Went out for a day sail on Friday with a few friends. We had a windy run to the lee of Angel and then the wind dropped and the temps were fine. We had some lunch and then headed back. The wind was just starting to pick up when we heard a bang. I turned the wheel and it kept right on spinning. We lost a steering cable. I went below and grabbed the emergency tiller and attached it. The attachment is aft of the wheel so there is very little room to maneuver it and very little torque to turn the rudder. We reduced sail and stated heading the four miles to the slip. It was gusting over 30 and we had to release the main from time to time to reduce pressure. I was very glad I was not out there on a solo sail. We got to the channel and headed into the marina safely. What a huge relief to be dockside again.
On Saturday I headed up to the boat to attempt to fix the broken cable. I pulled out the remains of the old one and headed to the hardware store looking to replace it. I found the 3/16" wire I needed and Tony helped me put in the loop I needed for the chain connection. Over at the boat, I slipped the wire on the chain and went down under to connect the wire to the quadrant. Having never done this, it turned out to be a great learning experience. I finally got her connected and took her for a 30 minute sail outside the channel in 25+ winds. All is good. In reading about the the steering system, I learned that you should inspect the cables twice a year and replace them every 5 years. In looking at the old cable, this may have been original cable from 30 years ago. Hard to say. Just glad I was able to get her in and fix her quickly. My partners are heading out today!