TIDALWAVE, Whereas your troubleshooting efforts are certainly appreciated, I can't concur with your conclusions. If I read your posts correctly, you had no problems for several sessions. You only had difficulties when you inadvertently failed to seat the rudder at the beginning of your problem session. When you eventually recycled it properly, you had no further problems and after several attempts could not get the rudder to screw up. No changes were made to the adjustment bolt during this time (on the water).
It was only after altering the adjustment bolt that you experienced further problems, which caused yet further adjustments:
Subsequent to loosing all starboard steering (see above), I have been playing with the rudder system. I found that after three weeks of on&off sailing, the drum bolt had gotten so tight that the rudder was not able to drop into the holding clip.
And you came to this conclusion:
The drum absolutely has to have about 1/4 inch gap between the drum halves, to get sufficient looseness on dropping the rudder into the rudder clip. I have found that it doesn't take too many raising and lowering to change the drum bolt tightness.
This is exactly the same Twist N Stow system that has been in use for 4 years. As we know, there has rarely been a bolt adjustment issue. From your initial troubleshooting comments, the factory setting was evidently correct and functioning well the whole time.
I only bring this up because IMO, you may
have excessively loosened the bolt, thus compromising the reliability of the rudder locking system. For others to to follow these recommendations, may cause additional problems for them as well. Again, this is the same system that has not been problematic. The TI I am currently using is adjusted snug but not tight, as set by the factory. It functions 100% correctly and the bolt is 100% stable.
After carefully looking at the rudder system...there is only about 1/4 inch of plastic on
the rudder clip that actually holds the rudder in place! The rudder clip looks like the weak link in the Tandem rudder system. I...but starboard steering is preserved by a small black plastic clip as far as I can tell. If the small clip breaks or the edge rounds away...the rudder will be free to swing away. At least with the AI, if the rudder pin broke...all you had to do was replace the pin.
Lets take a closer look at this "rudder clip". It's actually a beefed up version of the original T&S that has worked reasonably well in all applications since 2006. In the following pic (looking up from the bottom) we see the rudder pockets for the TI (left) and AI (right). notice how similar the systems are, but the TI has a deeper pocket for a more positive insertion and a larger, sharper tongue (green highlight) for a more positive engagement of the rudder:
Now lets compare the rudder grooves. The TI groove (again green highlight) is larger and deeper than it's AI counterpart (red), which most people don't even see:
When the rudder is properly locked and tensioned, starboard rudder action presses the tongue into the groove and prevents the rudder from popping out of position.
I do agree that this locking system can eventually wear to the point where it needs to be replaced, but with the glass filled Nylon, it shouldn't happen for a long time. The less robust AI tongue and grooves have held up very well so far.
Again, I don't mean to be argue with your conclusions except as they may create more problems than solutions for others. This isn't to say that problems won't arise, but to call for a system redesign without any substantiation of actual system malfunction may be a little premature.