I'm not really a big fan of arm chair quarterbacking other peoples misfortunes (schadenfreude) so I posted this more as a cautionary tale of what can happen.
I think that MS makes a good point that the owner was a "hands off guy" and relied entirely too much on various boat yards to fix this recurring problem.
This unfortunate event also highlights the need for having a backup plan for steering as others have noted.
I am almost surprised that no one has made the arm chair comment: "Why did they not scuttle the boat?" as was done on the csbb forum. I am now thinking that there is, or will be, a fairly nice boat missing only a rudder that will be available to salvage.
It seemed like the sailors were ill prepared for the voyage just on what was said. A voyage across the Atlantic. On abandoning a boat not sinking rather easily makes me wonder, did they really want to save the boat. I dont know just a feeeling. I think a more experieced captain and crew would have affected a different solution. Or even had maybe a makeshift rudder or constructed one to get then to safe harbor. Didnt appear they were in imminent danger with a hurricane bearing down on them. Reading the blog I am amazed they set off on a 22 day crossing with what looked like a very inexperienced crew.
Agree about not watching the work done by the yard may have contributed to their problems, but what good would watching do if you didnt really know what to look for. Many if us are at the mercy of marine contractors who know more about boat issues than we do.
A lot of second guessing is often done by many who are in the boating business and they after all really know better about repairs than most of us, Its why we follow thier advice because it whats they do and we all have different other professions. Because of that its hard to criticise other captains when most of them are like us are not marine professionals and have other jobs we are experts in.
Posters like Maine Sail, Jon Eisenberg,Capt Aaron, Fstbttms, I forget the rigger, are the true marine professionals who post here. We all look at their posts as probably the expertise opinions and put great stock in their views on those issues which they are experts in. I know I do, So then when I use a yard professional hopefully I have been educated by them what to look out for and I value their posts. I like others appreciate Maine Sails how to videos and have looked at all of them, and followed some religiously on my own boat. Because of his videos I have done a few electrical projects I may have let a yard professional do otherwise.
Its important to remember that the rest of us may have a good amount of expertise in other areas to bring to the table like passagemaking, boat bullding, racing sailing, cruising too.
To me it is hard to Monday morning quarterback this guys repairs or choice of who did them, as I dont have the time nor do I work in the industry and I do let others in a yard repair some of my boats issues. This also doesnt make me less than for doing that. I take on the boat projects I feel I can do well myself and that I have time for.
Mainesail said the guy relied entirely too much on the various yards for repairs. That appears to be true. I ask you in your situations, like me who have jobs other than in the marine industry, who cant spend the time repairing your own boats or dont have the expertise, we all rely at some time on these yards for their expertise. We may not have the time, or the resources nor the marine discounts on supplies or network to affect the ultimate decisions on our own boat repairs. We could spend our time working our day jobs and then do our own repairs and then have no sailing time. I am sure thats the situation many of us are in so we used others and the yards to do work for us. Its why I wont criticise this owner for his choices.