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Old 09-09-2007, 14:34   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Babylon, NY
Boat: Ericson 38, 1980 Hull#3 "Rettsie"
Posts: 6
Emergency Tiller

I took delivery of my new to me 1980 Ericson 38 in early June 07. Boat was located 30 miles up the Conn. River, for those familar with the NorthEast, that is almost all the way to Hartford Conn.

Delivery Plans were for a simple two day delivery, Day 1 to Montauk Point, app 60 miles, including two moveable bridges.

Somewhat uneventful, except for the $250 dock space at the Star Yacht Club.

Next day we left Montauk Lake at 7:00 am, looking at brisk NE, 10-15, with sloppy seas. Rounded Montauk Pt. power sailing under main alone, with wind building 15-20 and sloopy confused seas with tide against wind.

After rounding, we were still in the slop, & steering was difficult with the wind & waves on our starboard quarter. Good crew noticed a loud clicking from the steering mechanism & he went into the starboard lazarette to inspect. He realized we were about to lose steerage, as the port pulley for the steering system had already lost one bolt & the other was loose, with the pulley swinging as the steering worked.

We made a Security call to USCG, advising them of our position & imminent steering failure.

10 minutes later, the pulley fell off & lost all steerage.

Removed deck plate to install emergency tiller. 3" vertical pipe fit perfectly. This pipe has a 2" hole drilled for the tiller, a 2" pipe to be inserted.

However this pipe was too long to clear the pedestal and stern pulpit. NO HACK SAW ON BOARD. Trusted the surveyor to inspect properly. (I know its still my fault as captain.)

While I was trying to rig this tiller, my #1 crew was calling USCG & advising of our predicament & position. To my suprise & delight, they dispatched a boat. No calls to Boat US or Sea tow. They didn't even suggest it, I suppose since conditions were worsening, and we had a relatively large boat.

1, always personnaly check steering before ocean trips
2 Check emergency tiller ( my #1 crew checked his on his T34 after the trip & had to make a similar modification
3. Bring a hack say & all other required tools.
4. Don't trust a surveyor!!

PS, had to lay up the boat at Montauk for another 5 days due to scheduling, & while away, the NE storm surge beat up my boat & bow sprit while at a dock in Mont. Lake, while I was away.
Kevin Padden
Ericson 38,

Hull #3
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Old 09-09-2007, 15:11   #2
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Bern, NC
Boat: Prout Manta 38' Catamaran - Sunspot Baby
Posts: 1,521
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I suspect even good surveyors would assure the presence of an emergency tiller but measuring clearance, probably not.

Always carry tools. It is not possible to carry every tool and/or spare you will ever need, but it is amazing what can be done with a pair of vice grips and a board.

She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
Bob Seger
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