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Old 21-02-2024, 06:03   #1
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Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

I have a 46.3 Grand Soleil, and the rudder cable has broken. I need advice as to what cable to replace it with.


Long story short, it broke coming into Panama, 4 meter waves, 30+ knots wind, just when I did not want it to. To add to the drama, the autopilot kept disconnecting, and we could have been in some real trouble because of that. But the sea gods were smiling on us and it worked out.


I sacrificed (chopped up) a life line(rail line) and made a replacement at sea, while the autopilot held on, and that worked, but broke after one day. I did it again, and we made it in.


The lifeline is much stiffer, and did not like going around the pulley, which I assume made it break.


Which brings me to....


What kind of aircraft cable, stainless cable, etc do I need. No one here seems to know the answer. To my disappointment, Panama does not have great Chandleries, you have to go source stuff yourself. I can do that, but was hoping to make sure I get the right type of cable.


Thanks!!!
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Old 21-02-2024, 09:23   #2
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

I could take a wild guess, but suggest you contact Edson Marine for the real answer. “edsonmarine.com”
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Old 21-02-2024, 10:36   #3
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Edson marine sells the right cable, pre spliced to a chain. It uses more strands, so is flexible. I'm not sure the grade of SS they use.

I had my cable break offshore, and replaced it underway with dyneema. I always carry a couple hundred feet for emergency use. I believe it is a far better solution, and I will not go back. Steel will fatigue from bending back and forth too many times around the sheeve. My SS cable was 4 years old, about 20000 nm miles. Prior to the start of the passage, I inspected it, and there were no signs of any problem. It just exceeded the number of times it could bend, and let go.

Dyneema doesn't do that. As long as your system doesn't have any places to chafe (you might need to replace sheeves, and be careful the routing) it should last forever. I just did a 10,000 mile inspection, and found some chafe wear I am addressing, but I still feel it a better product for this use.

It is also cheaper and easier to work with than stainless steel cable.
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Old 21-02-2024, 12:54   #4
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Warren,
Using Dyneema is an intriguing option, even if just an emergency repair. I am wondering how the synthetic line would handle the rubbing inside the wire conduits. My first impression is that the steel cable would withstand that better than Dyneema.

Unfortunately, my steering cable installation has conduit making turns that violate the specs from Edson. It worries me. I haven't yet worked out how to place sheaves to avoid these conduit turns. It's on my list.
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Old 21-02-2024, 13:13   #5
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeRobertJr View Post
Warren,
Using Dyneema is an intriguing option, even if just an emergency repair. I am wondering how the synthetic line would handle the rubbing inside the wire conduits. My first impression is that the steel cable would withstand that better than Dyneema.

Unfortunately, my steering cable installation has conduit making turns that violate the specs from Edson. It worries me. I haven't yet worked out how to place sheaves to avoid these conduit turns. It's on my list.
Ah. My steering doesn't go through conduit. I'm not sure it would work except for an emergency, especially if the conduit is metal also. With Teflon conduit it would probably be ok.
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Old 21-02-2024, 14:03   #6
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

I was going to suggest dyneema too. Know someone who replaced broken one and is still running on it quite a bit later and made spares just in case. See the latest Emily and Clark on making the ultimate dinghy painter. This technique (reversed with the dyneema on the inside), I believe, may be used to make a sheathed dyneema core line that can go through the conduit and have chafe protection. Make two. Mount one. Have a spare. Run the one for a month or so and then swap for the spare to see if there is chafe in the outer covering on the removed line. If not. You are fixed and have a spare. If it is chafing, then relieve the chafe if you can or order a stainless line and now you have two spares.

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Old 21-02-2024, 20:43   #7
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

The Grand Solent 46 is aft cockpit so the steering cable should be quite short. You can get Edson specification online for yachts up to about 34ft but you would need specialist advice (maybe from Edson) for a yacht your size and and no doubt a balanced rudder.

My yacht is 43ft, center cockpit cruising yacht. Because of the length of steering cable I went for 10mm 7/19 SS cable to avoid "slop" at the helm caused by steering cable stretch.

I hope your pulleys (sheaves) are over 8 inch diameter otherwise your cable will fray and eventually snap. I machined mine up using a "V" belt pulley and a roller race. (The alternative was to buy X10 at $285 ea.)







If you want to check the alignment of pulleys use a piece of string.a

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Old 22-02-2024, 00:28   #8
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hunt View Post
I have a 46.3 Grand Soleil, and the rudder cable has broken. I need advice as to what cable to replace it with.


What kind of aircraft cable, stainless cable, etc do I need. No one here seems to know the answer. To my disappointment, Panama does not have great Chandleries, you have to go source stuff yourself. I can do that, but was hoping to make sure I get the right type of cable.


Thanks!!!

