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Old 11-03-2013, 15:23   #61
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Not sure what your experience level is with towing, but I worked around it a bit and have my uscg assistance towing endorsement in addition to my 100 ton license.

Rigging a tow in those conditions would have gotten someone killed, or an arm ripped off. If the guys couldn't make ground tackle work trust me there's no way in hell they would have managed to secure a proper tow arrangement.
Conditions like that are pretty frequent further up the coast, and the boat and crew probably weighed less than 5,000 pounds total. Piece of cake to get a towing line and bridle rigged, but the boat would slew around without a rudder, requiring a truck tire or other drogue at the stern to straighten it out. The problem with a CG or commercial tow was getting a boat there in time, but there were plenty of race boats in the vicinity when they lost the rudder.
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Old 11-03-2013, 18:22   #62
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pirate Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

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Conditions like that are pretty frequent further up the coast, and the boat and crew probably weighed less than 5,000 pounds total. Piece of cake to get a towing line and bridle rigged, but the boat would slew around without a rudder, requiring a truck tire or other drogue at the stern to straighten it out. The problem with a CG or commercial tow was getting a boat there in time, but there were plenty of race boats in the vicinity when they lost the rudder.

Once the boat is broken, crew not needed.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:16   #63
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

the other problem with a commercial tow is the situation and circumstances--isnt gonna happen in those winds and seas.
was a rough lee shore with rocks. and WIND and seas.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:35   #64
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

I agree with the others about towing a large bucket or some other object to create enough drag to counter the sails, even a swamped dinghy. Perhaps the you would need to drop the main so only the jib would pull forward. You would need to rig a bridal so you can adjust the tension from port to starboard as needed.
In this situation, the captain will have precious little time to react and if the anchor is not up for the task or the depth too great, then there's only a few options.
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Old 12-03-2013, 11:38   #65
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

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In this particular case, their track before the rudder broke was outside most of the other racers. They had about 3 miles and an hour and a half before they hit the surf.



1) issued a pan pan / pon pon (see recent thread )......but only at that point because so close to shore........and also (seperately) called for a tow.
2) as sails already up! I would try sailing her without the rudder! - likely that would have failed!
3) started the engine to see if it helped to steer with the sails, or alone (and even backwards!).....no expectation of great success. Not after a destination am after sea room.
4) dropped the anchor........short of chain / anchor warp? plenty of sheets to use, probably come up with 500 foot + at a push .

5) I would have taken up offers for assistance from other boats (racers) to at least evacuate un-needed crew (might only be me left onboard!), if not possible to do by coming alongside then via the liferaft......if not possible then I would have called in the rescue services (over here they would not be able to force a total evacuation (no guns ) - if in the US I would have refused to leave once the crew had gone and worried about the paperwork if I later made it ashore!).

6) depending on arrival time for the tow home, if possible I would have tried for another boat to give me a tow a bit more offshore - or ask them to standby should the boat start dragging ashore (or anchor lets go!)........obviously a great risk that I jump overboard late on and can't be rescued. but sh#t happens .

7) composed a post for CF.........
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:16   #66
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

Sailing without a rudder and using jury rigged spinnaker pole for better tracking:



More info on sailing without a rudder:

http://www.hshyachts.com/html/steeri...ut_a_rudd.html
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:28   #67
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

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the other problem with a commercial tow is the situation and circumstances--isnt gonna happen in those winds and seas.
was a rough lee shore with rocks. and WIND and seas.
I don't think we have reliable and detailed information to be dissecting this in any way which is meaningful to the SPECIFIC instance.

Such discussions, raising hypothetical points, still have value, but I think we need to be clear we're in that territory: we're not crunching facts but fantasies.

For instance - 10 knots (per USCG) is not what most would call wind in capital letters, in this context.

Other instances of conflicting claims:

Several posts have talked about insufficient time, but further up this thread we read that the boat was further offshore than much of the fleet, that those on board did not consider assistance was required from the fleet or from the USCG, and that one and a half hours elapsed from the loss of steering to the grounding which resulted in loss of the vessel.

At least one report indicates that the loss of steering was not the "proximate cause" of the loss: it has been claimed that those on board had the boat under control and were making their way to safety without the rudder, using the sails, but that a further chain of as-yet unreported circumstances unfolded, leading to the loss.
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:36   #68
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

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I don't think we have reliable and detailed information to be dissecting this in any way which is meaningful to the SPECIFIC instance.
Exactly! It is frustrating that better reporting doesn't seem to be coming out either. Eventually, I'm sure there will be some sort of USSailing investigation and report too.
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Old 12-03-2013, 13:30   #69
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

But in answer to the OP's orginal question "what would or could you do if you lost a rudder in breezy conditions with confused seas and a rocky, surfbound coast to leeward?"

sailing the boat out rudderless would be the quickiest method to get away (from the leeshore) and using the spinnaker pole as a jury rigged rudder would make things go even better.
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:28   #70
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

They had a reasonably powerful engine, and moderate winds. They were being blown aground toward a lee shore without a rudder. What to do?

Try this on your own boat sometime with a moderate amount of wind that isn't so extreme you can't motor into it:

1. Power up the engine.
2. Take in the foresail.
3. Sheet the main tight so it has minimum draft. Tighten up the vang, the outhaul, the halyard and any other control you have to reduce the mainsail draft (camber), i.e., flatten the main as much as possible.
4. Set the traveler amidships so the boom is centered.
5. Release the tiller/wheel to simulate a rudder failure.

