Ready to go to Catalina, Then This Happened!

We were all ready to go to Catalina Island. I installed the rebuilt steering pump, pressurized and bled the system, and we tested it for four hours, turning back and forth, doing circles and “S” turns. All seemed well until it didn’t.

The next morning we were scheduled to sail out to Catalina Island for nine days. We both got up early to do our final checks before we were to leave. I checked the steering and all looked good – good pressure in the system and lock to lock of the wheel. As we pulled out of the slip, I turned to starboard and then tried to turn the wheel back, but we were locked turning to starboard. I immediately reversed thrust to stop the boat. With the way the boat was turning, our only option was to let her drift in next to another boat so we could tie up to it. As it happened, we drifted next to another Morgan OI 41.

As it turned out, one of the copper lines that runs from the helm back to the rudder ram had failed. We were really fortunate that it happened just as we were pulling out and we were able to tie off! We then went into action researching what we could put together to fix the lines.

One of the best resources that we have found is the Morgan OI 41 Facebook group. Lots of great people on there! Several people came in and said that we could replace the old copper with rubber hydraulic lines, and one person even offered to have the lines made up at a local company close to him in the event that we could not find a fabricator close to us.

We found a fabricator in our area that told us to bring in the old fittings in with us, along with the measurements for the lengths we needed. We did just that and the next afternoon we received a call that they were ready! We were $590 poorer, but were really happy!

The day after, I started installing the lines. It only took about an hour to run and install them, then another hour or so to fill and bleed the system. We took the boat out for several hours and put her through her paces. A bit more bleeding of the lines and she was set. What a relief! Finally fixed and all new lines!

Now it’s time to sail to the island! Stay tuned. Video out soon!

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About Captain Tom

Over 10 years sailing and over 3500 miles under our keel. Was an engineer (EE) for over 30 years, then after moving into management, decided that the corporate world was no longer for me. Ran my wife's law office for 15 years and recently retired. Now we live aboard and sail the California coast, soon to leave for the Sea of Cortez.
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