Denise and Kevin:
Here’s my problem. I installed a Global 40 on my 30-foot cutter AVE DEL MAR while hauled in Opua, New Zealand nearly ten years ago in preparation for a round-trip voyage to Australia and later from New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, across the Southern Ocean to Chile and Cape Horn and on up to the Caribbean and east coast U.S. The Fleming replaced an Auto-Helm separate rudder steering gear which saw us around the world from Alaska to Alaska from 1983-88. The Auto-Helm was a pretty good rig but did not steer well downwind in a breeze. I wanted to remedy this and did, with the Fleming.
Since I installed the Fleming it has steered AVE about 90 per cent of the time in excess of 20,000 miles.
My problem? After all those miles — some of them in very rough conditions — I can’t see anything loose or broken or ready to break on the vane. It is still operating as new. By the way, this model has no grease fittings and is sealed permanently, the manual tells me. What should I look for in the way of wear at this point?
By the way, the vane was named “Mrs. Fleming” by a Kiwi sailor, Ron Cooke, who accompanied me across the Southern Ocean, because, he said, we needed to be mothered in this lively stretch of water — and we were. Mrs. Fleming steered most of the trip but needed a little help in the rougher downwind battles when we ran bare poles or with a tiny patch of a yankee set. Later, I sailed alone from Cape Horn to Antigua in the Caribbean with one stop, at Mar Del Plata. The last leg was 5100 miles in 48 days and Mrs. Fleming sailed virtually all of it, flawlessly. How I praised her. Congratulations on an amazing product.
Jamie Bryson of AVE DEL MAR May 2005