In that configuration the mainsail becomes a big vertical stabilizer just like on the tail of an airplane. As long as you have even a little wind she'll motor straight upwind. You can now use the traveler to achieve a small amount of heading adjustment. My boat, with its modified full keel, can be steered +/- 20 degrees of either side of directly upwind using the traveler for heading adjustment.

My autopilot recently failed while I was single handed and motoring upwind. I had 12 hours of hand steering to look forward to - until I used that configuration. I motored for 12 hours upwind with the tiller floating free and never touched it.

Most boats with a fin keel will behave similarly, except that they will oscillate from side to side upwind, and you will have to stay busy on the traveler to hold a constant upwind heading. Or, just accept the oscillations, they won't be extreme.

Even if the rudder is stuck somewhat to one side, the mainsail will override it in a strong wind. Try it: swing the rudder and give the boat a little time to settle. See how it behaves. It's good to know this trick in case you ever do find yourself rudderless with a lee shore looming up on you.
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Old 21-10-2013, 19:45   #71
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

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Originally Posted by Cpt Pat View Post
They had a reasonably powerful engine, and moderate winds. They were being blown aground toward a lee shore without a rudder. What to do?

Try this on your own boat sometime with a moderate amount of wind:

1. Power up the engine.
2. Take in the foresail.
3. Sheet the main tight so it has minimum draft. Tighten up the vang, the outhaul, the halyard and any other control you have to reduce the mainsail draft (camber), i.e., flatten the main as much as possible.
4. Set the traveler amidships so the boom is centered.
5. Release the tiller/wheel to simulate a rudder failure.

In that configuration the mainsail becomes a big vertical stabilizer just like on the tail of an airplane. As long as you have even a little wind she'll motor straight upwind. You can now use the traveler to achieve a small amount of heading adjustment. My boat, with its modified full keel, can be steered +/- 20 degrees of either side of directly upwind using the traveler for heading adjustment.

My autopilot recently failed while I was single handed and motoring upwind. I had 12 hours of hand steering to look forward to - until I used that configuration. I motored for 12 hours upwind with the tiller floating free and never touched it.

Most boats with a fin keel will behave similarly, except that they will oscillate from side to side upwind, and you will have to stay busy on the traveler to hold a constant upwind heading. Or, just accept the oscillations, they won't be extreme.

Even if the rudder is stuck somewhat to one side, the mainsail will override it in a strong wind. Try it: swing the rudder and give the boat a little time to settle. See how it behaves. It's good to know this trick in case you ever do find yourself rudderless with a lee shore looming up on you.
I like it.
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Old 21-10-2013, 20:12   #72
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

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Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
I sailed back from the Bahamas once with a crewmember who had tens of thousands of miles on race boats. The first night we anchored, he wanted to watch, because he had never done it before.
hahaha, had that happen to a friend of mine sort of. the guy couldn't navigate, wouldn't cook and wouldn't stand watch. had a nice resume though. sometimes you don't know what you're getting into until you're getting into it.
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Old 21-10-2013, 21:22   #73
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.”
― William G.T. Shedd

These men were expert, trained athletes competing at a high level. The decision to not abandon the boat when the CG offered was a tragic misjudgment. The adage to step up into a liferaft is because it is safer to be in a sinking boat than a liferaft. A CG boat is certainly safer than either.

I think it's inappropriate to suggest that they didn't take the CG offer because the boat would be lost. Who would trade a life for a boat (and an insured boat at that)?

But I would have waved the CG off too.
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Old 22-10-2013, 09:01   #74
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt Pat View Post
They had a reasonably powerful engine, and moderate winds. They were being blown aground toward a lee shore without a rudder. What to do?

Try this on your own boat sometime with a moderate amount of wind that isn't so extreme you can't motor into it:

1. Power up the engine.
2. Take in the foresail.
3. Sheet the main tight so it has minimum draft. Tighten up the vang, the outhaul, the halyard and any other control you have to reduce the mainsail draft (camber), i.e., flatten the main as much as possible.
4. Set the traveler amidships so the boom is centered.
5. Release the tiller/wheel to simulate a rudder failure.

In that configuration the mainsail becomes a big vertical stabilizer just like on the tail of an airplane. As long as you have even a little wind she'll motor straight upwind. You can now use the traveler to achieve a small amount of heading adjustment. My boat, with its modified full keel, can be steered +/- 20 degrees of either side of directly upwind using the traveler for heading adjustment.

My autopilot recently failed while I was single handed and motoring upwind. I had 12 hours of hand steering to look forward to - until I used that configuration. I motored for 12 hours upwind with the tiller floating free and never touched it.

Most boats with a fin keel will behave similarly, except that they will oscillate from side to side upwind, and you will have to stay busy on the traveler to hold a constant upwind heading. Or, just accept the oscillations, they won't be extreme.

Even if the rudder is stuck somewhat to one side, the mainsail will override it in a strong wind. Try it: swing the rudder and give the boat a little time to settle. See how it behaves. It's good to know this trick in case you ever do find yourself rudderless with a lee shore looming up on you.
A freely swinging rudder is NOT the same as no rudder at all. Your suggested experiment is seriously flawed as a simulation of rudder loss.

JIm
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Old 22-10-2013, 09:10   #75
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Re: Rudder fails near a rocky island: What do you do?

we managed 290 miles with a floppy rudder...was only a slight problem...not bad. assisted by autohelm..was gulf of mexico
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