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Old 31-10-2013, 11:27   #316
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

Any boat that participates in a significant ocean race (Transpac, Pacific Cup, Vic-Maui, Newport-Bermuda, etc.) must have an alternate means of steering in case of a rudder failure. This can be a spare rudder with a means to attach it, a spinnaker pole with a floor board attached, a steering drogue, or something. This emergency steering system has to be demonstrated to an inspector -- it has to work reasonably well, and you need to know how to use it.

I don't think having an emergency steering system is at all unreasonable if you are sailing far from shore and outside assistance. On VALIS we use the Monitor "MRUD" emergency rudder attachment for our windvane. It works, barely, but does let us steer.
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:40   #317
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

I consider the Caribbean closer to coastal cruising but I too believe offshore boats should have some form of emergency rudder...at the very least a good plan and the tools and spares to rig something.
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:45   #318
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I don't think having an emergency steering system is at all unreasonable if you are sailing far from shore and outside assistance. On VALIS we use the Monitor "MRUD" emergency rudder attachment for our windvane. It works, barely, but does let us steer.
The OP was simply day-sailing along an island coast in a long chain of islands.

Even with an emergency steering system like boards lashed to poles, many boats simply will not behave well in anything other than calm conditions.

Yes, it is useful to contemplate rigging warps and such to allow one some crude ability to steer off the wind in emergencies, but you really won't be doing much ocean crossing harder on the wind with such. And yes, it is possible to have a robust backup for better and longer steering - but this has tradeoffs and I don't see many doing it. Racing boats do not count - they are driving as hard as possible, and the organizers have some liability, or at least responsibility.

I think we should give the guy a break on this. Certainly having lost a rudder will be on the back of his mind always and will have him thinking going forward. Right now he is simply trying to get his boat back together and resume on with things.

Pointing out options where he can source parts and expertise is more helpful now than badgering him about backup plans and equipment.

Mark
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:47   #319
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

While everyone should have a thought or three as part of voyage planning about options and jury-rigging should one lose all or part of the rig or rudder; the 200-year old military adage of "no plan survives contact with the enemy" applies and one can overthink situations thus and become inflexible.

Space considerations mean that realistically only mirrored monohulls such as colemj's vessel will have spare rudders aboard. Most rudder problems stem not from total loss of the rudder but from issues with the steering system - i.e. broken cables or ones that jump sheaves, stripped gears, quadrant problems, locked bushings, etc. In cases like this a spare rudder is of no use (and while there might be boats out there with spare rudders, I'd be surprised if any carried a spare quadrant).

p.s. I do carry lots of spare dyneema single braid of various diameters which could, in a pinch, be used to replace broken steering cable
p.p.s. The original quote is more succinct in German, from General Field Marshal von Moltke, „Kein Plan überlebt die erste Feindberührung.“
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:49   #320
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
The OP was simply day-sailing along an island coast in a long chain of islands.

Even with an emergency steering system like boards lashed to poles, many boats simply will not behave well in anything other than calm conditions.

Yes, it is useful to contemplate rigging warps and such to allow one some crude ability to steer off the wind in emergencies, but you really won't be doing much ocean crossing harder on the wind with such. And yes, it is possible to have a robust backup for better and longer steering - but this has tradeoffs and I don't see many doing it. Racing boats do not count - they are driving as hard as possible, and the organizers have some liability, or at least responsibility.

I think we should give the guy a break on this. Certainly having lost a rudder will be on the back of his mind always and will have him thinking going forward. Right now he is simply trying to get his boat back together and resume on with things.

Pointing out options where he can source parts and expertise is more helpful now than badgering him about backup plans and equipment.

Mark
You raise several good and valid points with this post. I do however think he will have 4 to 6 weeks or more to work safety issues as he is planning on going offshore.
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:49   #321
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
The OP was simply day-sailing along an island coast in a long chain of islands.

Even with an emergency steering system like boards lashed to poles, many boats simply will not behave well in anything other than calm conditions.

