That’s the only solution. Then you can just fix stuff at your leisure.
I had this exact situation happened to me two summers ago.
I made a huge mistake also when it happened. Because I was rushed and nervous.
This happened to me in the Long Island sound
and I was getting ready to cross the path of the Port Jefferson to Connecticut ferry
. I was on the Connecticut side with a very strong south wind. Having a great time. Sailing on a nice beam reach. It was beautiful. All day.
So all of a sudden I lose all of my steering. Nothing. This is a hydraulic steering
system on a monohull
that I had. No steering whatsoever. The wheel
would just turn and turn and turn. No effect on the rudder.
In a rush before I got clobbered by the ferry
, I called out a pan pan. I meant to say securité. Ooops. Now Coast Guard sector two or whatever is all over me on the radio
. And everyone else in the world was listening also. It was very embarrassing. I had to explain that I did not mean to call the pan pan and I meant to call securié to the ferry before they crushed us. It was really close and ferries don’t change course around here. There’s nothing about colregs. Tonnage rules in these situations. You get out of the way of ferries even under sail. That’s the custom.
So I was able to use the hydraulic auto pilot actually to steer the boat to some degree after I was safely past the ferry. That got me around the corner to a spot that I could anchor. I was not protected and it was a Lee shore. I got into the best position I could without steerage just using the sails and what ever the auto pilot could kind of do. Which wasn’t much. And I dropped the anchor and drop the sails.
It was rough out. The Leeshore was awful. I had huge waves coming at me all day and night. The next morning I got up and I went to work
on figuring out what was wrong. I had a hydraulic steering
leak. I lost
fluid. And I didn’t have extra onboard in the amount I needed. So, it was rough the next day also, but I launched the dinghy
and I went in an inlet to some town or another in Connecticut. Other than the ferry, the dinghy ride was the scariest part. I almost flipped it so many times. It was really really rough. Huge waves for a dinghy. Way too big. I had to lay down and it to avoid flipping. And any boats that were coming and going really didn’t see me very well because it was rough out and they were much much bigger. And I had someone nearby at a West Marine
or a boat store bring me the hydraulic steering fluid at a marina that I tied up to. With the dinghy. I thanked them profusely, gave them cash. Extra money
as a tip. And I took the dinghy back out to my boat, fixed the steering situation, purged the hydraulic system and drained it and filled it up.
Good as new! Continued on my way two days after the loss of steering.