I wouldn't have a yacht for sailing offshore
without an emergency tiller of some sort. Back up steering systems are part of the offshore game
One of the things I liked about my catamaran
was the fact that I had four different ways of steering the cat. I had two steering wheels each going to it's own separate quadrant. There was an autohelm
700 linear drive
autopilot, and as a final safety
measure, we had an emergency tiller that went through a deck plate on to the top of the port rudder post. The rudder post was squared off on top, and the emergency tiller was made from heavy duty aluminum
pipe in the form of a socket that slipped over the rudder post in an emergency.
We also had two rudders on the boat since we are a catamaran
, making a very redundant steering system.
We have had the Privilege
catamaran for 13 years, did an eleven year circumnavigation
, and our steering hasn't failed us yet. May our good fortune continue.
I have been in three storms with winds to fifty knots, and if we had lost
our steering in any of those incidents, we could have gotten into real trouble. If the steering cable fails in forty knots of wind
and 20 foot seas, you will find it very difficult to steer the boat using only your sails
. Traditional crusing boats with long keels may be more forgiving in such circumstances because they have a great deal of directional stability, but it wouldn't be fun.
In the last two transatlantic ARC
rallies, there have been boats that lost their rudders, and as I recall
, the yachts were abandoned because they weren't able to steer the yachts without rudders. Whether your rudder falls off or your steering cable breaks, the end result is the same. You can't control your yacht.
When I had my Westsail 32 and my Pearson
Renegade 27, I practiced sailing without using my tiller/rudder. It's surprising how well you can sail a full keel
yacht offshore by balancing your sails