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Warning: check your quadrant

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Pzucchel View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 May 2023 at 22:05
Hi to all,

Preparing for the season, I checked in details the status of my Lewmar quadrant. Most of the bolts were lose... 

Admittedly, in the last year I have done one atlantic crossing that may have put stress onto it - but before leaving I had done the same check and indeed found some lose bolts too. 

As a reminder, in the ARC 2021 there was one Hanse 588,  Charlotte Jane III, that had to be abandoned (later recovered) because of a steering failure...

You can surely see where I am heading :even if your steering works perfectly today, take the painful action of controlling your bolts. It implies going behind the quadrant with a couple of 17 mm keys and suffer a bit... But I won't let a season going without doing it.

There are 8 bolts connecting the gearboxes to the quadrant - and 7 bolts going down into the boat spar. Then 4x bolts connecting to the wooden plate separating the cabins and the rear. 

If the quadrant would get lose, the redundancy of the two steering wheels will be useless : both starboard and port system are attached to the same quadrant. I plan making an emergency tiller, that will work by extracting the dinghy : this is exactly how Charlotte Jane III was recovered (I've seen with my own eyes the emergency tiller and the absence of the dinghy when it arrived). 

I would additionally control the pulleys where the cables bend. There are 4x bolts on each side.




Edited by Pzucchel - 27 May 2023 at 22:06
Hanse588#55
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Arcadia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Arcadia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2023 at 01:32
Excellent advice Piero. There is a way we take take things for granted that we canít see and steering is the least visible and yet most important.
Leon / ARCADIA
2018 Hanse 588
Sag Harbor, NY
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Black Diamond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2023 at 00:37
Good to know.     Worth checking, but I fear its going to be a claustrophobic experience.
:-)



Rick
S/V Black Diamond
Hanse 575 Build #192, Hull# 161
Newport, RI
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Pzucchel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2023 at 07:35
I am still recovering my bruises, if it wouldn't be so important I would not have done it! Also, after my intervention I noticed that the rudder controls are less "elastic". It's not subjective, because I noticed that even the autopilot oscillates with a higher frequency between left and right. I mean,  watching the steering wheel, I could see the wheel moving left and right every 1-2 seconds by fraction of a degree for the rudder (1 degree are about 10 cm at the wheel circumference, more or less)... Something I never noticed before! Maybe also consequence of the slightly tighter cables, but a movement of the quadrant by few millimeters under force is probably the same scale...and it passes undetected by the rudder sensor, while the loose cables should not affect the feedback system. 

This is to say : if your find the rudder more "spongy", it may be a warning signal... 


Edited by Pzucchel - 01 June 2023 at 07:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wayne's World Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2023 at 13:40
After reading this post I checked all of the bolts on the AP, quadrant and gear boxes and all were tight. I last had to tighten the AP securing bolts part way across the Atlantic whilst underway. Did that without loosing any figures which was a definite possibility. So no at the slightest impression that the steering feels odd I check these securing bolts. 
Wayne W
Cruising, currently in the Caribbean and will head across the Pacific early 2024
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Black Diamond Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2023 at 18:32
Does both inspection and adjustment require "loading yourself into the torpedo tube"?  Or can you inspect and see that things are good-or-bad without the same level of bruises?

Rick
S/V Black Diamond
Hanse 575 Build #192, Hull# 161
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Pzucchel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2023 at 19:07
If you find a solution, please let me know! I am still recovering, one more reason to lose weight before next year control... 🤣... The bolts are very difficult to access even with the ideal tools... 

Edited by Pzucchel - 01 June 2023 at 19:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mainer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 June 2023 at 14:44
Timely message, Piero! A couple of days ago we suffered an (almost) complete loss of steering immediately after disconnecting from our mooring. Both helms were locked up. Fortunately I was able to use the autopilot to get some control and we were able to motor back to the mooring and tie up again. The problem was caused because the starboard input socket to the steering gearbox (the black cylinder on the side of the gearbox that the helm cable/chain and the autopilot chain wrap around) had become mostly separated from the gearbox. Three of the four socket cap screws that hold it onto the gearbox had completely worked their way out and the last screw was hanging on by a couple of threads. Thanks to this last screw, the autopilot motor was still able to drive the gearbox. After reattaching the screws (tightening them down as much as I could) and re-adjusting the cable/chain tension, everything seems back to normal. 

It was a bit of a terrifying experience. We moor in a narrow-ish harbor in Maine with rocks on either side of us and the wind was blowing us sideways. If we hadn't figured out some way to get control within about a minute, I think we would have had a hard grounding. I'm curious if anyone else has had this experience and if there's an obvious cause for the screws having come loose. We recently purchased the boat (f.k.a. Relentless, now named Bonny Doon) and had a marine survey carried out which didn't identify any issues. We sailed up from Georgia to Maine and while we hit some 'sporty' conditions a couple of times, had had no previous indications that there was anything amiss with the steering.

-Chuck
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Pzucchel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pzucchel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 June 2023 at 15:14
Hi, I wish my post could have prevented the nightmare situation. As everybody here knows,  the Hanse 588 Charliotte Jane III had to be abandoned during the arc 2021 that I also attended for a steering problem. It is a dual steering system with one rudder, and certain failure modes can compromise the steering with severe risks for the people onboard, like the nightmare situation you're describing about. To make you smile, it reminded me when, in jolly harbour in antigua, my bow thruster stayed engaged and kept my boat doing 360s for few minutes in the harbour entrance  that seemed to me an eternity, while a friend was emptying the sail locker looking for the magic red knob...

Anyway, my message: CHECK YOUR STEERING SYSTEMS FREQUENTLY FOR LOSE BOLTS... 
Hanse588#55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Wayne's World Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 June 2023 at 15:26
Chuck,

Sounds exciting! The bolts on the steering need to be TIGHT and I would put Loctite on any bolts that had loosened. Regarding your mooring in the harbour I would ensure you have your thrusters deployed when entering the narrow area and you can always use them to keep you off the rock for a time even if the AP is not working. If it takes a while to get to your mooring just pulse the thruster every few minutes so they don't auto retract.

I met Rob in SXM and Relentless seemed to be well maintained. But I think this problem can happen to any boat. Just make a habit of checking regularly.  
Wayne W
Cruising, currently in the Caribbean and will head across the Pacific early 2024
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