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Old 14-11-2010, 18:45   #31
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rudder does make a difference in a tight place. we lost rudder integrity 290 miles from home. is a bit different from losing the entire spade into the sea, which is entirely possible with a spade rudder. or any rudder , for that matter.
boat is controllable by jib manipulation--use jib to point your boat and steer it-- works. take a minuet to get used to -- but is doable. i am still learning that....
That's particularly difficult to pull off on a fin keel boat - the boat will tend to pivot about the keel rather than head off in any one direction; at least that has been my experience. If you have something in back to provide directional stability then steering by sail is an option. If you have no directional stability then you need to establish that first, and then commence to control direction by sail trim.

I do carry a complete spare rudder for the boat (a requirement from the SSS TransPac races), and did use the spare rudder to sail the last 500 miles into Hawaii when the rudder broke off during a race. Oddly enough the rudder did not in fact leave the boat, such that the spare rudder was having to fight the turning moment of the failed main rudder while under way.

An emergency rudder is not particularly difficult to build, though it is time consuming and can be expensive depending upon materials used in construction. The most difficult thing is to figure out where to stow the darned thing.
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Old 14-11-2010, 18:45   #32
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we should be clear on two things, at this point.

1.) those of us with with spade rudders will be more disabled by the loss of a rudder than those of us with full keels. It becomes more important for boats with spade rudders to have a back-up contingency for losing a rudder. (In my opinion, further, this plan should be to take steps more concrete than trailing a bucket.)

2.) a Pan Pan broadcast indicates a state of urgency. It does not serve as an immediate request for assistance, such as a Mayday would indicate. A Pan Pan is issued when there is no immediate danger to life or the viability of the vessel. In essence, it's an indication that a safety problem exists where a Mayday could be forthcoming should the problem not be resolved.

I have two opinions corresponding to the above:

1.) If you have a spade rudder and intend to make an offshore passage, you should have a contingency for the loss of a rudder. And you should have the equipment aboard to carry out this contingency in adverse conditions.

2.) Regardless of the type of boat, the loss of a rudder offshore could merit an Pan Pan broadcast.
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Old 14-11-2010, 18:59   #33
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oz-- you are correct-- waay toomany donot step up into the liferaft and their boat is found by someone else and salvaged or what ever happens to them.
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Old 14-11-2010, 19:45   #34
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[...] the failure on ours was that the internal steel skeleton of the rudder parted from the post and it's just as possible for that to happen on your boat too!
A relatively simple way to prepare for this kind of failure is to drill a hole near the aft edge of the rudder and reinforce it with a piece of bronze or stainless pipe. The hole can then be filled with foam (to maintain the laminar flow around the rudder). If the rudder should come lose from the shaft, you can punch through the foam with a screwdriver and feed and secure a rope through the hole. The rope can then be used to control the rudder.
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Old 14-11-2010, 19:50   #35
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youroldnemesis--is exactly what happened on the boat i cruised last yar in gulf.. was able to get home-- without realizing..we had damaged it in a surf line kind of grounding situation----handled a bit weird after the grounding--- -
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Old 14-11-2010, 20:04   #36
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we should be clear on two things, at this point.

1.) those of us with with spade rudders will be more disabled by the loss of a rudder than those of us with full keels. It becomes more important for boats with spade rudders to have a back-up contingency for losing a rudder. (In my opinion, further, this plan should be to take steps more concrete than trailing a bucket.)

2.) a Pan Pan broadcast indicates a state of urgency. It does not serve as an immediate request for assistance, such as a Mayday would indicate. A Pan Pan is issued when there is no immediate danger to life or the viability of the vessel. In essence, it's an indication that a safety problem exists where a Mayday could be forthcoming should the problem not be resolved.

I have two opinions corresponding to the above:

1.) If you have a spade rudder and intend to make an offshore passage, you should have a contingency for the loss of a rudder. And you should have the equipment aboard to carry out this contingency in adverse conditions.

2.) Regardless of the type of boat, the loss of a rudder offshore could merit an Pan Pan broadcast.
Hear, hear
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Old 15-11-2010, 19:30   #37
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A relatively simple way to prepare for this kind of failure is to drill a hole near the aft edge of the rudder and reinforce it with a piece of bronze or stainless pipe. The hole can then be filled with foam (to maintain the laminar flow around the rudder). If the rudder should come lose from the shaft, you can punch through the foam with a screwdriver and feed and secure a rope through the hole. The rope can then be used to control the rudder.
That is a really clever idea

Cheers
Oz
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Old 15-11-2010, 19:48   #38
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That is a really clever idea

Cheers
Oz
Yes, but not mine. I got it from Bill Seifert's book Offshore Sailing. It's a treasure trove of clever ideas for anyone contemplating an offshore passage. I highly recommend it.
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Old 16-11-2010, 01:21   #39
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youroldnemesis--is exactly what happened on the boat i cruised last yar in gulf.. was able to get home-- without realizing..we had damaged it in a surf line kind of grounding situation----handled a bit weird after the grounding--- -

It would not be possible to sail this boat anywhere without realizing the rudder had failed. As soon as it went, the boat started turning in circles with absolutely no response to the turning of the wheel.
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Old 16-11-2010, 01:27   #40
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A relatively simple way to prepare for this kind of failure is to drill a hole near the aft edge of the rudder and reinforce it with a piece of bronze or stainless pipe. The hole can then be filled with foam (to maintain the laminar flow around the rudder). If the rudder should come lose from the shaft, you can punch through the foam with a screwdriver and feed and secure a rope through the hole. The rope can then be used to control the rudder.

