Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Western MA & Maine
Boat: 1997 Sabre 362
Sabre 362 Rudder play
Concerning a loose rudder post on my 1997 Sabre 362. It’s a bit of a story and the ultimate questions are; Has anyone run into this? and Repair suggestions?
While crossing to Nova Scotia from Maine last August, we got into a bit of a sloppy sea in the evening & I noticed the rudder post knocking side to side. Upon examination I noticed a lot of play at the top of the rudder post, 3/16 - 1/4”. I guessed the bottom bearing was in better shape because I was right there during the pre-purchase survey, in November 2015, when he checked the rudder during haul out, and there was no movement. He did not check the top also.
With concern for the safety of continuing the trip, I called Glen Chapin, Sabre’s legacy guy who is a wealth of information, when we got within cell range the next morning. He told me the bearings are fiberglass, made by Tides Marine.
He suggested the situation was not dangerous as long as the fiberglass support collar was not damaged and the delrin bushing under it was OK, which subsequent inspection verified. Skip at Tides Marine said basically the same thing.
Glen also told me that this is Sabre’s only model with a rudder tube, and not a seal/bushing, at the hull. Obviously a good thing. Unless the tube and support is damaged, there would not be any water intrusion. Profile drawing attached below.
We completed the trip up the coast to Cape Breton Is & Bras d’Dor Lake and back to Maine w/o further problem except the knock of the rudder post, when in a seaway, wearing on my psyche.
Glen told me that he had never heard of these bearings wearing out, which I thought strange because all bearings wear out eventually. He also told me “Earlier 362’s, and yours being one of them, had a “rudder recall” where the rudders were replaced for over 80+ Sabre 362’s. The recall was a replacement rudder w/ carbon fiber post, and Tides Bearings. The original 362 rudder out of the Sabre factory used fiberglass bearings made by Sabre, as like all of the previous Sabre sailboat models.”
Skip @ Tides said the bearings are epoxied in place & do not get grease, presumably lubricated by water.
After haul, my yard reported an inch of play at the bottom bearing. Did not comment on the top. I have not been able to get there yet to look for myself, she’s 350 miles away.
Photo below shows rudder right after drop. The top bearing couldn’t be worn too much, otherwise it would have slid down the post. The bottom bearing is not thick enough for 1” of play. So, the problem appears to be mostly the housing around the bearing(s), not so much the bearings themselves.
I am confident the fiberglass tube can be built back up to hold the bearings but alignment would be critical & I am not sure there’s a precise way to align other than the good old eyeball.