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Old 10-02-2013, 02:33   #16
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Re: Abandoning Ship

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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
I guess the aeronautics industry never got that memo… lol

Nothing wrong with hydraulics or autopilots if properly installed and maintained.

On a boat it is easy to have some form of mechanical back-up as I do, where the outside steering is direct chain and cable to the easily accessible steering quadrant.
Spare cable and chain links are stowed in adjoining locker and it is a 20 minute job to replace.
Never felt the need for an emergency tiller as the mechanical steering system is overbuilt and well-greased.
That's a good system! Looks like you have two entirely independent steering mechanisms (hydraulic for your pilothouse and cable for your cockpit helm), plus autopilot -- triple redundant. That's really the ticket.

My hydraulic autopilot is directly connected to the quadrant, so I can steer with that if a cable breaks or comes loose. But note to self -- need to have spare cables on board. Loss of steering is, of course, everyone's second or third worst nightmare
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:34   #17
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My emergency tiller works just fine. Wouldn't miss the wheel at all except for the A/P connection. The spare rudder and tiller seem to work well too but there's no balance so its a heavy job.
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:04   #18
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Re: Abandoning Ship

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Originally Posted by Steve Olson View Post
Wow - interesting article, DeepFrz! I'm hoping I can find books on the subject from the author.
Steve:

Vittone was trained as a USCG rescue swimmer and does have very good posts about surviving in the water and other aspects of the liquid world :
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: DROWNING: TV vs. REALITY

Not sure if he is the right source for making the boat seaworthy enough so you don't have to abandon it.
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:11   #19
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Re: Abandoning Ship

These were very experienced cruisers! It isn't our place to judge their decision, especially based on a crappy article written by some journalist!
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:54   #20
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pirate Re: Abandoning Ship

No second guessing here.. just what I'd likely do in the given situation with weather as described...
As soon as I discovered the fix was not immeadiate I'd have fitted the emergeny tiller then hove to on the favourable tack.. most likely to keep me moving W.
Then... head below eat and rest up...
I'm a great beliver in sleeping on a problem in weather once there's control after a fashion...
When the weathers eased... trace and repair if possible... if not scavage blocks, shackles and line and rig a pully system...
The panic's over, shes riding easy...
take your time and experiment..
Similar thing happened to me last year.. emergency tiller was below in the aft cabin under the queen double, and with zero visual anywhere... luckily the oil re-fill/top-up worked but it had me getting the thinking cap out thats for sure.
Could be something you should do to while away the rest of winter... its one thing to know you have one...
something else when you have to use it...
can you make yours less hardship to use..?
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:34   #21
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Re: Abandoning Ship

As in line with boatman... I would never second guess any others decision to abandon... That said... same answers as most... lay/heave/lash wait...

To make others aware of this option... bridle a drogue and steer with that until repairs can be performed....
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:41   #22
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Re: Abandoning Ship

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Any emergency tiller is better than no steering.

None of them are long enough. Need to lash fender boards or boat hooks to it to get the necessary leverage.

Anybody practice with their emergency tillers? Me neither. Something worth doing, I think.

Dockhead... I suggest playing with your E-tiller sometime soon... I have seen so many... including new factory setups that simply would not work in an emergency ... clearance, leverage, and simply not fitting the stock are scenarios I have experienced....
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:55   #23
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pirate Re: Abandoning Ship

I am going down with the ship if it comes to it. No Sat phone or big red button. But that's my choice. It never pays to 2nd guess and we've had many of these discussions so I tossed these two links below in mostly for the OP who perhaps hasn't had time to read about this issue. It's discussed in every sail text but I found these two in milliseconds.

I am on the lookout for a long sweep/steering oar as described in the Pardeys' Self Sufficient Sailor. My main thought is to have backup for the ol' iron genny and the sweep offers a backup rudder too. All you big boat guys are smiling and rolling your eyes , I know, but I think we've read about at least 3-4 yachts abandoned just in the last few months.

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/emergencyrudder.pdf

Emergency Steering - SailNet Community
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:10   #24
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Re: Abandoning Ship

I think they got caught up in cascading circumstances from the moment they e-mailed their daughters:

So the Balmers used a tool never available to the likes of Magellan and Columbus – email.
“I emailed our daughters to contact the Coast Guard to see what we should do,” Frank said. “They told me to put our EPIRB on right away.”

