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Old 29-12-2014, 04:28   #1
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Juryrigging a Rudder

We've had a number of discussions on rudder failure, but I haven't seen on yet on the practical aspects of how to jury rig a rudder. So hypothetically, you're far at sea and you've lost your rudder. There is no water ingress so you are not in danger of sinking. Let's try to keep the discussion easy.

1- In this case you have modern boat with a spade rudder and it is gone.

2- You have a boat with a skeg hung rudder and here it is also gone.

In both cases you will need to make and juryrig some kind of rudder from the materials you have at hand (and please - you also do not happen to have a spare rudder or windvane that can be used).

Looking at my boat, a modern boat with bathing platform at the back, I suppose I could use my spinnaker pole as tiller and a door for the rudder hung off the back. Since I have a wheel, I could run lines out from the pole to blocks and back in to be attached to the wheel (sort of like an aries windvane steers the boat).

To my mind this would work (albiet not very well), but the problem I can't solve in my head is how to attach the spinnaker pole to boat so there is a hinge point for the lever arm. Looking off the back end of the boat - there is nothing there that jumps out at me and says "attach here". I suppose I could drill a couple of holes in the bathing platform , and snake some dyneema through and then up around the spinnaker pole.

anyone have real experience with this? or a good solution? And what about he skeg rudder?


Please - let's try to keep the discussion on the practical "how-to"side
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Old 29-12-2014, 04:43   #2
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

You also might want to think on how to attach your spinnaker pole such that you don't wind up dimpling it at your ad hoc hinge point. Thus inducing a beer can failure. Assuming it's aluminum that is. If you're going to go this route.
So regardless of what it's made of, you'd be wise to consider reinforcing it in this region/locale. For kite poles are designed primarily to handle longitudinal compression loads almost exclusively.

And I know that you said no pre-made rudders, but to jump start some folks brains, idea wise, have a look at this Kurt Hughes Multihull Design - Catamarans and Trimarans for Cruising and Charter - J46 Emergency Steering

Design wise, having transom hung rudders in cassettes, where the cassettes are a lot stronger than the foils, definitely have their advantages. Ditto on rudders in Drum Cassettes.


As to the original question:
- Mount one end of the pole to the center of your transom, or slightly inboard of it. And you may want to shorten the pole a bit, or even cut it in half.
- The put a beefy block at each corner of your transom (not on the swim step, but transom corners proper), & lead a line through each block near to the outboard/aft most end of the spinnaker pole.
- Run the other ends of the lines to a set of good sized winches in the cockpit.


It won't allow for fast changes in direction, but will work, assuming that you both; balance out the sailplan, & reposition weight as needed on the boat.


On mounting the pole to the transom, if you have a pole which has bayonet type (male-female) type end connections, you might even go so far as to mount some spinnaker pole track on the transom, so that you can use the kite pole's original attachments. As typically this type of fitting is semi-stout. Though it'd be wise to back it up with a pair of Spectra safety lines to keep the pole attached to the boat if these fittings fail.
- Also, you can still use these fittings if you shorten the pole, as typically part of them slides into the pole tube, which is where the bulk of their attachment strength comes from. And they're secured in place with rivets or machine screws. So the latter aren't a big load bearing item.

BTW, it's good practice (and a good idea) to learn how to steer boats using only the sails, & the placement of weight onboard. For emergencies like this, but also as once you get a feel for it, if you check your instruments, you'll notice that you can pick up 1/4 - 1/2 a knot via proper trim & "ballasting".
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Old 29-12-2014, 05:01   #3
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

How about an oar? Anyway I like to have a sculling oar with (any boat) allways. Thought some thinking must be done how to attach it as a steerboard.
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Old 29-12-2014, 05:13   #4
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post

Looking at my boat, a modern boat with bathing platform at the back, I suppose I could use my spinnaker pole as tiller and a door for the rudder hung off the back. Since I have a wheel, I could run lines out from the pole to blocks and back in to be attached to the wheel (sort of like an aries windvane steers the boat).

