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Old 14-01-2016, 02:52   #31
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Re: Dyneema Rig and Steering Cables?

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Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
I have experienced steering failure a few times, including a cable break on a 68 foot race yacht at night in a severe gale (caused a sudden round up which blew off our Yankee at the stay, literally popping open every single bronze plunger hank by bending them outwards… quite something and I still have a few as souveniers). One thing I would like to suggest from this experience is that it is rare that an "emergency" tiller is manageable by hand, in a seaway with sail pressure, especially not by one person. It is vital that you take yours out and test how hard it is to use etc. But many are too short for decent leverage, and therefore must be used with some kind of handy billy system (I carry two dedicated for this purpose in my safety/emergency locker, all set up) to be clipped to either side of the tiller so that the boat can be steered with the purchase lines. Experiment.

Further, you of course know that you need rig cutting equipment aboard. Perhaps you do or do not know that "bolt cutters" are almost useless on 12mm steel wire. The individual wires slide against each other and absorb the energy. Hacksaws are slow and exhausting. There are only three cutting tools that are effective in a severe emergency (rig down):

1. Angle grinder.
2. Blank fired explosive cutter.
3. Hydraulic cutter.

The latter is very expensive, number 2 relies on too many "bits". So the best is an angle grinder. For the most part an electric angle grinder is fine for this purpose, though for extreme situations I have rigged up an airtool arrangement which runs off an adjustable pressure regulator and dive tank.

Re reeving steering cables can be hard at the best of times, but it can be done at sea. I know as I have done it in bad conditions. Of course we had a strong crew at that point and YMMV.

As to going up the mast at anchor… it may be nerve wracking, but IMHO it is de rigeur, as a rig should be checked after each long passage and every few months in any case. A deck based rig inspection daily. Always use a safety line and never use powered winches to assist a person up the mast.
I have a Dewalt battery operated angle grinder for just this purpose. Re going up mast - I been up our mast many a time, I meant going up the mast when it has a broken shroud

I've made a rig of some odd halyard cordage I had, a couple of snatch blocks and the hook up for the windvane on one of my helms. If I have to rig the emergency tiller, I can rig this and then steer the tiller with one of the wheels - not pretty, but i works and the helmsman won't get tired.


Oh - I almost forgot - thanks for the tips
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Old 14-01-2016, 03:06   #32
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Re: Dyneema Rig and Steering Cables?

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I have a Dewalt battery operated angle grinder for just this purpose. Re going up mast - I been up our mast many a time, I meant going up the mast when it has a broken shroud

I've made a rig of some odd halyard cordage I had, a couple of snatch blocks and the hook up for the windvane on one of my helms. If I have to rig the emergency tiller, I can rig this and then steer the tiller with one of the wheels - not pretty, but i works and the helmsman won't get tired.


Oh - I almost forgot - thanks for the tips
Good stuff. Wasn't suggesting you hadn't thought these through. I just thought I'd lay it out for thread/general consumption purposes. I also use a De Walt battery grinder and it's excellent. Except in NZ a couple of years back I made the mistake of using it to shorten a couple of bolts around 5 meters from my boat on a dockside… and ended up showering my boat with micro swarf/filings. I didn't even realise until they started to rust into the gelcoat… Was a pain. But we can all be doofuses from time to time, eh? As to one chap above's concern about mixed dyneema/steel rigging, I don't see a problem, at least not in the short term. In fact I've run my boat with dyneema running backstays for the best part of a decade with no issues whatever. Enjoy! And looking forward to meeting you "out there" sometime…
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Old 14-01-2016, 03:37   #33
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Re: Dyneema Rig and Steering Cables?

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Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
Good stuff. Wasn't suggesting you hadn't thought these through. I just thought I'd lay it out for thread/general consumption purposes. I also use a De Walt battery grinder and it's excellent. Except in NZ a couple of years back I made the mistake of using it to shorten a couple of bolts around 5 meters from my boat on a dockside… and ended up showering my boat with micro swarf/filings. I didn't even realise until they started to rust into the gelcoat… Was a pain. But we can all be doofuses from time to time, eh? As to one chap above's concern about mixed dyneema/steel rigging, I don't see a problem, at least not in the short term. In fact I've run my boat with dyneema running backstays for the best part of a decade with no issues whatever. Enjoy! And looking forward to meeting you "out there" sometime…
yeah - as I noted at the start - I'm concerned about emergencies when I am far from land - once I get to a port with facitlities - anything can be done

if we meet up we can down a couple of beers and swap "old seadog" yarns
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Old 14-01-2016, 04:49   #34
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Re: Dyneema Rig and Steering Cables?

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yeah - as I noted at the start - I'm concerned about emergencies when I am far from land - once I get to a port with facitlities - anything can be done

if we meet up we can down a couple of beers and swap "old seadog" yarns
Looking forward to it
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Old 14-01-2016, 05:23   #35
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Re: Dyneema Rig and Steering Cables?

With your below deck AP, things will have to go wrong six ways to Sunday until you will need to fall back to using your emergency tiller. If your vane is the type that steers primarily with an aux rudder, this is even more so. If you are concerned about carrying spare steering wire, just replace them with new before setting off and rely on your AP to get you to port should you experience a failure.

I expect steering cable failure to be pretty rare. Most steering failures I have seen have been parts of the steering system except the cables. Failed cables have typically been because of extreme age and severe negligence.

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Old 14-01-2016, 06:15   #36
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Re: Dyneema Rig and Steering Cables?

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Do that - although I'll be in the carribean next winter and we can see if your mai-tai's that you claim will fix anything can beat my The Botanist gin martinis (oh the fun we can have doing that - and the hangovers!)
I consider this as possibly the most difficult challenge to date... And accept with great enthusiasm...

As an aside... when purchasing your Dyneema, you might consider buying a little extra to outfit the berth... Plus some sturdy pad eyes, snap shackles... and...er... some furry "cuff" material for the inboard ends...
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:43   #37
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Re: Dyneema Rig and Steering Cables?

Muckle Flugga,

a propos nothing to do with the current subject.
As a Structural Engineer, I love your take on the art.
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