At that point, deciding to hit the EPIRB or ignore the advice of the CG was the crucial moment. But I can imagine how in rough seas and malfunctioning boat, following the CG advice would seem perfectly sensible, at the time.

But then, events are put in motion . . . cargo ship is coming to rescue you. It's hard to tell them never mind. . . .
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:19   #25
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Re: Abandoning Ship

the captain who taught me to only step UP to the liferaft knew the helicopter carrying folks for rescue can see you better if there is a larger item just under surface--your boat sinking---
what boatman said --wait it out then repair the problem.\
my boat has cable steering with a hydraulic autopilot tha tuses a small amount of electricity. it also has an emergency tiller one hopes and prays not to have to use, a sis short to steer this huge mass of weight. good thing these track well without much effort.
what they did was what they did. they must have discussed the options before they left the boat.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:55   #26
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Re: Abandoning Ship

the guy thought if they drifted it would be 10 weeks to get to the Caribbean.
Well, my last trip there took me 4 weeks so its only 2.5 times as long as I took under full sail.
I always have enough food to do a passage at 2 knots. My Over Due Date I give to my sisters is at a 2 knot rate too.

All that was wrong with this boat was their emergency tiller was a bit heavy. Thats no cause for anyone to abandon the boat.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:07   #27
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Re: Abandoning Ship

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A 3 foot emergency tiller sound as bad as the emergency tiller on my Peterson 44, which attached under the bunk in the aft cabin. If you had to use it, you were down in the aft cabin with no visibility.
The one on my Pearson is about the same, inside the aft cabin with no visual reference. A friend lost steering on his Gulfstar 50 with the same setup. There were four experience sailors on board, none with previous history of motion sickness. Sitting in the aft cabin steering in moderate conditions with a hand bearing compass for course all of them got sick within half hour or less. They got down to doing 15 minute watches until they reached port.

I tested my tiller on the hard with the cable steering and wheel connected and even out of the water I could hardly move the rudder with no resistance other than the cables. I think with the cables released it would be much better but still tough in the water. On my list is to build an extension for the tiller to give more leverage and to allow steering from the cabin top.

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
This just reinforces my low opinion of hydraulic steering, and autopilots.
My setup is like Dockhead's, cable steering with a totally independent hydraulic drive AP. Unless the rudder and/or shaft is damaged I should always have some way to steer.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:13   #28
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Re: Abandoning Ship

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Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
Dockhead... I suggest playing with your E-tiller sometime soon... I have seen so many... including new factory setups that simply would not work in an emergency ... clearance, leverage, and simply not fitting the stock are scenarios I have experienced....
I've played with it, but not underway. It is about 10 feet long and fits fine, with plenty of clearance in every direction, and with welded-on loops for lashing to leewards and other rope operations. The boat was designed by Bill Dixon, who was famously obsessed with such details. I recently had the emergency tiller sandblasted and repainted, as it was getting a bit rusty. My boat is a center cockpit, so it fits easily through a hole in the lazarette hatch, and you stand on the afterdeck and steer like the Ancient Mariner, is the idea I guess

What is needed is to try it at sea and in a bit of weather. Note to self.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:24   #29
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Re: Abandoning Ship

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Any emergency tiller is better than no steering.

None of them are long enough. Need to lash fender boards or boat hooks to it to get the necessary leverage.

Anybody practice with their emergency tillers? Me neither. Something worth doing, I think.
Yeah, good point. Last time I decided to try one, the deck plate was so frozen in I couldnt get it off! Eventually had to drill out the screws and replace ... then I put lanolin on the threads! Come to think of it... I never ended up trying the tiller!
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:54   #30
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Re: Abandoning Ship

Maybe the vision of say 70 days' drift combined with the age/condition of the crew led them to take this particular decision? Their craft did not seem sinking, much as it was temporarily not under control.

People who have radios / emails / EPIRBS / liferafts will tend to make decisions that involve such items. Perhaps sometimes such decisions seem less than optimal.

Not clear why they poured more oil into a system that had an obvious leak.

Very glad to know they are fine.

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