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Old 25-05-2010, 14:17   #61
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Banjo, thanks for the post. How many were aboard when that happened?

I think it may be more difficult if the crew is a mom and pop crew, especially if a little older. However, one guy I read about saved his Hunter in the Pacific and got back to safety. He was then towed into a safe harbor and a new rudder was shipped out to him. He was single handing and had some physical difficulties, if I recall correctly. But it was a tough go for him. Another boat did try to help but had to abandon the effort due to deteriorating weather I think.
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Old 25-05-2010, 14:48   #62
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Banjo, thanks for the post. How many were aboard when that happened?

I think it may be more difficult if the crew is a mom and pop crew, especially if a little older. However, one guy I read about saved his Hunter in the Pacific and got back to safety. He was then towed into a safe harbor and a new rudder was shipped out to him. He was single handing and had some physical difficulties, if I recall correctly. But it was a tough go for him. Another boat did try to help but had to abandon the effort due to deteriorating weather I think.

Hallo,

Three of us.
About 25/27 years old. Two of us had sailed many trans -atlantics together. The third guy was at that time a third mate on the world's largest salvage tug. The combined depth of knowledge made a difference.
And we had lots of sea room. Big advantage.

Also, we were all South African. South Africans have a saying, "a boer maak a plan" That is, a farmer makes a plan. We are used to making do with limited resorces. That helps when you go sailing long distances.

You're quite right, mom and pop might find it difficult to do a jury rig.
Jeez, this happened so long ago, I just realised I am now a "pop" too!
That's why I advocate a pre-built emergency rudder with gudgeons and pintles already fitted to the transom.

Regards,
Banjo.
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Old 25-05-2010, 14:57   #63
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They do fall off and it can be very bad:

Sinking of Hanse yacht Megawat

This was a quite new boat, it sank fairly fast, and what's worse the recently serviced liferaft didn't work. In the Irish sea. Fortunately they were sailing in company, or there very likely would have been lives lost.
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Old 25-05-2010, 15:23   #64
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Hopefully the insurance company didn't find that Megawatt was sunk due to "wear and tear/metal fatigue".
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Old 25-05-2010, 15:43   #65
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How do you heave to without the rudder?
The main on the lee and the jib backed (big main, small jib). Long keel, man, long keel and stern hung rudder.

b.
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Old 25-05-2010, 15:53   #66
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If the boats abandoned during the ARC, they presumably abandoned into something - a passing ship? - was there nothing on board the passing ship that they could jury rig with? When I did the ARC there were 240 boats on it, did no-one offer a tow?

All the boats abandoned in the ARC arrive in Barbados about a month later anyway. If you've got the supplies, just sit it out!
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Old 25-05-2010, 16:04   #67
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All the boats abandoned in the ARC arrive in Barbados about a month later anyway. If you've got the supplies, just sit it out!
If you talk the one abandoned last year - rudder failure - then it was not an option. The boat was just off Gran Canaria and the decision to abandon and retrieve her later was the right one. There was some mis-handling of the matters by the local rescue team or the crew or both and the boat got a bit more damaged than necessary in the first rescue (?) attempt, but the decision to abandon was the right one.

The other boat abandoned last year was a different story and I think it was something on with the rigging. If someone knows more than what we can read on the ARC site then I will love to hear the Pelicanīs story.

Cheers,
barnie
LP, where the ARC starts ... ;-)
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Old 25-05-2010, 17:53   #68
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Originally Posted by YourOldNemesis View Post
If the boats abandoned during the ARC, they presumably abandoned into something - a passing ship? - was there nothing on board the passing ship that they could jury rig with? When I did the ARC there were 240 boats on it, did no-one offer a tow?
!
They had another sailboat willing to tow, but discovered that it was almost impossible to tow a boat without a rudder. It would yaw violently from side to side, and chaffe was a huge issue, even when towing at relatively slow speeds with a drogue trying to control the yaw.

