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Old 05-09-2021, 05:18   #1
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Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

Based on this story:



Quote:
The Skipper did actually attempt to build a makeshift rudder, see from their account:

"James didn’t stop once and proceeded to build a second rudder. He used the support pole for the radar and some floorboards, and hammered the base 90°, creating a “u” in which he screwed and glued the floorboards. This rudder was awesome, solid, but once again when we tried it, it was just too small and had no effect in the conditions that we were in."

You can't bodge/fix everything.
I am curious what might have worked, and how better to prepare for a primary rudder failure

Yes its monday morning quarter backing, but im sure there are some tales of success out there
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:35   #2
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

You can steer reasonably well with a sea anchor.
Takes a bit to set it up effectively and, of course, you have to have one with you.
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Old 05-09-2021, 05:45   #3
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

Good write up here:
A Guide to Steering without a Rudder - Newport Bermuda Race

Deploy your drogue/sea anchor and get some rest. • Each time that we went testing we learned something new. Don't be afraid to try something that you think ...

http://bermudarace.com/wp-content/up...t-a-Rudder.pdf
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:40   #4
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

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Originally Posted by ChrisJHC View Post
You can steer reasonably well with a sea anchor.
Takes a bit to set it up effectively and, of course, you have to have one with you.
Well that sounds like a downwind option only. sea anchors are not cheap. I mean a real, semi functional rudder that will at least permit a broad reach.
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Old 05-09-2021, 06:46   #5
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

I have a stout oar shortened and adapted to fit the but end of the spinnaker pole.
A rowlock on the transom offset to clear the backstay.

Spinnaker after guys, snatch blocks and winches handle the steering loads.

Stores and deploys easily.
Never used in anger but effective under test.
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Old 05-09-2021, 08:26   #6
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

We were 110 miles behind us on a passage from Morehead City to USVI when we lost steering on my 50 ft schooner (LOA 65’ with bowsprit & boomkin). After being unable to repair the worm gear steering system we made a huge oar with the spinnaker pole and plywood & secured it with line to the stern. We were unable to steer the boat successfully with this system. What did work was steering with the sails. As schooners have a large main sail we put a third reef in to stop the boat from coming into the wind. The fore staysail was backed also to prevent rounding up. With the yankee, foresail and reefed main as our driving force we were able to sail a steady course for days to about 200 miles north of the islands. With the wind dead behind us we had to sail a zig zag course of wind on the quarter. Having four sails to work with, it still was not easy as the boat wanted to sail a beam reach but we finally made it to the harbor. Do to the reduced sail area and gybing the last 200 miles, it was a slow passage of 18 days.
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Old 05-09-2021, 09:49   #7
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

We met a Danish sailor on Ua Huka. He was single handing a 36 foot sailboat with a tiller. Passing through the Caribbean the interior rudder post separated, leaving him with auseless tiller in his hand. He described what he did next; "I went over the side tied to the boat with a lifejacket on and a brace an bit. After boring a hole through the rudder, a passed a line through and heavily knotted it on each side. It took about 40 minutes. When I was finished, I was too tired to heave myself back up on the boat and wondered if this is how I would be found. I knew I had once chance to throw a leg up, and was fortunate to use my heel to grab the cap rail. I was able to get myself back on board and used the rope through blocks tied to the rudder, and here I am." Foolish, brave or brilliant, and possible all three, I was stunned, but understood his intent. Many options were available, but he chose the most risky. This is his story, not mine.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:01   #8
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Good write up here:
A Guide to Steering without a Rudder - Newport Bermuda Race

Deploy your drogue/sea anchor and get some rest. • Each time that we went testing we learned something new. Don't be afraid to try something that you think ...

