Originally Posted by Jammer Six
The one time we lost
a rudder, using the sails
didn't work. It's one of those things that works well on paper, not so much under fire.
Exactly. It pays not to wait until it happens before carrying out trials, considering what other people have tried and described, etc etc.... because unless you've already done the groundwork, it's not likely that your attempts will "work under fire".
I don't think you're saying it won't ever work, but that you couldn't get it to work.
Unless you tried dozens of different ideas, combining some or all of the resources available, including sails, preventers, poles, engine if available, drags or drogues, deploying sails to windward which would normally be to leeward, and even direction of travel .... you can't say it won't work.
Naturally, you can't try all the possibilities "under fire"
There's a famous case of a Transpac boat called "Mir" (no relation to the ill-fated space station of the same name), which crossed the finish line backwards, having reset the spinnaker
from the mizzen mast
after losing the mainmast. They abandoned their preconceptions in order to resume taking charge of their vessel.
They didn't have to try everything under fire, given that many of them had a long history
of "trying stuff", so their instincts and intuitions as to what would work were pre-honed.
It's hard to put ideas on a lost rudder scenario into practice failing access to a similar boat with a removable rudder, but leaving the helm
free will give some crude approximation. (It would pay to have someone ready to grab it if you start making sternway - or if you're alone, you could lash it with a nylon line and some slack).
- - - - - -
Lessons learned on one boat can be applied on different sized boats as long as they share characteristics which relate to the lesson.
I first learned the extent of this when circumstances meant that I had to be left in charge of a 78' racing sloop
in the Southern Ocean in a bit of weather
, and I had to heave it to, alone on deck
Luckily it was a boat I'd previously sailed on, in a variety of conditions, for thousands of miles, and I'd noticed that it handled in many ways rather like the 20' boat I'd cut my teeth on. For instance the timing required to 'keep the boat under the mast' when sailing downwind with too much sail up was remarkably similar. One reason was that both boats used an oversize, overdepth rudder to compensate for an afterbody which was more finely drawn than was fashionable.
I'd been in a couple of situations previously where we had to heave this particular boat to, but we'd always done this bare-headed, under trisail (which is what maxi-racer skippers tended to prefer) - and with about a dozen strong guys.
In this instance, we had no ability to set any sort of sail aft of the mast
. Armed only with experience gained from jib-only heaving-to on the wee boat, I was able to preset helm angles, jib area and angle, etc, in such a way that the manoeuvre achieved the desired attitude first try, without me having to wear a trench between the winches and the helm.
So if the only person you know with a boat with a removable rudder has a much smaller (or bigger) boat, it's not safe to assume you can't learn valuable lessons about handling a boat whose rudder is gone.