How To Replace Worn Rudder Bushes
Practical Boat Owner|September 2021
Hedley Ritchie shows how he changed the wobbly bushes on his transom-hung rudder to improve his Westerly Konsort’s steering
Hedley Ritchie

I have owned a Westerly Centaur for 29 years and I decided in 2020 I was going to change it for a Westerly Konsort.

When I bought the Konsort, which was built in 1984, I knew the bushes were worn as the rudder had some slack in it.

I searched the internet and bought new bushes from ff-systems.co.uk who recommended I use PET bushes as it is harder wearing than nylon. The bush set cost £63.13 in total and they were delivered within four days.

The tiller is attached to the top of the rudder by two stainless steel bolts, while the main stainless steel rudder pin also penetrates the top of the tiller stock.

Before I removed the rudder pin I tied the rudder with some rope and secured it to the pulpit to stop it from falling away as I undid the fastenings. I was working alone and the rudder is very heavy to manage – it’s really a job for two people.

I also wedged the rudder at the bottom to raise it slightly and take the weight off the two transom brackets.

First I removed the two horizontal 125mm (5in) stainless steel bolts from the top of the rudder/tiller bracket. Then I used a hammer and mandrel to knock up from the bottom the main vertical pin that holds the rudder to the two transom brackets.

I liberally sprayed WD40 on the pin to make sure it came out with ease. I was then able to pull it out from the top of the rudder once I’d knocked it upwards by a couple of inches. As I’d supported the rudder on a wedge and held it in place by the rope, I was able to leave the boat and gently lay the rudder on the ground.

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