With the things currently on your boat:

1 - how would you attach that door to the pole in a way that wouldn't rip it apart?
2 - mount the assembly to the boat?
3 - assuming 1&2 are successful; how would you control it?

Just asking as I think unless you have already planned for it that it probably wouldn't be successful.
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Old 29-12-2014, 05:18   #5
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

Is this rudder loss offshore with thousands of miles to land ??
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Old 29-12-2014, 05:21   #6
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

Here's some good info on dealing with rudder losses using a drogue:
A Guide to Steering without a Rudder: Methods and Equipment Tested >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News
And on rudder loss in general:
www.bethandevans.com/pdf/emergencyrudder.pdf
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Old 29-12-2014, 05:38   #7
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

In terms of attaching a door, or piece of plywood to the pole. It's not overly hard to properly lash one in place. Though perhaps a better option is to take 2 (fairly) equal size pieces, putting one on either side of the pole, & lash them together with the pole in between them, tightly (think Spanish Windlass). As well as lashing them to the pole.
Plus, in addition to such lashings, there's always the Makita cordless, & some spare aluminum pieces & bolts, with which to attach said DIY rudder to it's "shaft".

That, & or cut or drill a few small holes in the door, & in addition to the lashings, use your banding tool, or some pipe clamps to affix things together.

I mean they use lashings as integral parts of the rigging, to hold masts up on vessels several hundred feet long. So if you do'em right, they'll hold a setup like this together.

Also, I can almost guarantee that if someone does some searching around on YouTube, you'll find some footage of VOR's past, where the crews have had to jury rig rudders in manners akin to this. That, in addition to footage of them breaking out & using pre-built emergency rudders.

Option B for an emergency rudder is to rig a small drogue (even an old car tire, which can make viable drogues), and lead a line to it from each corner of the transom. And again, back to the cockpit winches.
That, or take the spinnaker pole (or a shortened, stiffened version there of) and rig it transversely across the boat's transom. With a block securely mounted to each end. And then run the lines for your drogue through said blocks, & to cockpit winches.

The pole's extra length, being converted to increased "beam" gives you more control of the drogue's position, & thus more leverage for steering.
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Old 29-12-2014, 06:00   #8
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pirate Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

Being a mainly small boat sailor my thoughts are based on zero swim platforms... got a nice flat transom to work with..
How well this would work on 30ft + I don't know..

Stuff needed..
Spinnaker pole, 2+metres 2x1 wood/ply or thereabouts, 6mm line... Sika or similar..

Tools,
Drill + 6/8mm bits, 10lb Lump hammer, saw, screwdriver, screws.

Cut pole to length removing both ends.. use lump hammer to flatten.. measure and screw 3x5inch lengths of wood either side and opposite each other of the flattened pole so the lowest sits a couple of inches above the water line with 3ft below the surface..
Now drill 3 holes 1inch apart in each of the wood/Aluminium sandwiches using the 6mm bit... next.. using the measurements from your new rudder drill the equivalent holes in your transom in a double row spaced horizontally according to the width of the timber your using..
Next.. cut your 6mm line to appropriate lengths, Fig8 one end then thread through the top hole in the rudder, take round the leading edge to the hole in the transom on the same side you started and put through hole in transom, around 2x1 you've Sika'd inside as a spreader and thro' hole other side then pass between transom and rudder so it forms a Fig8.. continue till you do last hole.. knot off and trim... repeat process till all done.
You can now either lash your tiller to the rudder or rig up blocks and line for your TP to take the load..
This also works well if your a $500 sailor who uses a scaffold plank for med moorings.. cheaper... also more likely to have than a pole
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Old 29-12-2014, 06:22   #9
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Juryrigging a Rudder

Maybe I don't get it, but I plan on a pole and a hatchboard, essentially make a sculling oar as was posted. As long as we aren't in a huge gale, I don't see it as being that hard to do as it seems that if the sails are properly trimmed, the rudder isn't needed much to hold a course? I see it as going from holding a course to a general direction, by that I mean as long as the rudder is intact I'm trying to hold 187 degrees, makeshift rudder, I'm trying to go South.

