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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My 31 Commander and 280 Catalina had essentially the same steering. Most of it is a big sheathed cable like a big throttle or shifter cable. Not open cables and pullies like my little 1960 Glasspar.

Chris Wickersham said:

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.
I have a 33 Catalina installed sea star Hydraulic steering best money spent

Before you dump a bunch of money into a hydraulic steering system, I think you should determine if your problem is undersized rudders or play & slop in your current mechanical system. Why don't you have someone in the bilge observe when the rudders begin to turn as you turn the wheel back & forth? This is pretty simple and should tell you where your problem lies. I'm guessing wear in one or more of your current components, but it would be nice to know before you write a check.

I am having the boat hauled soon to replace the trim tabs the former owner removed and paint the bottom, and I will take pics of the rudders and post here before putting her back in the water. I found that other thread on here about the 47 commander rudder size problem, and holy cow from the pictures those things are really small. If they don't stick down into the prop wash, you get no steerage. I will check the steering system too.
When i bought my boat it had about a quarter turn play. Found the bracket at then end of the actuator down by the rudders very loose.

Dick Morland said:

Before you dump a bunch of money into a hydraulic steering system, I think you should determine if your problem is undersized rudders or play & slop in your current mechanical system. Why don't you have someone in the bilge observe when the rudders begin to turn as you turn the wheel back & forth? This is pretty simple and should tell you where your problem lies. I'm guessing wear in one or more of your current components, but it would be nice to know before you write a check.

That is odd, I can make very minute changes to the wheel on my 45'. At idle they do need a turn or two. 

It's not odd if you read that other thread. By the time the 45' commander came along they realized they screwed up on the 47' and put good sized rudders on it. The proposed solution in the other thread was to order 45' Commander rudders for the 47' or lengthen the existing ones. Your boat apparently already has properly sized rudders.

I didn't realize this was a thing, but there are some pretty detailed older threads about this problem. It's definitely the rudders, bunch of people with different 47's all complaining about the same thing as me. Should have done more searching on the forum.
In the grand sceme of boat projects, new rudders are probably one of the cheaper things you'll do. How much does a rudder cost? $500-$1,000?
Like props it just depends on if you can find them somewhere that fit or if you have to have them made. If you have to have new bronze rudders cast, they're likely to run $2-$3k apiece in this size range. I ordered new props for the boat because I wanted to try the DQX style, and I needed a spare set if I am going to do any cruising anyway, they were $2145 each. The rudders may be way undersized for the boat, but they're still large castings and bronze is expensive.
I would see if the late rudders will fit, that may save you quite abit. Could also have new ones fabricated out of stainless, I'm certain that would cost less than a couple grand. One of our other members had stainless rudders made for his 46 Roamer, I can't remember his name off hand.

Chris Wickersham said:
Like props it just depends on if you can find them somewhere that fit or if you have to have them made. If you have to have new bronze rudders cast, they're likely to run $2-$3k apiece in this size range. I ordered new props for the boat because I wanted to try the DQX style, and I needed a spare set if I am going to do any cruising anyway, they were $2145 each. The rudders may be way undersized for the boat, but they're still large castings and bronze is expensive.

I've got rudders for this and most every other Commander too. Several owners of early 47's have purchased new rudders from me. If any of you have questions about this issue, please give me a call. I'd be happy to explain the process and the options available.

John Scherzinger

Chris Parts, LLC

941-795-0292

I finally had time to circle back to this, having survived the hurricane. The boat was out of the water and I can confirm she has the tiny rudders. I mean look at these things, no wonder. They only come like 1/2 way down the prop.
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