http://bermudarace.com/wp-content/up...t-a-Rudder.pdf
Definitely worth a read.
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Old 05-09-2021, 10:12   #9
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Mason View Post
We met a Danish sailor on Ua Huka. He was single handing a 36 foot sailboat with a tiller. Passing through the Caribbean the interior rudder post separated, leaving him with auseless tiller in his hand. He described what he did next; "I went over the side tied to the boat with a lifejacket on and a brace an bit. After boring a hole through the rudder, a passed a line through and heavily knotted it on each side. It took about 40 minutes. When I was finished, I was too tired to heave myself back up on the boat and wondered if this is how I would be found. I knew I had once chance to throw a leg up, and was fortunate to use my heel to grab the cap rail. I was able to get myself back on board and used the rope through blocks tied to the rudder, and here I am." Foolish, brave or brilliant, and possible all three, I was stunned, but understood his intent. Many options were available, but he chose the most risky. This is his story, not mine.
A rope ladder takes up very little room. Of course, Murphys Law means that if you carry one you will never need it, whereas if you don't carry one, you will....
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Old 05-09-2021, 14:17   #10
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

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Originally Posted by ChrisJHC View Post
You can steer reasonably well with a sea anchor.
Takes a bit to set it up effectively and, of course, you have to have one with you.

I think you mean a drogue? Sea anchor usually is a very large parachute type of thing and dragging that will get you nowhere. Maybe cut out large piece of the center?
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Old 05-09-2021, 14:40   #11
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

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Originally Posted by waterman46 View Post
I think you mean a drogue? Sea anchor usually is a very large parachute type of thing and dragging that will get you nowhere. Maybe cut out large piece of the center?

Yeah, drogue.

Complicated by some vendors calling them “sea anchor drogues”.

And, yes I have used them (in practice) for reaching.
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Old 05-09-2021, 22:32   #12
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenHeaven View Post
Based on this story:





I am curious what might have worked, and how better to prepare for a primary rudder failure

Yes its monday morning quarter backing, but im sure there are some tales of success out there
Easy to say from behind a keyboard I know, but abandoning a perfectly good boat due to rudder loss is a bit hard to swallow.

Main thing is they were all OK, but that boat, with the main still up, drifting off .... I suspect a lot of us here would be doing differently.
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Old 06-09-2021, 04:36   #13
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

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Originally Posted by David B View Post
Easy to say from behind a keyboard I know, but abandoning a perfectly good boat due to rudder loss is a bit hard to swallow.

Main thing is they were all OK, but that boat, with the main still up, drifting off .... I suspect a lot of us here would be doing differently.
Yes. I agree. Perhaps there were other considertions like water. Without a watermaker, and facing a drift for months, its more understandable.

Some good ideas.

It seems the "rudder failure" is the #1 cause of distress calls. What is not know is the #1 cause of rudde failure? is it
Bearing / mounting failure
Failure of tiller / helm control of the rudder
Damage from impact with submerged object
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Old 06-09-2021, 12:37   #14
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenHeaven View Post
Yes. I agree. Perhaps there were other considertions like water. Without a watermaker, and facing a drift for months, its more understandable.

Some good ideas.

It seems the "rudder failure" is the #1 cause of distress calls. What is not know is the #1 cause of rudde failure? is it
Bearing / mounting failure
Failure of tiller / helm control of the rudder
Damage from impact with submerged object
In my situation, the mostly "submerged object" was a whale, unseen at 0200 hours. The rudder post was bent and the rudder jammed against the hull, unable to be turned.

With the clarity provided by daylight, it was determined we could lower the blade an inch by loosening the two nuts at the top of the stock. This provided clearance and enabled our continued passage on to Newport. Though the stock was bent, steering was normal once the blade was clear of the hull.

Praise be to Nautor for the construction of a really strong hull.
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Old 06-09-2021, 12:46   #15
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Re: Can we talk about jury rigging an emergency rudder

I believe drogue steering is the practical answer for most of us. It works. If you don't have a drogue you can rig it using fenders and anchors. You safely can rig it in foul weather. A solid spare rudder is better, but that's an undertaking. A jury oar in bad weather is usually wishful thinking.


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