I think it's one of those problems that sounds a lot easier to solve when your not mid-ocean. Anyway, they tried it for three days before abandoning at a point where no one had slept in 72 hours and then had exhausted their supply of line due to chaffe.
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Old 25-05-2010, 18:25   #69
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I know three boats with rudder failures--

A skeg mounted steel boat had multiple failures of the shaft where it was welded to a flange, and was (barely) steerable with lines tied to the rudder blade. They made it thousands of miles across the South Pacific, but it was slow and painful with only two on board

A skeg mouinted fiberglass boat had internal failure of the rudder welds so that the rudder turned freely. Again, it was possible to gain limited control of the boat with lines to the rudder blade, and they made 400 miles to American Samoa with a crew of four. The same boat lost its rudder about 800 miles out of the Caribbean, with both the skeg and rudder missing, presumeably due to a collision with something (they didn't feel a thing). This time they only had a crew of two, and after 3 days of trying with various drogues, they abandoned the boat.

Finally, a J-46 lost its spade rudder in about the same spot mid-Atlantic. With a crew of three, they tried for 3 days to save the boat, including a couple of days of towing with a motor yacht, but they were unable to keep it from yawing wildly and chafing the towline, and eventually abandoned the boat.

There are several ARC stories about rudder failure, but the best was a German boat which successfully completed the course, using a combination of drogues and sailplan (two jibs, one on a pole, and furled to balance the boat) to go downwind. They had a crew of at least six.

Bottom line: if an older cruising couple lose their rudder mid-ocean, chances are very good that they will abandon the boat.
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Old 25-05-2010, 22:54   #70
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Good morning,

How's this one.
I came across an elderly Swedish s/hander in Horta sailing a longlkeel sloop of about 10 meters. He had lost his rudder just out of Cape Town.
He was so down and out that despite calling in at some islands along the way, he just carried on, no rudder.
When we spoke to him he had sailed some three or four thousand miles without a rudder. He was planning to carry on like that from Horta , non stop to Sweden.

He said, "no rudder, no problem. Entering harbour, big problem".

He had taken off his boom and placed it in the hole in the cockpit floor where the rudder shaft would have come through. The boom was rigged as a mizzen mast.
He told us "boom, big problem, boom bumps your head. Boom better for mast than boom for boom".

Thw whole missing rudder bussiness was absolutely no issue for him.

Regards,

Banjo.
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Old 26-05-2010, 03:08   #71
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Kids ... Don't try this at home!

About 51 years ago, one beautiful Saturday afternoon, I was out on Lake Ontario sailing solo in a 14' Rhodes Bantam owned by the Rochester Yacht Club. This was completely against the RYC sailing program rules but .... this was also my second season in the RYC summer sailing program (Monday-Friday) .... and I had received my "Skipper" certificate when I was eight years old the previous year ... so I figured .... what the heck? On this particular illegal excursion, I was determined to sail far enough off-shore that I couldn't see land anymore, just to find out what it was like.

About an hour past the sight of land, a summer storm popped up out of nowhere. Afraid that I could possibly lose the boat (and my sailing privileges), I came about and set sail in the direction of land, sailing as fast as the Rhodes Bantam would take me. While hiking over the side, trimming the sails and steering with one foot, a squall hit the boat like a ton of bricks and knocked me .... AND the rudder ... into Lake Ontario. Since I couldn't swim at the time (and still can't), I was fortunate enough to be wearing a life jacket. When I finally surfaced and looked around, the boat was gone. It's a terrible feeling to be all alone with no land in sight, in the middle of a stormy lake .... and realizing that your father is going to kill you if you ever get out of your current situation alive.

About a minute later, the squall passed, and the rudder, with tiller still attached, popped up out of the depths right in front of me. About 40 meters behind me, the Rhodes Bantam had pointed herself into the wind and was waiting .... with her sails flapping as if to say "Come on kid, get on over here and climb back in. It's time for us to go back home."

If the rudder hadn't left the boat the same time I did ..... I'd probably still be doggy paddling my way back to the Rochester Yacht Club .... or worse.
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Old 26-05-2010, 03:28   #72
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They had another sailboat willing to tow, but discovered that it was almost impossible to tow a boat without a rudder. It would yaw violently from side to side, and chaffe was a huge issue, even when towing at relatively slow speeds with a drogue trying to control the yaw.

I think it's one of those problems that sounds a lot easier to solve when your not mid-ocean. Anyway, they tried it for three days before abandoning at a point where no one had slept in 72 hours and then had exhausted their supply of line due to chaffe.

