We also had a bit of water come in during our first sailing season, up in Canada. We hoped to get back to Fort Lauderdale in December and have our regular Amel specialist have a look at it. But the problem worsened on our way S and finally in Georgetown, SC, we felt compelled to let a non-Amel party have a look at it.
The guys a Hazzard Marine were surprised to find a boat with packing on the steering system, but quickly got to work. It took two very big strong guys, several tools, and a lot of effort over several hours to pull out the old packing, but they put new one (BROWN in color, made of a natural fiber), tightened the nut, and we carried on. For the first few days, not a drop leaked, but by the time we got home, the leak was again excessive.
On Eric's (Kimberlite) advice, we ordered new packing from La Rochelle, plus spares, and an extra nut, just in case we ever crack the old one. Like Eric says, tape it near the quadrant. Two things: first, the French packing is WHITE, and made out of a synthetic material. Second, the Amel original is ***metric***, whereas the South Carolina guys put in an Imperial-size equivalent, or whatever it is called... this is why their efforts were good for only a few weeks.
As for the tool, the ideal is to have one custom-made as per Eric's recommendation, but not having access to that, we took the new plastic nut to a tool specialist in Ft. L who sold us a sufficiently flat, adjustable, $75 Ridgid wrench which one is able to rotate under the quadrant to tighten the nut.
SM2K #350 (2002)
At anchor, La Maddalena, Sardinia