We own a 44' Contest sailboat built in 1983 (original yard name was Conyplex). We are preparing for a ~2 year voyage from Alaska
and possibly beyond.
The play in the wheel
had increased a lot in recent months, so we took the top of the pedestal
apart and discovered that the horizontal and vertical helm
gears In the Lewmar
have moved apart and are somewhat worn. There is more wear evident on the vertical gear
than on the horizontal gear
We have been advised to go ahead and take things apart to see if removing 1 or 2 shims will eliminate the slack between the 2 gears, but we have not been able to get a schematic to show us what to expect on the inside. One issue is that the horizontal shaft tube metal housing is seized to the pedestal.
We have been advised to try to remove the shims. If that doesn’t help we may have to buy a whole new pedestal and we have been told that they are all custom built. We are hoping to avoid that expense, but not at the expense of losing steerage at a crucial moment down the road/sea way.
We have a few questions for the forum:
1) Has anyone else dealt with a steering
problem like this? If so, how hard is it to remove the shims to see if that will remove the play, if you tried that? We are concerned that we could damage the entire pedestal in the process of getting at the shims, because of the seized metal pieces. (We have added lubricant to try to help these come apart.) We are reluctant to start taking things apart without a schematic to show us what we are getting in to.
2) If you have an older model Lewmar/Whitlock (or Mamba?) diagram (from the early 1980s) that you can email
, that would be fantastic.
We have contacted the Lewmar
representative in Connecticutt. He has been helpful, but he cannot locate a schematic for this older steering
pedestal, although he has an inquiry pending with the Lewmar folks in the UK.
Thank you for any advice, materials, or contacts you might have on this.