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Old 26-03-2010, 13:33   #16
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Duuuuuuuuuuuude!!!!!!!!!
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Old 26-03-2010, 16:13   #17
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I lost my rudder last summer on the maiden cruise. Had a good wind and it just fell off, turns out the someone had failed to tighten up the bolts after a repair on the rudder ( someone was me ) I was able to get the anchor out and slow the boat down but still ended up laying her over on the rocks, no real damage just some scratches. I called a friend with a power boat and he pull me back out into deeper water and towed me to tht dock and we loaded her back on the trailer. Lions Pride is a 26 ft. Chrysler sail boat.
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Old 26-03-2010, 16:29   #18
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Duuuuuuuuuuuude!!!!!!!!!
You might get a more serious discourse if you checked the attitude
Many of the most respected sailors are members of this forum and the available knowledge base is immense.
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Old 26-03-2010, 16:43   #19
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You might get a more serious discourse if you checked the attitude
Many of the most respected sailors are members of this forum and the available knowledge base is immense.
DUUUUUUUUUUDE!!!!!!!!????
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Old 26-03-2010, 17:02   #20
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Old 26-03-2010, 17:04   #21
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We were sailing off the pacific coast of Mexico around 2004, when a boat lost its spade rudder while trying to cross the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas. I can't recall the name of the boat but they had just had repairs done in Porta Varita. The rudder just fell off about 600 miles offshore, rudder post and all. They made it back with the help of the Mexican Navy. The boat was a light racing boat not designed for offshore. Someone said it had an aluminum rudder post, but I can't believe that.
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Old 26-03-2010, 17:26   #22
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Lost two from my first sailboat. Had a swing keel that would kick up and then promptly rudder would snap off. I fixed as original 1st time then designed kick up rudder hung off stern. 2nd time holed boat at rudder pocket and had to bail for 10 miles while motoring back steering with outboard.
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Old 26-03-2010, 17:49   #23
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Great stories and good info. It scares me that they can indeed actually fall out! Does anyone know if there are some signs to look for when inspecting a rubber, particularly while its still in the water?
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Old 26-03-2010, 18:32   #24
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Great stories and good info. It scares me that they can indeed actually fall out! Does anyone know if there are some signs to look for when inspecting a rubber, particularly while its still in the water?
I remember my Father once telling me a story about his rubber falling off. He was on a cruise with my Mother, and apparently things didnít go as planned. They tried to correct the problem, but couldn't agree on how best to handle it. Mind you this was some nine months before I was born, but my Dad had nightmares for years about that night, and they didn't actually stop until I moved out at eighteen. You should definitely inspect it before putting it in. Make sure itís fully seated, and tight. If it wiggles at all, you should see a professional
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Old 26-03-2010, 18:36   #25
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Old 26-03-2010, 19:21   #26
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dn, I know two guys who had the rudder fall off. One well offshore on a Halifax race, the other more recently on a Beneteau in the islands. The former had a long slow ride home with a DNF in a big race, the latter had a much easier time.

Both respected name brand boats with stainless steel rudder posts/tubes and no known abuse.

But yes, absolutely it happens. Rudders are rarely inspected, rarely respected, and the signs of impending failures can be as tiny as a hairline crack in the crack, or one weephole dripping when you haul. Rudder failure can take years and years after it gets started, but if you really don't want to experience it, you need to eyeball the rudder very carefully, and then be prepared to spend a lot of time and money if there's any hint of a problem.
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Old 26-03-2010, 19:59   #27
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I have very limited experience but I do know that it is more common than loosing a mask. For the ARC Rally it is required to have a spare rudder.
Having a spare rudder was also stressed at the Safety at Sea meeting in Annapolis last year.
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Old 26-03-2010, 20:10   #28
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I remember my Father once telling me a story about his rubber falling off. He was on a cruise with my Mother, and apparently things didnít go as planned. They tried to correct the problem, but couldn't agree on how best to handle it. Mind you this was some nine months before I was born, but my Dad had nightmares for years about that night, and they didn't actually stop until I moved out at eighteen. You should definitely inspect it before putting it in. Make sure itís fully seated, and tight. If it wiggles at all, you should see a professional
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Old 26-03-2010, 21:08   #29
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Now for a serious response to the OP. As you have already gathered, people have lost rudders. Spade rudders are especially vulnerable, since it is only the attachment points on the rudder post that keeps it properly located. These can be subject to design flaws as well as lack of proper inspection/maintenance.

There were a series of J Boats that lost rudders. The design was such that the boats took on lots of water, fast, and sank. One of these happened to my brother in law, only a few hours after getting back from a race between Mobile and Mexico. Fortunately, the boat sank at the slip rather than out in the open ocean! But, I understand that some people lost their boats while sailing.

There were a couple of St. Francis cats (from the mid-90's) that lost a rudder from an installation design flaw, which was soon corrected. Fortunately, the design was such that the boats didn't take on much water and they were fine, but they still lost a rudder, which is not a trivial matter.

Lots of people have had rudders bent and damaged from impacts. That happened to me when we hit a submerged log on the Cape Fear river. A hassle, to be sure, and expensive, but just an accident.

As Hellosailor indicated, you might be able to detect early problems by giving your rudder a close inspection every haul out. Weeping, hairline cracks, etc. Also, closely inspect the bearings and liners for the rudder post, as well as the rudder arm, control cables, etc. Some boats use steel cables, some Spectra, some hydraulic. You need to know your system and know the signs of wear and failure points.

Hope this helps.

IDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!?????
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Old 26-03-2010, 21:16   #30
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dneillo,
Your question was do they ever fall of? the answer is yes, rudders fall off, and yes it is very bad.
The warning signs? lots of play in the steering, poor maintenance, corrosion around the tiller head, the list goes on and on. It is unusual for anything but a spade rudder to fall of (unless you are on the rocks),
Bottom line - No rudder boot or skeg means there is a risk of loosing the rudder. Are you looking for a boat? do you own a boat with a spade rudder? If you have a rudder boot or a skeg then you are ok. The skeg pintles and gudgeon needs close inspection, when those fail you don't usually lose the rudder but you can still lose steering.
My friend lost their rudder in the gulf of mexico. Before they left (after pestering her to take a back-up rudder) I helped fashion pintles and gudgeons on their head door for just such emergency. When the rudder fell off, they grabbed the head door and hung it off the stern and sailed it 300 miles into Isla Mujeras.
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