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Old 31-01-2014, 08:57   #16
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FloridaWriter's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Maitland, FL
Boat: Bristol 29
Posts: 230
Re: Rudder needed for Bristol 29/Bristol 30

Originally Posted by Sun and Moon View Post
I drifted onto a shoal. My bad - talking to marina and not paying enough attention to where I was drifting. Called Towboat US from Ft Pierce who is based about 1 mile away. They arrived about 45 mins later.

Told towboat operator I had drifted down from the north. First he tried to pull me west. Boat pulled easily through mud. After a few minutes he started pulling me north and almost immediately the boat started floating. Towboat said to follow him, so I followed him under tow. Rudder operated correctly and I was able to follow behind towboat.

Towboat turned to north-east and pulled me across several mud bars.

Towboat next said he was pulling south. It was dark by now, so I don't know which direction he actually went. Again he pulled me across several mud bars with the boat floating between each.

Towboat said he was trying east. Again we went across several mud bars. At one point the boat was almost out of the water and laying on its side. The boat floated after each time it crossed a bar.

Towboat eventually said tide was falling and he was quitting. He just untied his line and left. He left boat grounded on a bar, rocking back and forth from front to back with waves. I deployed an anchor and 25 or so feet of chain.

Towboat returned at 5:20 am and pulled northwest. Boat came right off and did not ground again. It was clear during tow that rudder did not work - boat only turned to starboard. Towboat towed me to marina and I tied to pier.

Damage to boat is a broken rudder, minor damage to hull where broken rudder stub gouged hull, and minor scrapes to the bottom of the keel. The rudder is bent to to the port side, indicating the damage was caused when the boat was towed across a mud bar on its starboard side.

In my opinion, Towboat made several mistakes which resulted in damage to my boat.

1) Operator did not have a map of the shoals in the area, which is readily available on Google Earth. On day 2 when he had the map he pulled me directly to deep water without incident.

2) Operator failed to use his depth sounder to chart an exit from the shoal area.

3) Operator repeatedly dragged me from deep water onto shoals. Operator grounded me more than 10 times. Some of these groundings were in extremely shallow water with the boat laying on its side. One grounding I estimate the water depth to be 19 inches, based on the water coming up to the edge of the sink which is 18.5 inches from the edge of the hull and another .5 inches for hull thinkness. After each of these groundings he pulled me into water deep enough to float my boat.

4) Operator failed to use the information his depth sounder gave him to avoid dragging my boat onto very shallow shoals.

5) Operator failed to use a strategy appropriate to prevent damage to the the rudder of this boat. The design on this boat is well documented. In my opinion, his strategy of simply dragging the boat repeatedly across shoals is inappropriate for any sailboat.

6) Operator towed me west, northeast, south, and east before finally trying the correct northwest direction on day 2.

7) Operator failed to secure my boat when he quit for the night.
He simply untied from my boat and drove away, leaving my boat grounded out and rocking back and forth with every wave. It would have been much safer and less damaging to leave the boat floating. This repeated rocking from front to back may well have been the action that dislodged the rudder from its mount.

I could have stayed where I was originally and waited for the tide to float me off without damage, or I could have heeled he boat over and lifted the keel off the bottom. Instead I called TowboatUS for professional assistance. In my opinion, Towboat failed to exercise professional responsibility.

I take it you were in the ICW, the Indian River at the point you ran aground? That's a sad story. One of the weaknesses in the B29 is that that the rudder can lift off the rudder shoe pintel. I show how to build a collar and lock to prevent that from happening on my site.

I doubt that you will find a B29 rudder without having to buy a parts boat along with it - no one who has a boat is going to part out the rudder. I'd suggest you build a rudder. I have the dimensions on my site.

Are you still in Ft Pierce?

Good luck!

"The lookout that first sights the cat shall have ten guineas and remission of sins, short of mutiny, sodomy, or damaging the paintwork." - Jack Aubrey
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