You need expert advice from someone specializing in the field, maybe Edson or the yacht constructor,

https://www.grandsoleil.net/

Don't rely on internet forums!
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Old 22-02-2024, 01:18   #9
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Type 316 SS, 7 x 19* construction [as used for wire halyards], is usually used for pulley type steering cables.
Though it has about 10% less strength than 304 stainless steel, it's much more corrosion resistant.
* 19 individual wires, within 7 strands
Your lifeline was probably 1 x 19 construction.
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Old 22-02-2024, 03:00   #10
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

You need the help of experts.



Planning & Sizing Pedestal Steering Systems
Edson International 146 Duchaine Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02745-1292 • tel (508) 995-9711 • fax (508) 995-5021
The typical installation may vary in wheel size, sheave size, chain
length, and quadrant size depending on the length and displacement
of the boat and the type of sailing being done. For cruising and
offshore work, a larger quadrant with more power output and more
turns of the wheel hard over to hard over is preferred. For racing,
a smaller quadrant with fewer number of turns and a larger wheel
will provide faster action especially useful for downwind sailing.
For recommended sizes, see the table below. Edson will also supply,
upon request, Data Sheets and recommendations covering the best
system for your boat. For boats being able to use more than one
system, recommendations will be given in order of preference
. For
specific information for converting or planning your boat, send us
your construction drawings and/or sales literature along with the
type of steering system you wish to install.

https://edsonmarine.com/content/EB381SteeringGuide.pdf
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Old 22-02-2024, 03:20   #11
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Gordy has it figured out. It’s the same wire used for halyards. Many years ago I had to use Mexican clothesline wire and Nico presses to replace mine and it got us to Hawaii with no problems. In my experience that wire doesn’t suddenly break it starts to slowly go strand by strand and usually on the backside of pulleys on the inside side of the pulley. Get used to inspecting it with a small wad of toilet paper in your hand and run it over all the wire, have someone turn the wheel so you get it all if it’s starting to break down it will pull bits of the paper off and leave them behind. Another thing to watch for is often when a cable is breaking down it starts to stretch if you start to notice some slop in your steering crawl downthere and have a good look. Should be a normal part of your checklist before an ocean crossing.
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Old 22-02-2024, 10:25   #12
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeRobertJr View Post
Unfortunately, my steering cable installation has conduit making turns that violate the specs from Edson.
Getting the lay-out to be within the specs from Edson should be first on the list.
https://edsonmarine.com/products/sai...duit-steering/
A plethora of posts about which kind of wire or line to use misses the point if the runs aren't right to begin with.
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Old 22-02-2024, 10:31   #13
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Yep, the 7x 19 wire in the appropriate diameter is the way to go.

You can jury fasten the wire with wire rope clips, being mindful that there is right way and a wrong way to attach the clip. The rounded bar goes over the short leg is the correct way.
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Old 22-02-2024, 11:02   #14
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Its funny some people keeps suggesting "experts" when a good bunch of us here on the forum have worked in the marine industry for decades.
Half the time when I call a marine company with real technical questions I get some 20 something "engineer" on the phone who has never been sailing in their lives. Like they can help beyond anything theoretical or that isnt included in their company policy manual..

..I digress..



OP: can you provide any photos or info on this "conduit" that redirects your cable??
Typically you never want anything that is not bearinged to touch a cable in motion as it chafes both objects and dramatically shortens the lifespan of both cable and the object. So I am very curious what these conduits are. I am 100% sure you are correct that it violates Edson recommendations.. haha



Gord is correct on the cable type. Though in most categories the inclusion of Molybdenum makes the 316 slightly stronger- not weaker.
7-7-7 304/316, often called "Aircraft Cable" is designed for a lot more flex than your typical 1x19 rigging cable.



Dyneema is an awesome replacement, but be aware- you size dyneema for creep not breaking strength and the chafe characteristics of dyneema compared to wire is very low- so again that "conduit" you have rules that option right out.
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Old 22-02-2024, 11:29   #15
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Re: Replacement Rudder Cable Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenBowSirocco View Post
Its funny some people keeps suggesting "experts" when a good bunch of us here on the forum have worked in the marine industry for decades.
Half the time when I call a marine company with real technical questions I get some 20 something "engineer" on the phone who has never been sailing in their lives. Like they can help beyond anything theoretical or that isnt included in their company policy manual..

..I digress..
<snip>
It might be worth mentioning in this case that if you call Edson (the expert recommended previously) very well might be the OE supplier for the yacht, and when you call them you often speak with the owner directly. They have on file steering system drawings for hundreds of yachts, certainly all of those that used Edson steering. They have outstanding support and really are the expert in steering systems. They really are not a company to accuse of not having expertise.

You can follow the links in other posts to see what the conduit looks like. It's a common steering system produced by Edson for several decades. It sounds like maybe the yacht builder used it, but incorporated tighter bends than recommended. Or, maybe after experience Edson changed the recommendations over the years.
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