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Old 13-11-2010, 06:54   #1
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You Have Lost Your Rudder

You have lost your rudder, you're 300 miles from land.

Do you call in mayday, a pan pan or make it back to land without one?

The replies to this will be interesting. No, its not a troll. But I read a story where a crew called in a mayday and subsequently abandoned an otherwise seaworthy vessel. I have my own opions that I will add later. But it will be interesting to hear other peoples thoughts

Ok, ok I cant help myself, For a start we all know its not a mayday situation. It would warrant a pan pan call though.

What do you think?

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Old 13-11-2010, 07:06   #2
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what's the issue? Put out your seabrake, and continue your journey.
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Old 13-11-2010, 07:27   #3
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put your spare on ? doesnt everyone carry one ?
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Old 13-11-2010, 07:37   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chadlaroche View Post
put your spare on ? doesnt everyone carry one ?
Not according to the article i read. No Spare- (dont ask me why).

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Old 13-11-2010, 07:41   #5
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Saw one built thus,

2' x 4' x 3/4" ply clamped to spinnaker pole with u-bolts. Pole lashed vertically over transom to stern cleats, supported from dropping by rolling hitches to pushpit rail. Line on either side, clove hitched around pole, below water level, and led to chain plates to resist sailing drag. Steered with an oar as tiller.
Crew sailed the boat with wind around the compass for 300 miles.
Rudders can break anywhere along their height, and even though mine is supported on 2 pintel/gudgeon pairs, and a heel fitting, I still carry the plywood as a locker floor---just in case.
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Old 13-11-2010, 07:54   #6
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Yeh those are the kinda things I was hoping for- making a jury rudder out of a kite pole and ply. Or using a seabrake or drogue.

It really surprised me to read that the vessels crew was actually crossing the atlantic when it happened. Its terrible to think that they were so ill prepared or didnt have the knowledge to make something up.

I was quite amazed that they put in a mayday. Assuming the skipper actually holds a radio license, he/she should know the difference between a mayday and a pan pan.

The result was a rescue at sea. Search planes, a diverted ship and all the who har that goes with a mayday.

A few days later, the boat was found and towed safely back to port by the way!

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Old 13-11-2010, 07:59   #7
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A good experiment is to play with your sails while not touching the helm. I have done this many times and learn more about the boat when I do. If you can balance and steer using your sails it will aid quite a bit using other modified steering gear.
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Old 13-11-2010, 08:20   #8
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Don't mean to put a dampner on this one but it is not easy to control a modern fin and spade hulled sail boat when it does not have a rudder. The rudder is one of the two devices under water that give lateral stability to the hull. So practicing sailing with out using the rudder is very different to sailing with no rudder at all.
Try it in a dingy, remove the rudder and then try to steer it.

The emergency rudder must be one of the most important spares carried by any sailing vessel going off shore.

If you have a transom hung rudder then repairs and or rebuilds are much easier, long keels help with directional stability also.

So 300 Miles offshore and we lose the rudder, lift the floor boards (1 1/2" Pahrana pine) use the fore sail boom as a stock and the fore sail gaff as a tiller, use the spare gudegeon and pintal from the port hand cockpit locker and go sailing again.

Simes (feeling very smug as we had thought of this,)
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Old 13-11-2010, 08:30   #9
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agree it is also hard to control a full keel 30,000# sail boat using sail alone but knowing how the boat resonds when you slack tighten drop etc.. sheets and sails is a good experiment and sometimes fun to play with
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Old 13-11-2010, 08:52   #10
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Made a spare rudder and had mounted gudgeons for it on the transom for my trip to Hawaii on a Cal 34 many years ago. I had read more than one account where the piece of wood on the spin pole was ineffective. Next time offshore I will have a Hydrovane windvane. It's rudder area is smaller. I have wondered if it will steer the boat with the main rudder entirely missing. My Cal 40 is a fin keel spade rudder boat but the keel has a longish profile and appears to be more aft.

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Old 13-11-2010, 09:00   #11
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Quote:
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put your spare on ? doesnt everyone carry one ?
I certainly do. A Scanmar SOS emergency rudder.
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Old 13-11-2010, 09:11   #12
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While the spinnaker pole and ply board with U bolts is a nice concept on paper, it doesn't really work very well. 80% of the pole length is used to get the board into the water, leaving very little left as a lever to steer. That "Newton guy" is working against you. If you attempt to use a pulley system at the inboard end of the pole, you will only break the pole (spinnaker poles don't like being bent).
If you intend to use this method, then you really need to try it and see if it can be implemented effectively (remember, the rudder wont fail in 10knots on a smooth sea) on your boat.

I have done several Cat 1 races with my last boat, and gone through the scrutinizing of the safety inspections for Cat 1. The scrutinizer can, and has done it to me, asked for a demonstration of the emergency steering. At the time I was "less than happy", but looking back it was good practice. The emergency steering of choice was a sea break, and it works very well. The two control lines were already attached to the sea break in a bridle ready for deployment. It took less than 5 minutes before we were steering by the sea brake. It is possible to use the trip line to reduce the drag and sail at reduced, but reasonable speed.

While cruising boats are not required to carry the safety gear imposed on racing yachts, the racing safety rules can be a good reference. They certainly could have benifited those on the yacht in the initial story.
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Old 13-11-2010, 09:19   #13
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Leaving St Augustine channel, I lost steering. We were on our way to Charleston. Our boat is a full keeled ketch. We simply adjusted the sails and completed the trip without the rudder. We sailed into Charleston and anchored out until we were able to effect a repair. Whats the big deal? Some boats are steerable under sail. You might try it, it is a required manuver to become a sail instructor for USSailing.
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Old 13-11-2010, 09:24   #14
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Things always seem to break at the worst possible time. Having a Scanmar SOS emergency rudder during an emergency would sure give one a lot of (expensive) peace of mind.

If you can't afford an emergency rudder, I think you'd need to have something that can be rigged quickly, and in the dark.
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Old 13-11-2010, 09:29   #15
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Quote:
Try it in a dingy, remove the rudder and then try to steer it
It's easy to sail a dinghy without a rudder, because you can turn the boat by heeling it. You can also raise the centerboard part way to adjust the center of resistance and balance the steering.

On a keel boat, else being equal, if you lose your large, balanced rudder, the boat will tend to head up, correct? So you will probably drop your main, in addition to rigging an emergency rudder?
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