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Old 26-01-2016, 10:16   #1
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Oceanis 485 steering failure

My friends chartered an Oceanis 485 in the Caribbean and were sailing in the Leewards in some 500m of water with autopilot ON. Suddenly both wheels started turning from port to starboard very fast making a lot of noise. The autohelm control panel was positioned behind the starboard wheel so it was impossible for the helm to quickly disengage the auto setting. He had to move forward and carefully get his hand down between the rotating wheel and the instrument to locate the off button. Before he could do this there was a large noise and the wheels stopped. Having regained control it was apparent that they had lost steering. The next stage was to engage the emergency tiller, this was done but the yacht did not respond to the the tiller. As they were sailing with another group they were taken in tow. Shortly afterwards the saloon was filling with water, the auto bilge pump did not function, the manual bilge pump did not function and manual bailing was started. Initially a Pan-Pan was issued this was then upgraded to full Mayday. The CG arrived by helicopter but were unable to help so the crew were taken off onto another yacht in the fleet. A short time later the Oceanis sank. Has anyone experience of this type of rudder failure on an Oceanis 485 under autohelm or manual helming. My friend is adamant that no damage was inflicted on the yacht but the charter company suggested he may have hit a lobster pot. He is sure that he did not hit anything. Even so I would expect he may have got the line caught around the prop but not wrecked the rudder if a lobster pot had been struck. The rudder failure caused the boat to be lost. Any experience of this type of failure would be appreciated.
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Old 26-01-2016, 10:20   #2
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Any link, picture, or whatever?
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Old 26-01-2016, 11:00   #3
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

I have pictures of the Oceanis getting lower in the water but nothing of the rudder. There was not time to consider taking pictures on the boat. Only ones were taken from another boat. Not helpful
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Old 26-01-2016, 11:13   #4
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Well then i dont know how to take this, there is some serious incidents with rudders and rudder stocks on Benes, but without further info hard to say what went wrong , rudder stock snap, rudder tube broken, or who know......
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Old 26-01-2016, 11:14   #5
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Anyone with an Oceanis 485 care to post pictures of the rudder post area, like the top bearing, bottom bearing, and support structures?? Maybe we can tell you where to reinforce things just by looking at them.
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Old 26-01-2016, 11:30   #6
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Just saying ,,but if the 485 have the same ikea furniture bulkhead rudder post like the 40 and 43 ft series then no surprise for me if something really wrong happen in the structure, by the way the 40 and 43 are called for repairs and modifications by beneteau some time ago since they get lots of problems with the rudder post and the ply bulkhead top collar assembly,, here in the picture is the steel plate provide by beneteau to solve the problem,,, now the question is if your friend is aware of this problem prior the rudder isues and if the 485 have the same rudder post config, and if they do the modification or not?
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Old 27-01-2016, 14:32   #7
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Hi , Sounds to me like the charter company may be trying to lay the blame on your friend. Twice my autopilot (raymarine) has thrown a wobbly and gone to hard port for no apparent reason . If this is a late model boat and has the composite rudder stock it is possible that the autopilot slammed the rudder hard over. Now if it hit the stops it could well shear the stock off . I can not see a pot doing that sort of damage .
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Old 27-01-2016, 16:32   #8
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by watevaworx View Post
Hi , Sounds to me like the charter company may be trying to lay the blame on your friend. Twice my autopilot (raymarine) has thrown a wobbly and gone to hard port for no apparent reason . If this is a late model boat and has the composite rudder stock it is possible that the autopilot slammed the rudder hard over. Now if it hit the stops it could well shear the stock off . I can not see a pot doing that sort of damage .
Just my thoughts
Glenn
Yeah, if running over a lobster pot will sink the boat, the problem is with the boat, not the captain who didn't spot the lobster pot.
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Old 27-01-2016, 16:49   #9
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

First I don't like second/third hand stories/reports. As I am in the Caribbean and in the Leeward Islands, this is news to me..and news travels fast, something as big as that for sure it would be being talked about quite a lot.

So when and where did this happen?

Also were they sailing or motoring?

An uncommanded full rudder deflection at say even five knots would be an interesting experience in iteslf.

This boat has sail drives maybe even dock and go so that is a possible route for the sea water ingress. but that does not explain the lack of steering.

Now a 48 foot charter boat would I suspect have at least four people on board....... how come no one could locate the leak and slow it down even - what is it about a frightened man with a bucket.

