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Old 22-02-2009, 03:36   #1
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Adrift for 40 days in Atlantic - rescued last week

From the UK Daily Mail "news" paper:-

"Adrift for 40 days: British couple cheat death after 12-day Antigua voyage leaves them stranded in storm-ravaged seas.........."








Anyone we know? (before sticking the boot in? ).
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Old 22-02-2009, 03:56   #2
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It appears they have a wind generator, I wonder if that went out too.

Anyone speculate on what went wrong with the rudder and why it couldn't be unjammed?
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Old 22-02-2009, 04:24   #3
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Good story...happier ending to come?

Glad they are OK. Their life is what is really important and it would be great if somehow the boat drifted close enough or beached and they got it back. I'd love to know how a rudder could jam like that.
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Old 22-02-2009, 04:59   #4
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Yes what jammed the rudder so bad it could not be freed?
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Old 22-02-2009, 06:26   #5
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If they closed everything up, I would not be surprised if this vessel gets salvaged.
I wonder if Norfolk CG has an idea where it is now.
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Old 22-02-2009, 09:57   #6
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Why not ditch the rudder?

While I cannot tell the make of the yacht from the photo, if the rudder shaft tube extended even slightly above the water-line, which is likely, it would seem that one could have loosened or freed the quadrant and driven the rudder shaft downward enough to have freed the blade. Even if one lost the entire rudder, it seems one could have cobbled up a steering sweep with the reaching/spinnaker pole, and saved the yacht, no?
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Old 22-02-2009, 13:06   #7
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It sure seems like something could have been done-butttt I trust the Captain tried everything and nothing worked- It would be nice to know?
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Old 22-02-2009, 13:29   #8
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It's hard to judge what caused the rudder problem, or how it might have been fixed from a distance.

This happened to a Pacific Seacraft 37 about 250 nm SW of Bermuda in November, 2001. I was making a passage from Virginia to the BVI as crew on a friend's boat. We heard them calling for assistance on our VHF. They had wrapped a genoa sheet around the prop, and with the shaft spinning, the wad of rope quickly grew to the point that it jerked the engine off it's mounts, jamming the prop against the rudder and forcing it hard over. We and another nearby sailboat had a three-wayy VFH conversation with them, trying to come up with ways to unjam the rudder, but nothing seemed to be feasible to the skipper of the boat.

We were steering with an emergency tiller at the time, having lost our normal steering, as well as our Autohelm. The other sailboat was closer to them, and hove to nearby overnight in case they began taking on water. We continued on. I found out later that the next day, a British Navy ship steamed down from Bermuda to assist. We were all in gale conditions at the time, and it was too rough for the Navy ship to send over divers to work on the rudder problem. The crew was removed to the ship, and a tow was attempted, but with the rudder hard over, it didn't work. The sailboat was cut adrift and the crew taken to Bermuda.

I'll never forget the deep sadness in the skipper's voice over the radio. He knew his boat was lost, I think.
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Old 22-02-2009, 13:30   #9
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The rescue sounded more dangerous than the actual drifting for 40 days. Looks like another 7 days would have put them offshore of Bermuda, but I'm sure they were glad to get off when they did. Of course the article was not written by the skipper, so we are probably not getting the whole story. I also see they have a wind generator but it is not mentioned. The fact that the skipper had 7 crossings and his crew 4 crossings means they had plenty of experience. Another lesson about not immediately jumping into a liferaft.
Maybe it's just me but it looks like a Hunter. I have heard and seen a few with rudder problems. Not judging...just making an observation.
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Old 22-02-2009, 13:39   #10
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There was a storm with hurricane force winds northwest of Bermuda earlier this week. It was a big one, so I'm sure it's effect extended to some extent to the area where the sailboat was drifting. We saw 10'+ swells from that storm here on Nevis Friday and Saturday. They were probably wise to get off when they did.
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Old 22-02-2009, 16:24   #11
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I understand that the boat is/was a Dufour 43
http://www.ybw.com/forums/showflat.p.../0/page/0/vc/1
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Old 22-02-2009, 16:33   #12
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Hud,

What caused the steering failure in your friend vessel? Your story reminds me that I should test my emergency tiller. I know where it lives, I've never tried it though.

Did you hand steer the rest of the way to the BVI with the ET ?
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Old 22-02-2009, 17:33   #13
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I'm struck by the graphic that shows their drift track after the rudder became jammed. Undoubtedly, the jammed rudder had a lot to do with their subsequent movement, because I would have expected a typical disabled vessel to be carried into the Caribbean.

Imagine if Steven Callahan had, instead of drifting from near the Canaries to Marie Galante in his life raft (February 5 to April 21, 1982), drifted instead in a pattern similar to the stricken Dufour. It isn't hard to imagine that one could drift into the Gulf Stream and be conveyed back into the North Atlantic.

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Old 22-02-2009, 17:45   #14
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Tao, yeah..., if it hasn't sunk....it could be off Hatteras in a few weeks...a few months...England....;-)
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Old 22-02-2009, 17:58   #15
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Question Emergency tiller or emergency rudder?..

Not having heard exactly how the DuFour's rudder jammed, it is so hard to imagine ways to prepare one's self for similar experiences... FWIW, the previous owner of my boat had a - very untimely - jammed rudder in Narragensett Bay night before I was to take possession of Layla (then, named differently) I think it may be helpful to share his experience since it could be similar to the DuFour:

He had a mooring buoy in front of his house between James Island and Wickford. The combination of current, wind and waves during the storm overnight was such that she was laying abeam to some very steep waves and caught one just right to spin the rudder to port side of the stern and jam it against the hull.

We (broker, someone from the boatyard and myself) got to the boat and tried freeing the rudder by forcing it at the quadrant, to no avail. The water was too cold to dive under the boat. After giving up, as she was being towed to the yard, the water pressure suddenly freed the rudder and (steering cables were out and pretty much useless) I could use the emergency tiller handle to steer the boat while in tow. As a result, I ended up getting a new feature w/ her: A completely rebuilt/replaced steering system; with compliments of the previous owner's insurance company.

Two things come to mind:

1) If the rudder is jammed that badly due to a bent stock, against the hull,etc, wouldn't it be better to have an emergency rudder (vs emergency tiller) arrangement ready to use?
2) In spade rudders like mine (a Beneteau), it almost seems it would be helpful to have some sort of "stopper" arrangement to prevent the rudder from spinning all the way around enough to jam against the hull.

As it appears this thread is going along in the direction of steering failures and what to -hopefully proactively- do about them, I thought I'd pick your brains to for any suggestions (short of replacing Layla as I really love my boat)

Fair winds and no steering failures to all!

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