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Old 12-11-2009, 14:55   #1
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Red face Warning for Fountain Pajot Owners

My husband and I were sailing in our FP Belize, off the coast of TX in about 6 meters of water, wind blowing around 15 knots with 4-6 foot seas when our rudder "cable" snapped. We were attempting to tack for the 3rd time. The first 2 we were using the auto tack and we kept stalling. My husband is new to sailing so I was determined to move the boat with just the wind so we could practice rather than turn on an engine. The 3rd time I turned the wheel by hand and it just kept turning. Realizing the cable had snapped I fired up the engines only to turn in circles. We had no idea where the emergency rudder was on the boat (we bought her in May) so we tied the rudder bar from each engine compartment to the stern cleats. It took us a couple of tries before we got the rudders straight. I was then able to motor us back through the jetty to the marina and into our slip. Once there, we contacted the previous owner to see if he knew where the emergency rudder was. He described it and my husband then knew where it was hidden in the anchor locker. When we tried to open the access plates the were corroded closed. My husband pulled the storage compartment that gives access to the steering "cable" to find that it wasn't a cable at all but a piece of rope the size of my pinky! It was so worn in other spots that when you ran your fingers over it it would shed dust. I'm surprised it hadn't snapped before. We tried to contact FP to see if they had a replacement cable and never received a reply. We went to the hardware store and bought some stainless steel cable and replaced it. I would suggest if you own a Fountain Pajot you check to make sure your rudder cable is actually a cable and not a thin piece of rope. MeckDC
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Old 12-11-2009, 15:01   #2
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Interesting, what did your surveyor say about the steering gear when you bought the boat?
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Old 12-11-2009, 15:06   #3
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I would not attribute such a problem specifically to one boat manufacturer or the other. Everyone needs to periodically inspect their steering gear. If they do not know what to look for then hire a professional. While he is looking at your steering gear get his opinion on the quality of the system and any improvement that might be made.
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Old 12-11-2009, 15:07   #4
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Don't think that FP use "skinny rope" on their boats. Seem to remember it as Spectra.....
Also good idea to know where emergency tiller is prior to setting sail....
Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2009, 15:09   #5
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Okay, that's a whole different "we're idiots" story. We didn't have one. Please don't tell my dad, I'll never live it down. MeckDC
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Old 12-11-2009, 17:55   #6
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Amazing - going out and not having checked such basics. Or I am just out of synch with the times ;-)

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Old 12-11-2009, 18:14   #7
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OK - everyone who's actually RIGGED their emergency tiller(s) raise your hand..... yeah, I thought as much!

And no - I've not (yet) on mine either......
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Old 12-11-2009, 18:22   #8
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Old 12-11-2009, 18:37   #9
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Hey Meck,
Kudos on taking control and overcoming a bad situation. Most people would have called sea tow or coast guard!
Hey barnakiel get a life.
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Old 13-11-2009, 06:20   #10
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One of the things I do before I leave the dock after buying a new to me boat is go over every square inch of it- Really every square inch of it to get to know it-This way there are no surprices! and I do this about 2x a year after the first time!
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Old 13-11-2009, 07:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpj23 View Post
OK - everyone who's actually RIGGED their emergency tiller(s) raise your hand..... yeah, I thought as much!

And no - I've not (yet) on mine either......
Nope. I haven't. But I know where the thingy is and the hole

Nor did my surveyor check the cables (nice wire) to my recolection.....
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Old 13-11-2009, 07:15   #12
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Hindsight is 20-20, but this is one of the reasons I periodically open and lubricate the emergency steering hatch. When I bought the boat, it was seized shut. I suspect that's not uncommon.
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Old 13-11-2009, 07:19   #13
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Sorry about your misfortune but I certainly would not blame the boat for that. Glad you sorted out the issue and made it back to the dock ok.

You might contact the local dealer and ask about the steering gear? Not sure I would trust the cable if the sheaves are designed for and made for fiber, maybe rethink that?

Good luck and enjoy the boat. You'll do fine and learn along the way.
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Old 13-11-2009, 07:20   #14
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You haven't? Tskkk tskk tskk.......

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpj23 View Post
OK - everyone who's actually RIGGED their emergency tiller(s) raise your hand..... yeah, I thought as much!

And no - I've not (yet) on mine either......
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Old 13-11-2009, 07:22   #15
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OK - everyone who's actually RIGGED their emergency tiller(s) raise your hand..... yeah, I thought as much!

And no - I've not (yet) on mine either......
yep. Takes five minutes, at most!
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