When our autopilot misbehaves which it has done a few times in 14 years it does not give an uncommanded helm movemet but decides it 'needs a wee rest' and disconnects, since we are generally sailing with a fairly well balanced sail plan IF the autohelm is driving Highland Fling it can take a few minutes to 'notice' that the pilot is now in standby mode.

Also a properly set up autohelm well the rudder stops should be reached before the end travel of the ram.......not knowing the design and installation on an Oceanis 48 IF the ram is on the quadrant I would imagine that the ram would rip itself off of its mounting before destroying the rudder shaft IF It was trying to drive the quadrant past its end stops.....

However if it has it own tiller with a pin going through the rudder stock I suppose it is possible with the quadrand on the end stop for that pin to have enough force applied to it to shear the rudder post.....NOT on a O461 as the post is composite but massive and I suppose a fuse or a breaker would trip if the motor stalled.......mind you this is probably a hydralic ram system so the pump would not stall per se but could keep on pumping without popping a fuse.

I was reparing one the other week for a fellow cruiser and the pump just kept pumping even though the ram was at the end of its travel.......the spool valve and the solenoid that actuates it was faulty, we of course were asking for a helm movement with the boat at anchor but like I said the pilot was waiting for a heading change before it switched off the hydralic pump motor and not looking at helm actuator travel/movement or an end of travel situation.

For sure I would like to know more about the specifics of this event and first hand would be very helpful.
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Old 28-01-2016, 02:32   #10
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

He have pictures of the boat getting lower in the water..
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Old 28-01-2016, 15:27   #11
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

In answer to Highland Fling, the location was 12Nm north of Guadeloupe on Sunday 24th January. As a Mayday was issued the news should be a matter of record. One thing I would add is that we observed very poor radio discipline in the Leewards - it was sometimes difficult to have a conversation with the CG because of other non emergency traffic on the channel. If this was the UK they would have been told to get off Ch16

This post is taken from the factual reports emailed by the skipper who is still in the Leeward islands with his crew.

We are attempting to get some guidance to help us understand how this failure could have happened and to learn if it has happened before or something very similar with steering gear on the Oceanis 485.

The yacht was built late 2012
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Old 28-01-2016, 16:13   #12
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Additional information

They were motor sailing, main with two reefs, foresail 1 reef, engine on 2000rpm Speed approx 6 Kts COG 199 deg M

The crew was 7 including one with RYA Yachtmaster Coastal Certificate of Competence and one with RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Certificate of Competence.

An experienced crew.

Water ingress was at a point inaccessible to the crew. The bilge pump did not work on auto nor hard on and the breakers were OK. The hand bilge pump did not function. This was used each morning to clear the bilges before lighting the gas - it was assumed to be pumping air. When flooded it pumped nothing.

The CG were unable to make anything work either.

Any guidance appreciated.
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Old 28-01-2016, 16:56   #13
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Another picture:
Fortune de mer : Naufrage en Guadeloupe

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Old 28-01-2016, 18:59   #14
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

WOW Scary indeed.

So the CG attended while the boat was still afloat and they did not have an emergency pump or two ?

For sure here in St Martin we have not heard of this incident and I was checking today.

IF they were unable to acsetain where the water was coing in from surely someone could have put on a mask fins and snorkle and had a look for the water entry hole from the underside of the boat.

Being a charter boat I suppose the desire to save the boat is not as focused or as strong as it would be if it were your own boat.

Getting in the water to see if you can see what the problem is seems like the next choice if you cant determine where the water is coming in from for reasons of access. Or even if there was so much water in the boat that it was difficult or impossible to locate the problem area.

Had they done that and IF it had been the rudder missing or even a bit of hull around the rudder post torn off I would have thought that it would have been possible to slow down if not stop the flooding by using a patch to cover the hole....

Even a sail bag or a cockpit cushion lashed tightly over the hole may have saved the boat and then of course the evidence of the actual issue/problem would be avaiable for investigation.. With the boat now being 500 meters under the surface of the Caribbean tis just a guessing game.

Thanks for these updates and the pictures.
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Old 29-01-2016, 00:06   #15
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Re: Oceanis 485 steering failure

Ohhh sad, but this the double rudder config, forget what i say previously regarding the recall from Beneteau, those new Oceanis have a better rudder post construction,,,
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