Hydraulic Steering Fiasco

Share This Post

After all this was finished I fitted the hydraulic steering and the rudder. Ann and I then commenced bleeding the system. Ann had to turn the steering wheel one way while I filled the reservoir.

Ok no problem we thought I filled then Ann turned.  A big bang and we had hydraulic oil all over our nicely varnished interior wood.

Ann was not a happy bunny.  A phone call was made to Lancing Marine, who had also supplied the steering system, they said the pump was broken, it happens sometimes.

Not to me it doesn’t, I was furious. They could not have tested it prior to supply.  Lancing Marine calmed me down and advised that they would send me a new pump and that it would arrive within three weeks.

Three weeks I wanted one within the next three days launch day was the 31 July and it was the 21 July. I would deduct £150 per day that they were over the three days from our final payment. That got things rolling.

The pump arrived on day 5 so they were not going to receive £300.  So be it. Next I connected the hydraulic ram to the pump and connected the ram head to the tiller arm.

This is the bit that fits onto the top of the rudder shaft and is used as a lever for the ram to push or pull against and thus move the rudder.  Well it did not work. There was about a 10 degree travel of the rudder in each direction I was baffled.

I checked the fitting instructions again and again. No fault there. So another phone call to Lancing marine. Oh, they said the tiller arm must be to short. They could get the correct one and deliver it to us.

Delivery date two months. I stayed calm for about two seconds and then exploded. You can imagine what I said or maybe you can’t but I can not repeat it here. Lancing Marine gave me a number for another supplier.

They advised that I send all the dimensions to them they also told Lancing to provide them with the layout drawings Lancing had made at the design stage.

Again to cut a long story short Lancing had made the wrong calculations, they had not taken the size of the rudder into their calculations.

Well we needed a hydraulic ram 6 times the size of the one Lancing marine had delivered. This of course meant a bigger pump.  Luckily the hydraulic piping was OK.

The new pump and tiller arm arrived four days later.  The fitting and bleeding process started again, this time all went well.

Next the engine was fired up and all seals etc. checked.  All was OK. We sent out the invitations to the launch which was to be held on the 31 July 2001 as planned.

We had three days to go. The masts arrived the next day and they were beautiful. Worth every penny.

Noble Masts had done a great job and I was very pleased. These were stepped on the 30 July 2001 the day before the launch. It took half an hour to step the main and two hours for the foremast. But eventually they were in.

We were ready to launch.

<<Next Launch Day>>

How to Make the Lifestyle You Dream of a Reality even if You don’t Love Your Job