Free running rudder and steering
A few years ago, Sykes changed the steering lines from stainless steel to Spectra cord. This change was made due to the issue many customers faced with corrosion of the wire and / or outer cables in saltwater conditions, not to mention the fraying of the cables.
We have had overwhelming positive feedback on this change and it's also reflected in the amount of conversion kits we have sold. There are a few things that need to be highlighted in the conversion process. All new parts supplied such as the small cable guides are made from Delrin which do not corrode or wear the Spectra cable. All stainless and aluminium existing fittings need to be converted to prevent cord fraying.
Free Turning Rudder
Whilst the system is disconnected, ensure that the rudder is free running and not tight against the rudder tube. The latest rudders have two nuts controlling the position of the rudder head on the shaft so adjustment is easy but on older style Martinoli plastic bladed stern rudders, often the rudder head can be tightened down on to the top of the rudder tube and cause it to foul. As the shaft has a machined locating feature on the shaft and does not allow for any adjustment, often the only way to fix it correctly is to file down the rudder tube slightly to expose the bare shaft so that the locating feature sits above the rudder tube giving room for the rudder head to rotate with clearance.
The Spectra cord can highlight this issue which needs to be corrected and may not have been so evident with the stainless wire which being stiffer by nature allowing a bit of pushing to overcome the resistance of the rudder.
A simple test of a fully connected system that may feel resistance to turning is to pull up the rudder by the head and check that there is al least 1mm of up and down movement ensuring the head is not catching on the rudder tube.