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September 2009

Once I returned from Loch Lomond, I had a think about how I wanted to redo my rudder cables. I decided to revert to the use of Nicopress stop sleeves on the end of each cable, as used originally by Hydrovisions, since I think these give the 'cleanest' finish. It was obvious that the cheaper swage tool I had bought was inadequate and I learned that the tool recommended by Nicopress for crimping their 1.5mm (1/16") copper stop sleeves was the Type 64 hand tool, either with (64-CGMPCT) or without (64-CGMP) attached wire cutter. The price of the cheaper (64-CGMP) tool in the UK is about GBP 300 to buy, which I couldn't justify paying since (hopefully) I will only need to use it infrequently. So instead I decided to rent one from Flints. They charged GBP 32.20 for the first week's hire of the 64-CGMPCT tool (GBP 18.40 for subsequent weeks) and GBP 17.25 for carriage. They can arrange collection of the tool by their own couriers for an additional GBP 23 but I returned it myself using ParcelForce48, at a cost of GBP 10.99 (with GBP 150 maximum compensation - it would have cost more than GBP 20 if I had insured it to its full value), making a total cost of GBP 60.44 for a one-week hire. While still expensive for such a small job (GBP 15.40 per stop), this is only about 20% of the cost of buying the tool, which weighs 3.2 kg (7 lbs).

The exposed metal at the ends of the 5mm Shimano brake outer cables, which were installed by Solway Dory in July, had already started to corrode and to discolour my stainless steels inner cables after only two (freshwater) meets, so I decided to replace them. I found some 5.1mm OD (3.2mm ID) flexible stainless steel conduit and encased it in white 6.4mm heat shrink tubing, to blend in better with the Raptor's white deck, to give it additional strength and to prevent it from scratching my Raptor. I then applied transparent 2.4mm heat shrink tubing on new lengths of 1.5mm stainless steel cable, to reduce the risk of abrasion. There is now metal-metal contact with the inner cable only at the (copper) stops. This outer cable solution is probably more elaborate (and expensive) than necessary. Flexible plastic tubing would probably be as good, if not better, but my setup seems to work well so far. I bought the conduit from Ronbar. 10m of conduit (their minimum order quantity), plus carriage, cost me GBP 60.15. Heat shrink (with 2:1 shrink ratio) is available in different colours and in the required lengths from HeatShrink-Online. I paid GBP 13.79 for 7m each of the two different types, with next day delivery.

I noticed after the Loch Lomond meet that my rudder pedal hinges were twisted again. I had Solway Dory replace the original aluminium hinges with 2mm stainless steel ones in September 2007. I asked them to replace them again, as I wanted the pedals to be straight before attaching my new rudder cables. This time DaveP found some 3mm stainless steel hinges, which are much more substantial that previously, at RS Components, so I am now confident that this problem won't reoccur. The loops of the new 3mm hinges are welded, so are much less likely to open up and deform, whilst the 2mm hinge loops were simply pressed closed.

I received some good feedback from GeorgeF after I'd posted my July 09 comments. I had found that my Raptor's tacking ability had improved after the travel of the rudder had been reduced by the outer cable protruding astern of the transom. This made me realise that, when supplied by Hydrovisions, the rudder travel was so great that it was actually stalling the boat through a turn, if full rudder lock was applied. George told me that Hydrovisions had advised him to install rudder stops on the sides of his cockpit to reduce the risk of scraping and gouging due to the original aluminium pedal hinges twisting. A side-benefit of these stops was to reduce the travel of the rudder. I'm not sure if this was also the intention of Hydrovisions, but apparently they started installing rudder stops shortly after George's Raptor was completed. I liked his rubber door stop solution so used the same, however, I decided to attach mine to the transom rather than to the cockpit gunwales, as I feel this gives a more direct contact between metal and rubber. This is made slightly more complicated by the seam between hull and deck, but I cut a slot in the stops so as to bridge the seam. I measured the length of stop that would be required to limit the rudder travel to 90 degrees (45 degrees either side of the main hull's mid-line). DaveS later advised that a 60 degree rudder travel would probably be optimal. I needed 1 door stops to give the required length (about 30mm), and joined the two pieces with silicone sealant. A bolt and nut held them together as the silicone dried and I then added a short length of transparent heat shrink tubing over each rudder stop, for additional strength.

I installed the outer cables before travelling south to the Autumn Outing Meet on Coniston Water, using the original P-clips installed by Solway Dory. I also prepared two lengths of inner cable, with a copper stop on one end of each, and transparent heat shrink applied. I had to estimate the length of wire to heat shrink, as the new pedal hinges would alter the neutral rudder position, but in the event was almost right. DaveP only needed to carefully trim a short length of plastic tubing from one of the cables. I had noticed at Loch Lomond that the two small aluminium blocks, which attach the rudder cables to the rudder carriage, had seized (due to corrosion), so I freed and cleaned them well before installing a nylon washer between each block and the carriage. It is important that these

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