Upper Rudder Bearing Squawk

A fog descended on Sparrow yesterday to add to the ambiance of this place. Now not just cold, but damp and more dreary. Seas are not large, but very confused and sloppy with a fun long period swell from the West so we get to surf a little.

The big news today is the upper rudder bearing complaining. It squawks and binds when the rudder is under high load, basically whenever a large wave throws the stern over and the autopilot pushes to bring her back on course. I can’t think of a way to fix this problem. I have no teflon sheets aboard, even if I could get access to the bearings. Next bail-out point is the Falklands, over 2,000 miles away.

Since yesterday I’ve been sailing very conservatively, less sail and using water ballast to keep heel to zero or even a little to windward. This keeps the rudder loads and squawking down. Unless some brilliance strikes, not much to do but see how it evolves. These things always get worse with time. It’s just a matter of how fast it deteriorates. As far as I can tell, the lower bearing that takes most of the load is just fine.

Compounding this problem is the coming weather. Looks like the wind will be coming up all week next week and I can expect 30-40+ as 3 low pressures systems roll by before I get to the Horn. I will likely be running with 3 reefs and the storm jib.

Will be an interesting week! In the meantime, I’ve got water, food, power and things are dry below for now.

2 thoughts on “Upper Rudder Bearing Squawk

  1. Can you drill and tap the bearing and add a grease fitting? Possibly cannibalize a grease fitting from somewhere else. Grease under pressure can be amazing.


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