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Old 17-11-2010, 06:13   #46
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I lost my rudder on a Jeanneau 43DS at sea off the BVI. The solid steel shaft sheared off at the hull join so there was nothing left. In real-life in medium seas and wind (6 foot swell, 15+ knots) the reality is that a modern light fin-keeled boat is not steerable. The dynamically changing forces at sea make the simple solutions such as trying to balance the sails, trailing warps, using main engine for propulsion and dinghy for steering all non-functional.

In my case I had a choice between lashing an inner door to a pole and making and attempting an old-fashioned larboard steering or using the radio to arrange for a tow back to the BVI. I felt the latter was better and got a tow after waiting a day at sea.
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Old 17-11-2010, 06:42   #47
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my experience is limited to fin keel, firstly the spinaker pole idea has a fundemental flaw it needs a pole!. Secondly as posters had stated , with a spade rudder failure you loose more then just the steering piece. from experiements we tried the pole and plywwod idea simply doesnt work. Neither does drogues.

The fact is that any one with a spade rudder ( which I like) needs an alternative rudder. We designed an built one out of mild steel galvanised. It never got used in anger though.

Dave
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Old 17-11-2010, 06:44   #48
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Sadly, there are many other reported cases of people who abandon too early. Only to have thier boat washed up on some shore weeks/months later.
I am very very relucant to critize people who abandon boats, Ordinary people get frigthened and in many cases communications with rescue services end up with the service requesting to take you off and you "give" in, often theres huge pressure from other crew who simply "want out". Its ( fingers crossed ) never happend to me but it has happened to friends of mine.
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Old 17-11-2010, 06:55   #49
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I can vouch for at least two of the above posts and always carry two simple drogues.

1. Pole / U bolts / board emergency set up may be most common, but when called into practice you'll find the boat increadibly hard to control. Tried this on both 30 foot JOG and a 50 footer in a real situation. Equally useless.

2. A drogue (or even two drogues) deployed on a continuous line from the ends of a pole lashed across the cockpit works. Admittedly that was only in a trial scenario with the genuine rudder still there helping with directional stability, but adjusting the drogue positions gave required steerage on all points of sail.

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Old 17-11-2010, 07:05   #50
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I lost steerage on my Corribee 21 in the English Channel on my 1st attempt to get to Portugal last June... it was past 1am in choppy seas just as I was entering the Eastbound shipping lane... I'd put my helm over to take an extra large quartering wave and when I went to centre-opposite lock it it refused to budge... the tiller was locked to Stbd and no amount of wiggling back and forth with the little play left could free it... my course quickly swung Northerly as the wind pushed me round...
I furled my jib to 50% and hove to then checked the course... with the wind and sea's I found I was pushing NE towards the Isle of Wight 60 odd miles away.
I then looked aft where a large motor vessel was bearing down on me about 1 1/2 miles distant so I gave them a shout on my VHF on 16.... after a couple of tries I got a response in very Asian English asking what I wanted...
I stated that I'd lost steerage way and asked if he could put out a vessel not under command alert out to shipping following behind... and there was quite a bit.
This led to him asking where I was... so I stated I was now about a mile dead ahead and could he please alter to stbd 5deg... I then found out they could not see me on radar... but thankfully their heading altered to put me fine on their port bow and speed dropped.
We then talked some more and I told them I was in no danger except from shipping as I could not maneuver but in current conditions I was able to maintain a NE heading at 1 1/2kts..... the radio operator seemed insistent that I needed help so I told him in a light hearted fashion that his radio message could save my life... I then thanked him and signed off.
1 hour later I was down below getting a coffee when a ships siren had me crashing my head against the cabintop.... I looked out of the hatch to see a ships bow looming over my stern..... I've never moved so fast.... only option unback the jib so the boat fell of to stbd and leave it slack so it luffed early and wind and waves would hopefully push me out of the way in time...
Then a spotlight came on and a voice floated down to me asking what assistance I needed.... then a helicopter appeared and the pilot informed me he was from Gurnsey S&R.... the ship had radio'd in to say I was in imminent danger, had then turned round and headed back to find me...
I eventually convinced them I was ok, not in danger and able to continue NE into 'safe' water under my own power and at daylight and hopefully calmer sea's I would investigate and hopefully resolve the problem...
With my sincere thanks and profound apologies for the misunderstanding we said goodbye and went our separate ways.....
Much later that morning I discovered an old bouy with a long length of line had snagged between my rudder and hull and slowly worked its way so's the buoy was tight up against the hull... in putting the tiller hard over the buoy had shifted and consequently jammed in place preventing the rudder moving back... and the length of line kept in there... also found out in my frenzy to get out of the way of the ship I'd broken the head where the tiller/shaft connects....
1 week later with rudder head welded and fitted back on I set of again for an uneventful crossing to Ushant and on to Baiona, Spain....

Lesson learnt... be very careful what you say in 'emergency' situations... you know what your saying but the person at the other end is in 'Savior Mode' so things may easily/sometimes be misinterpreted.
Also... my ongoing respect and appreciation for the best marine rescue service in the world.... The RNLI
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Old 25-12-2010, 22:41   #51
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I agree... pretty easy to sail rudderless with a dinghy. There's a pretty good free ebook that explains in great detail:

Rudderless_Sailing.pdf
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Old 26-12-2010, 00:22   #52
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I think it depends on how "lost" it is. If it fell off completely or I just couldn't move it, or needed to use a tiller right on the post or whatever. I'd try to sail back to the nearest harbor just using sail balance. A lot of that depends on the direction I'd need to go and the direction of the wind.

Fashioning a rudder doesn't seem as hard as securing it in place. There would be *a lot* of force generated against anything you'd throw in the water to create drag.

I suppose I might go ghetto and just see what dragging a canvas bucket on one side or the other would do before I took the time to turn a floor board into a rudder and secure it with an oar or something.

I guess to mount it I'd probably take a spare piece of lumber (1/2 wooden boat so I have that kind of stuff, seriously) like a 2"x4", chop it down to 8" or so, put a hole big enough through it to fit the shaft that's holding onto the new rudder, and then screw / thru bolt the other end to the deck.

Wouldn't be pretty and I hope (a) it never happens and (b) if it does the conditions are benign.
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Old 26-12-2010, 09:06   #53
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What an interesting thread (as in the ancient Chinese curse, "may you live in interesting times"... : -)

I have been fortunate so far but have personal knowledge of two instances. A coworkers father lost the rudder on a Grampion and was towed I believe. Some friends lost a rudder coming into Boston harbor when the steering chain snapped, but they were towing an inflatable and used that alongside to maneuver.
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Old 26-12-2010, 09:40   #54
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Originally Posted by WaveRiderRick View Post
I agree... pretty easy to sail rudderless with a dinghy. There's a pretty good free ebook that explains in great detail:
Rudderless_Sailing.pdf
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, WaveRiderRick.

Thanks for the link.
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Old 26-12-2010, 09:59   #55
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Here is a link to the Pacific cup emergency rudder section Emergency Rudder Design Guidelines | Pacific Cup And hear is a link to the Pineapple sail website that has a few other options. A good thing about the Pineapple site is that they give a good idea on what to do with a wheel rather then a tiller. The tiller would hit my binacle.
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Old 26-12-2010, 11:32   #56
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Pim Geurts < SAILTHEORY.COM -main page- > discusses “Steering with the sails”, and much more: Here ➥ Couples and Forces @ sailtheory.com
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