It's a nice idea, but we jerry (sp?) rigged the same thing at the time. We found:
  1. A huge amount of force was required to move the rudder using the lines attached to its trailing edge - so we had to put the lines around the winches.
  2. Once on the lines were on the winches, we only needed to tighten the port line and ease the starboard line by about an inch to make the boat turn through about 45 degrees.
Basically the boat would not hold a straight course without lots of rudder adjustment under normal circumstances. The rig above meant that we needed one man watching the compass and one man on each winch responding to his instructions at all times. We probably COULD have limped for a couple of weeks to port meandering across the ocean, but the offer of a tow was very attractive!

Perhaps if we had rigged something for some more directional stability as well it might have worked better...
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Old 16-11-2010, 06:27   #41
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After reading the wise posts in this thread I am reluctent to showcase my lost the rudder story. But in order to illustrate just how wise the other posters in this thread are.......
Many years ago after a divorce I found myself in possesion of 2 things, an aging C&C 25 and a profession that allowed me to work almost anywhere. I accepted a job in a small town on the southern Oregon Coast and thought well I'll just sail there its only about 400 miles away and I'll live on the boat until I can afford something better. It was my first offshore solo voyage and I would have to take off my shoes to count the number of mistakes I made. It was July, a time that generally means sunny days and warm weather in the Pacific NW. It was indeed sunny offshore, sunny and 45 degrees with the wind blowing 20-30 knots and 10 ft swells. I naively thought I would be better off going 40-50 miles offshore which would be outside the coastal shipping lanes. After crossing the Columbia river bar I hunkered down under storm jib and a deeply reefed main and though cold and at times terrified I was generally thrilled to be in my own boat surfing my way south. Around midnite the tillerpilot started beeping continuously and I broached in the next wave. Holding a flashlight in my teeth I peered over the transom to discover the rudder (mahogany) sheared at the waterline. At this point I suppose I could have thought calmly and fashioned a makeshift rudder and soldiered on like a sailing stud, but I was cold, tired and wet. So I dropped the remaining scrap of sail, started the outboard and turned east towards the out of sight coast. After several hours of feathering the throttle as the prop cavitated on every wave and making little progress I started feeling very alone and decided to call the CG so someone knew I was out there. I had no intent to be "rescued" I just wanted the reassurance that if worse came to worst I wouldn't go quietly into the night with no one knowing. Professionals that they are they calmly asked about my situation (how big did you say your boat is?) and the state of everyone on board (only you?).I assured them that I was not in immediate danger and was making my way slowly, very slowly, towards the coast. The operator asked me to stand by and then came back on to state " we need the training, would it be OK if we came out and towed you in?" Wondering how long my fuel would last and unprepared for making port on this stretch of coast I quickly said sure! 3 hours later a motor lifeboat appeared. I was maliciously delighted to see half their crew chumming over the aft rail. 4 more hours under tow saw us crossing a breaking bar and tied up to their dock. They were thoroughly professional and courteous with nary a hint of paying for their service or wasting the taxpayers money. A few days later a new fibreglass rudder in place I continued on chagrined but a little wiser.
Lessons learned? Many, foremost that I could do it and loved it, but I really ought to have checked the 20 year old wood rudder for rot and had a contingency plan in place!
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Old 16-11-2010, 18:14   #42
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It's a nice idea, but we jerry (sp?) rigged the same thing at the time. We found:
  1. A huge amount of force was required to move the rudder using the lines attached to its trailing edge - so we had to put the lines around the winches.
  2. Once on the lines were on the winches, we only needed to tighten the port line and ease the starboard line by about an inch to make the boat turn through about 45 degrees.
Basically the boat would not hold a straight course without lots of rudder adjustment under normal circumstances. The rig above meant that we needed one man watching the compass and one man on each winch responding to his instructions at all times. We probably COULD have limped for a couple of weeks to port meandering across the ocean, but the offer of a tow was very attractive!

Perhaps if we had rigged something for some more directional stability as well it might have worked better...
It's always good to hear from someone with real-life experience. Just curious--what kind boat were you on? Also, I imagine you had to wait for a relatively calm spell to set it up?
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Old 17-11-2010, 04:09   #43
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20yr old 13m Benetau with fin keel and spade rudder (although the rudder was apparently not the original)
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Old 17-11-2010, 06:00   #44
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I have lost rudders twice on catamarans: first, due to the failure of an old part on an old boat; second due to a tree. In the first case the rudder was transome hung, in the other it was a spade, but was in a crash box so sinking was never a risk (the hit was not that serious--only jammed by some twigs between the rudder and hull, easily dug out).

I both cases we disconected the failed rudder and sailed back to the slip without fuss.

Just saying, all cats and some monos carry and installed spare.
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Old 17-11-2010, 06:06   #45
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Having been in a yacht mid English Channel that lost its rudder - we were easily able to coble together an emergency rudder and return through the needles to port. We did not even bother alerting the authorities.

What would I do mid ocean. Cope on my own if at all possible. However, short handed and bad weather might cause a re-think.
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