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Loss of Rudder and Emergency Steering

by SVJacaranda » Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:45 pm

I have read this thread with much interest and have looked at the attached links. Thanks for making this a great educational read.

We lost our steering (NOT rudder) about 2 days south of Cabo on the way to the Marquises in the early 90's. Despite having replaced the cables, new sheave pins and making sure the steering was properly lubricated before leaving San Diego the chain parted in the binnacle. I had removed the chain and inspected it with a microscope and it looked fine at the time of the overhaul. I had spare steering cables ready to swap out if needed but I did not have a spare steering/quadrant chain. It was on my list of spares but must have been on one of the 100 lists we had going before we left. Thankfully we were no more than a few days back to Cabo steering by hand using the emergency tiller. (Of course it was upwind into 25kts on the nose)

With this said I have not seen anywhere in this thread (or maybe I overlooked it) the suggestion to carry a spare steering CHAIN. Better yet a spare chain and cables already made up to drop in place in case the original should fail. Now you have me seriously thinking about a spare rudder!! :)

Warm regards

Allied 39
Mazatlan, Mexico
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Loss of rudder

by Louis Riel » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:30 pm

That's what I love about my steel outboard rudder . I can make the pins as oversized as I like and there is absolutely no disadvantage in doing so. My sch 40 steel pipe tiller is fully welded to the rudder head, and inside steering is via balanced trimtab on the trailing edge of the rudder. The only load on it is friction. I have absolutely no worries about rudder failuire.
Louis Riel
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Re: Loss of Rudder and Emergency Steering

by IolantheSF » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:01 pm

A common thread here "between the lines" is that one should have a "balanced rudder". This does make it easier to steer, but it also makes it easier to ask too much of the rudder. When it is becoming difficult to steer, it is because the rig is not balanced and the rudder is being overpowered. Rather than forcing the rudder shaft and bearings to take a beating, it's better to reduce sail and/or balance the rig so that the boat almost steers itself, with just a little weather helm. There will be far fewer mechanical failures, and the VMG will improve as well. (Any time the rudder has a lot of force on it, it is generating a lot of drag...)
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Re: Loss of Rudder and Emergency Steering

by mtyler » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:22 am

There is a nice study of drought steering. There is also a you-tube video
Galerider Web Drogue Steering:
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Re: Loss of Rudder and Emergency Steering

by Louis Riel » Sat May 02, 2015 5:55 pm

I built myself a gale ride rout of old car seat belts , using a round steel mooring buoy as a mold. Wasn't that hard.
Friends survived the NZ Queens birthday storm on a gale rider on a Fraser 41, with no problems. They found that 80 ft of drogue line worked best.
Louis Riel
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:14 pm
Location: BC

Re: Loss of Rudder and Emergency Steering

by brentswain » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:48 pm

I prefer to go for a transom hung rudder , on a good ,strong skeg, from the outset. Drastically simplifies self steering and inside steering,via the trim tab.
If most such rudders use 3/4 inch pins, what are the drawbacks of going for 1 1/4 inch pins?
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