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Log Entry

Third Time's A Charm

Oh, the joy of fixing things... After a nice run from Annapolis and back at the dock last Sunday, I began to fuss with the wheel because it's still loose, turning it all the way starboard and then port. And then while turning to port, the wheel started to unscrew. Yes, it just kept on spinning. Oh s***! What if that had been while underway? A true I love yachting moment that thankfully did not come to pass.

Our friend Berke George, AKA the Cannon Man, is in town, he arrived last Wednesday. Given that we still have a bit of boating to do before CAYUGA gets hauled for the season, the Edson wheel needed to be fixed. Berke has a wealth of knowledge regarding boats and how things work on boats so who better to dig into this problem.

As you know, we tried this once, then again, and now here we are doing it one more time. We'd thought our love of yachting moments with this wheel were behind us but not quite yet.

So on a beautiful Thursday last week, Berke and Brad went to town on the wheel.

The culprit was discovered to be a set screw on the shaft that had been worn and was sliding on the shaft but also scoring it. That's not a pretty picture.

Berke filed the shaft to both repair and smooth it out. Then the hunt was on for a new set screw and a threading tap. For those of you who may not know what that is, because I certainly did not, it is used to create threads a screw can go into. I had to look it up on the google, so here's a picture for ya in the middle.

We surmise that this was going on all along to some degree, we can't be sure but there's no doubt in our mind that the instructions we followed the second time around got this situation to mayday status. The "turn the wheel all the way and then turn hard again" directions - we don't plan to repeat unless totally necessary. I'm not saying anything we were instructed to do in any way was wrong or bad - what happened was a mechanical deficiency.

Berke discovered that the old set screw couldn't fully and properly situate itself against the shaft because of the hub hole threads. Basically, no screw would until the threads were all the way through the hub hole, so this was bound to happen.

As an aside, technically, the boat could be maneuvered with throttle alone but that would be only at low speeds, I would not want to try steering that way going at a cruising speed. I don't use the wheel to dock, it's all gear shifting and bow thruster. My comfort level with steering CAYUGA around is growing with more and more scenarios we get her into. However, it's nice to have confidence in your basic boat operating machinery!

So Brad and Berke went to Fawcett after not being able to find the right screw or tap at the marina boatyard we are docked at. Two folks at Fawcett were struggling to find what we needed, a longer 5/16th set screw and the same size tap. In was called a wisened old salt who descended into the basement from where he emerged victorious in his quest with just the right screw and tap. Berke remarked that "now we're in business".

Once back at the boat, the tap was used to completely thread the whole way through the hub hole. And while Berke was at it, he took some time to Flitz the wheel and get it looking like new. If you don't know about this stuff, you are missing out! This wheel is shiny - I like shiny metal stuff.

It's so nice to have a working wheel. We were out today bringing the boat home and it was night and day steering ability. And it looks great too. Look at that set screw doing its job like it's supposed to. Thanks to the always awesome Fawcett folks. And way to go Berke! I learned so much listening to you just to do this post with how you explained exactly what you did and what was needed to be done. I am a much better yacht girl today than I was yesterday.

66 views3 comments


Oct 12, 2021

Berle is the man!!


We’ll done! I love when the yachting hero’s come along and save the day!

Holly A. Tompkins
Holly A. Tompkins
Oct 12, 2021
Replying to

Love that you love it! We are thrilled to have Berke in town.

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