Getting the steering back on track… almost.

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Sep 072010

The steering problem that hit us during the trip from Västervik to Stockholm was quite simple. (Everything is once you know it, right?)

The installation instructions clearly tell you to put a cap with a breader hole in the filling port of the steering pumps. But I have two steering pumps, and two breather holes is a bad idea. If the boat is heeling air comes in through the upper, which allows the oil to run out of the lower…

Yesterday I finally got the equipment for refilling the system from Estonia. I had gotten hold of the right oil earlier. So today we refilled the system and tried to get all air out. It was mostly successful. But not 100% since I have now installed rudder endstops, which stops the tiller arm before the hydraulic cylinder reaches its endpoint. This means that the last 10-20 mm of travel on each end of the cylinder is not accessible, and thus cannot be emptied from air.

So to get the steering 100% exact we have to remove the endstops and go through the refill operation again.

Oh well… It’s dark now, that will have to be done another day.

No panic since the sail-makers are down with fever. Trial sails are postponed until next week, preliminary Tuesday-Wednesday.

50% chance the keel will go up. Or down.

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Jun 282010

Olari has started to install the machinery that will lift the 5 ton keel up and down. The draft can be changed from 3.8 meters to 1.8 meters. This shallow draft is often necessary when entering small fishing harbors and secluded anchorages.

We were joking about this this morning, since the last two boats that he installed hydraulic steering on were connected backwards. So I am now taking bets on which way the keel will go when I press the Down button the first time. Up or Down? What do You think?

The keel hydraulics have one main lifting cylinder and three small locking cylinders to keep it in place when it’s down. You can see one of the locking cylinders (letters RB) in this image. The machinery does a funky automatic sequencing without any electronics involved, so that the locks do not engage until the keel is fully down, and then releases before it lifts. This has been copied from the passenger gangway of Hammarbyfärjan, by the way…