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Old 13-09-2010, 19:37   #1
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Steering Cable

My old steering cable is made of 1/4 " galvanized steel and has developed some rusty sections and some meat hooks. Time for a change. I was wondering what the general consensus is regarding using some newer low stretch kevlar type line instead of steel. Any reason to not use a modern rope instead of steel?

I spent all my money on booze, boats and broads. And the rest of it, I wasted. - Elmore Leonard
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Old 13-09-2010, 19:45   #2
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I'd be concerned about abrasion where the rope passes through sheaves and the quadrant. Also, perhaps a minor concern, but the rope would likely get contaminated with oil from the steering chain. I don't know what oil does to Kevlar or similar high tech fibers.

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Old 13-09-2010, 21:03   #3
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kismet - at the Annapolis Boat Show last year there was a rep from a company in California who sells 'Amsteel' - he was very knowledgeable - wished I still had his card...Could you try just contacting Samson directly Samson-The Strongest Name in Rope, Pulling and Stringing Lines Maybe they can give you an answer regarding Ziggy's concerns and answer other questions about it.

We have used Amsteel for our lifelines and we really like it! I understand the issues are different with steering some ways I think Amsteel could be a better answer barring the chaffing issue because it is so flexible but hardly stretches if at all.

I will be watching this thread since we will now have a wheel after having a tiller for a long time. We chartered a boat whose steering cable broke...luckily it was a pilot house and had two steering stations...
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Old 13-09-2010, 21:39   #4
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Most modern race boats use the high-tech materials rather than steel cable. If you go that way, you'll find you get a much better 'feel' for the helm.

The downside is that they are much more susceptible to chafe - the two failures I have 1st hand experience of were both caused by chaffing on bulkheads that the line passed through.

Maybe someone else can confirm, but you may need to change out the sheaves and quadrant to get the correct cross section (wire is different to rope). This is the case when you change out the old wire halyards - may also be the case with stearing cable - I'm not sure, but worth finding out.
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Old 14-09-2010, 16:12   #5
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What a co-incidence. Just put Bluestocking back in the water yesterday after extensive refit lasting 5 months. (Just in time for Igor to hit us on Sunday).
She has in-house built steering by Cheoy Lee. Bevel gear on wheel shaft driving vertical shaft with take-up/let-off drum at bottom. 12 yrs ago put St steel 7/32 7x19, and always felt that the helm was "springy" in feel. Put new 7/32 7x19 galvanized aircraft cable, cleaned and regreased the turning blocks and quadrant channels and cable, and wow- what a difference. Talked to a professional rigger friend about using one of the newer products, and his one question was would I feel comfortable leaving it 12 yrs without major maintainance. Answer was NO.
Asked the J125 racing guys who said stay with the cable for my type of use.
Jus sayin !
Sheaves and contact surfaces should be suited to synthetic materials.
so many projects--so little time !!
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