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Old 23-01-2012, 15:24   #1
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Steering Help !!!

The steering on our Hirsh 45 is quite heavy. Has anyone else had the same problem and have any ideas on how to correct it?
Regards,
Paul
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Old 23-01-2012, 16:48   #2
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Re: Steering Help!!!

Is there too much rake in your mast? This will cause the boat to round up more and leave a heavy helm.
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Old 23-01-2012, 17:08   #3
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Re: Steering Help!!!

No it is not a matter of how it is rigged, since the steering is still quite heavy under power. I have checked that the cables are running free and drilled to see if the rudder had water in it and none came out. But I am not sure if the core is completely saturated and needs to be re-cored. I have had the rudder out and it is very heavy. The stock is 3.5 inch diameter schedule eighty stainless pipe, which goes through a fiberglass sleeve and a packing. There is a collar with set screws that secures the rudder in place and a delron washer that it pivots on between the collar and the top of the packing. There are no bearings top or bottom.
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Old 23-01-2012, 17:54   #4
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Re: Steering Help!!!

the delron bushings can sometimes swell up and cause difficulty with steering systems. we had to replace 2 JP3 bearings in our cat due this type of problem. There are older threads about this type of problem but I think they all concerned cats, although the JP3 bearing is used in monos also.
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Old 28-01-2012, 08:49   #5
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Re: Steering Help!!!

Thank you for your feed back. I have had a couple of local suggestions. One to put bearings in top and bottom and another more of a leading edge ahead of the rudder post so that the force of water helps turn the rudder. Any thoughts?
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Old 28-01-2012, 09:02   #6
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Re: Steering Help!!!

I had to remake a rudder for an islander 32 that sounds of similar construction. I was going to attempt repair untill I found the foam core saturated with water. It did not leak water but it made the rudder extreemly heavy. I am suggesting that the overall weight of the rudder is putting extra friction on the top bearing. If it is possible releave some of the weight and recheck the ease of operation. Possibly a modern thrust material would help.
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Old 28-01-2012, 10:40   #7
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Re: Steering Help!!!

I agree that I should open it up and check the core. What do you mean by a modern thrust material?
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Old 28-01-2012, 11:05   #8
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Re: Steering Help!!!

Is the rudder resisting when at the dock or mooring? If no then it is likely a bearing issue. if you power full steam and the prop is directly in front of the rudder it should feel resistant. the prop is displacing water against the plane of the ruder. when sailing and the sails are balanced you should not need a lot of helm. Were you to change course and not adjust sails there would be resistance. For instance I am pressing tight into 30 Knots I would expect the boat to fall to leeward and the helm would be "heavy" for windward.
Found my topping lift was quite heavy and added a block. Then I serviced the boom and found the leads were all wrong. Maybe something is not passing the way it should.
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Old 28-01-2012, 11:33   #9
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Re: Steering Help!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sea Dancer V View Post
Thank you for your feed back. I have had a couple of local suggestions. One to put bearings in top and bottom and another more of a leading edge ahead of the rudder post so that the force of water helps turn the rudder. Any thoughts?
If your boat is a spade rudder and there is no "balance" area forward of the shaft, then yes it would be a good improvement, and may be why your helm is very hard to turn. I'm not familiar with a Hirsh 45... with a spade rudder there would be no way to put a bearing at the bottom.... once you are underway, i doubt if a saturated core would cause much of an issue....
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Old 28-01-2012, 11:48   #10
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Re: Steering Help!!!

I think I will drop the spade rudder and do some core samples to ensure it is not saturated. Since I understand that a rudder should be neutral buoyant. While it is out I will also make sure the surfaces are smooth on the post and the sleeve.
Thanks again for your thoughts,
Paul
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Old 28-01-2012, 12:08   #11
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Re: Steering Help!!!

OK, I found a drawing of the underbody, albeit not real defined...... it appears you have a small skeg and the spade is partially balanced already. I think the advice above to turn it while at the dock is good..... does it have a lot of resistance there? The water in the rudder (if any) would be zero weight in water. I have had a boat with an epoxy resin microballon filled rudder that would sink like a stone if dropped.... it had very easy pleasant steering...I dont understand how it cannot have bearing at all though....?
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Old 28-01-2012, 12:41   #12
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Re: Steering Help!!!

That is a very good answer about the weight of the rudder. At the dock it does wheel a little stiff, but nothing compared to while moving. The rudder post goes up threw the hull in a fiberglass sleeve that is about 10 to 12 inches in length, then there is a brass collar which the packing is held into place by a cap that the rudder pivots on top of. Hopefully you you get my drift in this explanation.
Thanks,
Paul
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Old 28-01-2012, 12:49   #13
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Re: Steering Help!!!

I'm not familiar with the boat, but there has got to be a bearing, at least in the lower section of the glass tube........what else would take the side loading and not eat through the fiberglass tube?
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Old 28-01-2012, 12:59   #14
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Re: Steering Help!!!

I know it doesn't make sense but there is no bearing at all. There were thirty of these boats built by Gulfstar for a charter company called Hirsh. Even though it is a very comfortable cruiser, it could have been something that they cut costs on. The following link shows some basic line drawings. HIRSH 45 (GULFSTAR) sailboat on sailboatdata.com
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Old 28-01-2012, 13:54   #15
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Re: Steering Help!!!

I just sent the designer Richard Lazzara an e mail asking for any suggestions. Hopefully he will get back to me, since he is still in the business by the name of Lazzara Yachts.
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