Yes, it is useful to contemplate rigging warps and such to allow one some crude ability to steer off the wind in emergencies, but you really won't be doing much ocean crossing harder on the wind with such. And yes, it is possible to have a robust backup for better and longer steering - but this has tradeoffs and I don't see many doing it. Racing boats do not count - they are driving as hard as possible, and the organizers have some liability, or at least responsibility.

I think we should give the guy a break on this. Certainly having lost a rudder will be on the back of his mind always and will have him thinking going forward. Right now he is simply trying to get his boat back together and resume on with things.

Pointing out options where he can source parts and expertise is more helpful now than badgering him about backup plans and equipment.

Mark
Agreed 100%

I would be curious to see how a boat with a plywood board on a pole would be able to make any easting in the Caribbean Sea knowing how prevalent wind and especially current want to blow you away.
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:53   #322
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Agreed 100%

I would be curious to see how a boat with a plywood board on a pole would be able to make any easting in the Caribbean Sea knowing how prevalent wind and especially current want to blow you away.
One could always navigate to a port to the West or North.
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Old 31-10-2013, 11:58   #323
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

The purpose of an emergency rudder system is to let you steer yourself somewhere safe. This may not be where you originally had wanted to go, but some control is much better than no control.

As for the OP, day-sailing is admittedly different than ocean crossing. When I'm sailing close to home I usually leave the emergency rudder behind.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:03   #324
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
Most rudder problems stem not from total loss of the rudder but from issues with the steering system - i.e. broken cables or ones that jump sheaves, stripped gears, quadrant problems, locked bushings, etc. In cases like this a spare rudder is of no use (and while there might be boats out there with spare rudders, I'd be surprised if any carried a spare quadrant).

p.s. I do carry lots of spare dyneema single braid of various diameters which could, in a pinch, be used to replace broken steering cable

Our Mason had a factory supplied tiller that was fit to the top of the rudder post. In fact, quite a bit of expense went into a backup tiller including an shaft extension and cockpit floor port. Obviously some priority here. In addition we carried dyneema specifically sized for replacing broken cable.

Furthermore, we stayed on top of maintaining the steering system with the inspection of the cable (running a rag to find broken strands) and oiling all of the sheaves and Edson bearings every three months.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:03   #325
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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One could always navigate to a port to the West or North.
Yes, Central America and Newfoundland make great bailouts from Martinique.

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Old 31-10-2013, 12:05   #326
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Our Mason had a factory supplied tiller that was fit to the top of the rudder post. In fact, quite a bit of expense went into a backup tiller including an shaft extension and cockpit floor port. Obviously some priority here. In addition we carried dyneema specifically sized for replacing broken cable.
Pretty much every boat with an inboard rudder has an emergency tiller doesn't it? The only ones I see that don't are very old boats, but even our 1969 Columbia had one. Some of the ones I have seen for center cockpit boats look iffy, though.

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Old 31-10-2013, 12:07   #327
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
As for the OP, day-sailing is admittedly different than ocean crossing. When I'm sailing close to home I usually leave the emergency rudder behind.
Typically, 75 miles offshore is not day sailing.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:22   #328
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Yes, Central America and Newfoundland make great bailouts from Martinique.

Mark
However, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antiqua, Barbuda, etc. are all to the West and North.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:24   #329
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Pretty much every boat with an inboard rudder has an emergency tiller doesn't it? The only ones I see that don't are very old boats, but even our 1969 Columbia had one. Some of the ones I have seen for center cockpit boats look iffy, though.

Mark
Thanks for expanding the point I was making on that post.
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:43   #330
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Re: Rudder nightmare at sea

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Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Our Mason had a factory supplied tiller that was fit to the top of the rudder post. In fact, quite a bit of expense went into a backup tiller including an shaft extension and cockpit floor port. Obviously some priority here. In addition we carried dyneema specifically sized for replacing broken cable.

Furthermore, we stayed on top of maintaining the steering system with the inspection of the cable (running a rag to find broken strands) and oiling all of the sheaves and Edson bearings every three months.
However, none of this would have helped the OP, who had the rudder shaft snap off at the hull. I also have an emergency tiller, but that only works if I still have a rudder.
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