I really am not the biggest fan of the way my boat handles. I feel like the skipper in Gilligan's island throwing the wheel around, a 1/4 or 1/2 turn of the wheel does little to nothing. A full turn or more is required to get the boat to answer the helm at anything less than 8-9 knots. If you throw it all the way over at any speed even idle, she'll heel over and spin almost in her own length, so she seems to have enough rudder. It's bizarre, like an on/off switch.

1) Is this normal for these? 2) To fix this I am considering going to hydraulic steering with a shorter ratio. Plan on going to the Bahamas and I am not dealing with this for 10 hours a day. Does anybody have any recommendations? Anyone done this swap?

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I have been at the helm of a 47 with hydraulic steering at low speeds a it was just as you described . They have really small rudders and I always wondered why but your comment about their over reaction at high speed may explain it.

I appreciate your answer, you just saved me some money. If it's going to handle the same anyway, then I'll save the money on the steering and put it into an autopilot instead, let a computer deal with it on long stretches.

Chris, I think the auto will still be challenged by the small rudders.  The rudders could be upgraded or modified  to give you satisfaction.  There have been several discussions about rudders on the 47 and size difference between older and newer.


Let me do a search, is there a place that sells chris craft rudders in the correct size and shape? I have working hard to make her into my dream cruising boat, but this one thing really sucks the fun out of long trips. More than a couple hours at the helm and I'm mentally tired of dealing with it. It's kind of a real problem.

Search ""Rudders on Commanders"

Get a good autopilot.

I had same problems with my 31 so I added 4 inches and it handles like a dream. Also check to see if there is any play in the linkage. Have someone turn the wheel while you are down below to see if there is play. Dave

I sawwed at the wheel like you describe for 12hrs strait when i ran from Mackinac island to Port Sanilac in 3-4ft all day with my 31. I was so exhausted when we got there that when it set in after dinner i felt drunk. My boat has virtually no play in the original cable stearing. I believe like Dave bigger rudders are the key.

Chris, go to the website algonaccast.com, they have a pictorial chart of all Chris Craft rudders.

Play is next to impossible in this setup, the steering is made up of a big gear behind the helm linked with a shaft connected to another gear linkage at the rudders, it's all mechanical. Sort of like a boat rack and pinion. There are no cables that I've seen. It basically has to be the rudders. Sigh. This is probably gonna be expensive.

But I have got to do something, it's ruining steering the boat for me. I have never wanted an autopilot on any other boat before. Usually I love steering the boat all day, but this one is just a chore.

Chris, I helped drive a 53 Hatt back to Chicago from the Gulf that had the same problem of small rudders.  If yoiu dodged a log in the river you spent the next 15 minutes getting the helm under control by painful increments.  Change the rudders or modify them as the earlier poster did.  At the Chesapeake Rendezvous there was a captain with a 55.  We were visiting and he stated that the reason he opted for the 55 was he had trialed several CCCs including the 47 and found the 55 much easier to handle. We did not discuss the year of the 47 but I would bet it was of the earlier models with the smaller rudder.  The larger ones will cost a small fortune but the deletion of the pmof will carry forward for the life of ownership.

You guys are starting to worry me that I won't like the way my boat handles. What are the dimensions of the small original rudders? I've seen pictures and to me it seems like mine might be larger, but maybe it's just the angle of the shot.

@Dan - that site is a great resource, thanks!

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