then he's out of the race for all intents and purposes and would likely be considering further input at that time. I haven't heard anything more since the initial report of a potential problem and his tracker looks good (sailing along at 5+ knots) so he might have gotten it all worked out by now. At this point, no further news is GREAT news
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:23   #9
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grae View Post
I had something very similar happen to me on my Cal 2-29.

a PO had installed a nylon liner in the shaft, this had fractured and some of broken pieces had slid down to effectively double the width of the liner causing it to become very stiff and limit the turning. I had to drop the rudder to remove them (and renew the liner).

Grae Morrison
1972 Cal 2-29
Atlantic Highlands ,NJ
Thanks, Grae! Though there might not be anything Mike could do in a situation like this, I'm forwarding all suggestions to the RC in case it's needed.
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Old 07-07-2016, 18:01   #10
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

Oops, apparently I was absolutely incorrect. Per the SHTP race rules, section 10.2.d, there is a specific exception for advice on repair of equipment. The intent of not allowing outside support is to prevent a private data set that helps with tactics and strategy, not boat operation. Apparently, this kind of advice is not uncommon in these events. Now that I think of it, I recall another friend saying he talked someone through the rebuilding of their alternator during one of these races a while back.

Anyway, it sounds like Mike is working the problem, he's gotten a funny story out of it, and he's in good spirits. I just love that group. They have so much figure-it-out gumption and stick-to-it-ness.
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Old 22-08-2016, 05:16   #11
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Re: In the middle of the ocean and the rudder seizes?

Too some oil down the emergency tiller hole as a quick fix
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how long has this been going on and why wasn't I told about it earlier.....
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