N 24 42 W 81 06 After spending a few nights at the Marathon Yacht Club fussing with the hydraulic steering, we finally gave up and called in the experts. Among many of the very nice people we met at the club was owner of one of the local boat yards. He sent over a couple of pros to figure out our problem - after motoring for an hour or two or sailing for three or four hours, the helm becomes stiffer and stiffer making turning the wheel a real chore. We are afraid that this may eventually disable the steering - not good! We left the yacht club and came under the bridge (bascule) and power line (not! - at 65 feet just a couple of feet to spare) into Boot Key Harbor to have them work on the steering and to educate us in repacking the gland. That has been slowly leaking for a while and I tighten it up by compressing the packing. That works for a few days and then the drip starts again. We are fairly close to running out of threads to tighten - so might as well get it done while we are at the yard. The pros determined that the hydraulic pump was clogged with metal as a result of wear over the years. They replaced the pumped and flushed out the system. We left the next day for Long Key - straight into the wind and wave under power. After about an hour the steering started getting stiff again. Bummer!. We spent the night at Long Key then turned around and surfed downwind back to Marathon. After 3 hours no problem with steering - it has to be heat related since the pump is mounted above the engine. Based on advice from Hynautics, we replaced the relief valve and re-flushed the system. After running the engine dockside the steering is slightly stiff - maybe the new pump and valve are a little tight? The good news is we have been able to spend some time with Walt and Pat from s/v Centime. These guys are very nice and very willing to share their years of cruising experience. Well, we have pretty much replaced the whole hydraulics with the exception of the hoses and the ram. Even though the folks here are very nice, we have had enough of Marathon and are off up the coast.