We managed to be towed for 3 days mid-ocean. Fin-keeled boat, total rudder failure. We even had 2 kids on board and carried on with schoolwork! No chafe issues at all. We trailed a spinnaker pole over the back of the transom to keep us straight.
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Old 02-06-2010, 22:46   #73
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Exclamation Rudder problems

I know of two instances when boats lost their rudders. For what it's worth, they were both spade rudders and both boats had been sitting for many years in a marina, with no activity for the rudder. Further, both rudder shafts were made of tubing, NOT solid stainless. The skippers decided to take off, didn't inspect their equipment, and suffered the consequences. Crevice corrosion had seriously weakened the tubing right where it was hiding in the shaft log and, under stress, it parted.

Of related interest is a problem we experienced on our own boat, an Aloha 34' sloop. We were in Mexico, about to make a return voyage to the States. I spent an afternoon diving on the bottom to clean it. I ALWAYS dove and cleaned our boat bottom because I wanted to see first-hand if there were any problems developing, and I've never trusted a hired worker to give this matter enough attention.

While cleaning the rudder (skeg-mounted, not spade), I noticed a slight side-to-side movement, even though the helm was locked. We're talking not more than perhaps 1/8" sideways play. I decided I needn't worry about it, but it stuck in my mind.

We managed to sail back to the States with no problem. Shortly after we got back, we hauled the boat and I removed the rudder. The yard crew cut into it to see if there was a problem. There was! The rudder was fixed to the shaft by three 1/4" SS rods protruding at a 90-degree angle to the shaft into the body of the rudder. ALL three shafts were corroded and completely broken right where they attached to the shaft. The only thing keeping the rudder from revolving around the shaft (and thereby becoming useless) was the fiberglass irregularities around the shaft.

We separated the rudder from the shaft and the yard welder very expertly welded two 1'x4" 1/4" SS plates to the shaft and we had the rudder re-fiberglassed to the shaft/plates. Be aware that the welding job required great expertise, to attach those plates to the shaft without warping the shaft due to the heat. We were lucky to hire a welder who really knew what he was doing. We haven't had any problems since.

This was the only design fault I've ever found in our Aloha, which is an exceptionally sound boat. 1/4" rods seemed like severe underkill for the application. However, if I wasn't in the habit of personally cleaning our boat bottom and doing a close inspection of everything, our story could very well have had a much different--and possibly tragic--outcome.
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:38   #74
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The Viking long boats sailed quite well with neither rudder nor deep keel or any kind. They used steering boards, like many ships did before the rudder was invented. So to say a modern sailboat can't even be towed without a rudder....yes and no, I'd bet that depends on whether anyone has rigged any stabilizer to it--particularly, just a steering board.

It used to be common advice to offshore sailors that they plan ahead, rig and practice, for steering failure. If nothing else, select a tabletop or door or settee board and an appropriate pole, rig them with holes and hardware as needed while still at dock, and then at least know ahead of time that "this is what we do when we lose the rudder" with all the pieces at hand and in place.

Kinda like buying the fire extinguishers and life jackets before you leave port.

" For what it's worth, they were both spade rudders and both boats had been sitting for many years in a marina, with no activity for the rudder. " That certainly could be a deceptive picture. A couple of years ago we noticed a faint hairline crack "Ah, that's just in the paint" on the rudder and I drilled a 1/4" hole down low to see if anything would weep out. Weep? More like still weeping after A WEEK. The problem is that the foam used to fill most rudders absorbs water! Once it gets wet, it is worse than a shag rug, the damn stuff just doesn't dry out. So if the rudder is waterlogged when a boat is hauled, and there are no drain holes (duh?!) in it, the rudder will stay wet ALL WINTER IN THE YARD. And every time it rains, if more water can trickle down, or into, the rudder post...it stays nicely saturated, not draining while on the hard.
That's the perfect situation for crevice corrosion, the metal is sitting is unoxygenated still water.
In the 40's or 50's most of America was sold on stainless steel as the perfect kitchen knife because it never got rusty or needed sharpening. Ahuh, sure, that's why most of us have gone back to carbon steel now. Same thing with rudder posts, I'd suggest that in another 25 years, as word of stainless failures keeps spreading, a stainless rudder post will be seen as the sign of a cheap boat. (Of course it would be nice if carbon fiber and graphite stopped giving people sudden surprises by then, also.<G>)
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