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Rudder Torque

In order to move the rudder the steering gear has to create a certain torque (measured in Kilo Newton meters). The torque requirement is given by the class rules to ensure safe maneuverability of the vessel. The size and shape of the rudder and also the speed o the vessel is taken into consideration.

Spade Rudder
-is the most used

rudder type on ferries and smaller boats. This type of rudder gives very good maneuverability depending on the available rudder angle and the rudder profile.

Half Spade Rudder

-is commonly used in big vessels and is not as effective as a spade rudder of the same size.

Flap Rudder
-is used when very good maneuverability is required. The rear fin exaggerates the movement of the rudder making the rudder more effective.

Two Types of Electro-hydraulic steering gear

The Ram Type and the Rotary vane type have similar principles that is strong slow movement of a mechanical surface is created by the use of high oil pressure
Ram uses cylinder pistons Rotary vane uses pressure working on the side of a vane.

Parts of the Actuator

Angle Indicator

Fixed to the rudder stock and shows the rudder angle.

Expansion Tank

this tank serves as an expansion tank for the system oil.

Upper Radial Bearing

made of brass and lubricated by the system oil. It takes up radial forces in conjunction with the lower radial bearing.

Rudder Stock

acts as a securing device for the friction connection between the rudder stock and the rotor.


making boundaries for the pressure chambers and also sets the limits to the rudder angle of each side.


moving part of the actuator. It turns the rudder stock when the hydraulic pressure increases. It is fitted with spring loaded cast iron bars.


serves as the outer boundary, side and bottom of the pressure chambers.

Lower Radial Bearing

made of brass and lubricated by the system oil. It take up radial forces in conjunction with the upper radial bearing.

Packing Gland

keeps the system oil from leaking down the rudder stock, after the system oil has lubricated the lower side bearing and the rudder carrier.

Steering Gear Control System

Engine Control Room

in the engine control room, there is an alarm/signal panel. According to normal standards and to avoid possible misunderstandings, it should not be possible to operate the steering gear from this control stand.

Wheel House

the main control panel is in the wheel house. This control panel features the start/stop and the alarm/signals and acknowledgement of alarms. It includes a panorama three way consisting of two rudder angles and the speed of the ship.

Steering Gear Compartment

on the top of the actuator there is a scale with degrees, showing the angle of the rudder to port/starboard and also signal transmitter and feedbacks for remote rudder indication and steering control system

Three Steering Modes

Auto Pilot

the ship will automatically find its way to a preset position point along a preset route. If the ship is forced out of course the auto pilot will use the rudder to get the ship back to course.

Follow Up

a variant of manual steering. It allows the rudder to be locked in any rudder angle and the system will hold it there until you move it again.

Non Follow Up

is totally manual control of the rudder movement from wheel house or in emergency situations from the steering gear compartment.

Emergency Steering

is the same as local steering from the steering gear compartment. The operator has to push directly on the valves of the actuator and keep his eyes on the rudder angle indicator wheel on top of the actuator. Rudder commands are to be received by phone from the bridge. Local steering can also be done from the starter cabinets front panel.