Course my rudder is coming out for a good inspection this week, I believe a lot of dealing with a lost rudder can be done in the yard by inspecting, finding a small problem and fixing it before you lose said rudder?
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Old 29-12-2014, 06:26   #10
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

Course I guess if you had a real sculling oar ready to go, then you don't have to rig anything?
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Old 29-12-2014, 06:45   #11
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

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Maybe I don't get it, but I plan on a pole and a hatchboard, essentially make a sculling oar as was posted. As long as we aren't in a huge gale, I don't see it as being that hard to do as it seems that if the sails are properly trimmed, the rudder isn't needed much to hold a course? I see it as going from holding a course to a general direction, by that I mean as long as the rudder is intact I'm trying to hold 187 degrees, makeshift rudder, I'm trying to go South.

Course my rudder is coming out for a good inspection this week, I believe a lot of dealing with a lost rudder can be done in the yard by inspecting, finding a small problem and fixing it before you lose said rudder?
In this situation I believe you have a distinct advantage with your long keeled boat as it is going to be much easier to steer, as a matter of fact with reduced sail and well balanced sails you just might be able to hold a rough course without a jury rudder. Steering a modern fin keeled boat without a rudder in a sea way is a very different animal.
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Old 29-12-2014, 06:54   #12
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

Rudders don't usually break except in gale conditions (I still don't think rudder failures in benign weather are a statistical threat) so I think you have to have a plan for what to do in tough conditions.

Boaty, having trouble visualizing your idea so a sketch would help.

I like the idea of Boaty's rudder on a headsail or spinnaker pole fixed to the transom poking out behind the boat with lines attached at the outboard end. That keeps the pole mostly in compression and allows some opportunity for unattended steerage using winches or aft cleats. Not sure how to stabilize that arrangement so it stays in the water but doesn't sink and fold up under the boat. Maybe some floatation at the outboard end would keep it from sinking?
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Old 29-12-2014, 06:55   #13
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

Robert, I'm sure your right, that would explain it
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Old 29-12-2014, 07:04   #14
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Post Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
In this situation I believe you have a distinct advantage with your long keeled boat as it is going to be much easier to steer, as a matter of fact with reduced sail and well balanced sails you just might be able to hold a rough course without a jury rudder. Steering a modern fin keeled boat without a rudder in a sea way is a very different animal.
I agree with you on a64's built in advantage. However, it is possible to steer most boats via sail trim & weight placement. It's actually one of the things we used to do to the students in class so that they'd learn why the experienced guys were telling them to move to spot X, or shift the "stack" (of sails on the windward rail).
We'd lash the rudder to centerline (on racing type keelboats), & tell'em to get us to buoy X, 1/2 mile away.
The reason being, that when the boat & sail plan are balanced out, you use the rudder a lot less. Which translates into less drag AKA more boat speed.
- It worked pretty well on Stars & Stripes the 12m, & some of her competition too.
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Old 29-12-2014, 07:25   #15
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Re: Juryrigging a Rudder

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I agree with you on a64's built in advantage. However, it is possible to steer most boats via sail trim & weight placement. It's actually one of the things we used to do to the students in class so that they'd learn why the experienced guys were telling them to move to spot X, or shift the "stack" (of sails on the windward rail).
We'd lash the rudder to centerline (on racing type keelboats), & tell'em to get us to buoy X, 1/2 mile away.
The reason being, that when the boat & sail plan are balanced out, you use the rudder a lot less. Which translates into less drag AKA more boat speed.
- It worked pretty well on Stars & Stripes the 12m, & some of her competition too.
I know it can be done, I guess it just pisses me off that I have not been able to do it, at least well enough to get somewhere thousands of miles away. The odd time at sea I have locked the rudder to center and played with the sails in an attempt to steer it. With the normal large swells at sea it just has not worked well for me. I have had some success but with very little sail and very slow speeds. Of course going upwind is a piece of cake but beam reaching or broad reaching is a different game. I tried it later in protected waters and I was somewhat more succesful but not great. Then you remove the rudder which is like taking the feathers off a dart and in my mind it is impossible to steer without some form of drag device or emergency rudder.
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