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Old 08-08-2011
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@ RichH, you got me thinking about something now. In May while out sailing a trip in Lake Ponchartrain from Mandeville to Madisonville, when about halfway there my rudder snapped clean in half like a piece of weak thin wood. At the time, I had a 110 jib up front and full main even though winds were near 25. Wind was out of the southeast and I was on a NNW broad reach. A wave came from behind and I made a hard correction to steer, I pulled the tiller towards me nearly all the way, rudder was sideways for a few seconds and snap it went. The wind and waves hit it just right this time and my boat was hauling at full hull speed.

Reason I am saying you got me thinking is because there have been many times the past year after I bought my boat I was out sailing in higher winds and just hoisted a mainsail. As you mention about the rudder dragging sideways through the water, that did happen many of times and sometimes I had to do corrections. My boat seemed to sail fairly quick with just a main and not always pointing issues but it still had them. The bottomline now since you say that is, I am wondering if the stress I been putting on my rudder eventually caused it give in? Since I sailed with main only many of times and it was always in higher winds. When the boat is flying along and the rudder is nearly sideways, it puts it in perfect position to just snap like a stick. I do now realize it is possible to put too much stress on the rudder from making hard corrections. I also need to add, I oversailed the boat that day which is something I don't normally do. By that I mean pushing it too hard, two sails and full sails at that. Pushing her to go too fast in the conditions. I was able to keep healing down to just over 5 degrees since I was on a broad reach but nearly running as well.
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