I was watching a YouTube video following a monohull
crew's plight after their rudder
was broken clean off in the middle of the Pacific (they made it to safety). Got me wondering... I know boats have a variety of emergency
tiller systems, but for cases of total rudder
loss/failure, why wouldn't we provision boats with a totally manual back-up system – along these lines:
- A permanently-mounted bracket on the transom/sugar scoop, ready to accept a whisker pole
- A whisker pole pre-designed for easy attachment to transom bracket (acts as the 'tiller')
- Some sort of aluminum plate ready to attach to one end of the whisker pole (acts as the 'rudder')
In the event of total rudder loss (ie, she-gone), the crew clips the plate to the pole, clips the plate/pole to the bracket on the transom, and manually steers the boat
. The pole is on a long-enough lever to allow steering
with a manageable amount of manual force.
Obviously not comfortable or convenient for long-term use, but seems like it would be more than enough to get back to safety
. For the crew I watched on YouTube, a system like that would have made their whole ordeal (almost) a non-issue.
- The bracket would be a little bit of a nuisance when not in use, but I guess it could be a two-piece element – with only the attachment points permanently-mounted on the transom (and the bracket itself stays in the lazarette until needed).
- The pole could be something already on board for other purposes – ie, a whisker pole, but with attachment points.
- The plate would have to be unique – I guess, unless it was designed as a section of dining table!? (as an example).
- Never good to add weight, although the pole would be the heaviest part – and it could be one that's already aboard for another purpose – so the whole setup would really just be the added weight of the bracket and plate.
Thoughts? Maybe something like this already exists – seems so simple and would really save your bacon when all else fails.