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post #21 of Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

I hope I never know, what it's like but I don't think I will give up so easy as stated in the Captain's blog. There is plenty of stuff out there to help learn what to do without a rudder. again.. I just don't know. I'm not saying they should not of jumped ship without a try. They were even in touch with a wooden boat sailor but I'm sure would have some woodworking skills and tools and did offer to come to their aid. Minds are often lost in difficult situations.

L1 TECHNIQUES and MANEUVERS - Reefing, Sailing without a centerboard or rudder
Sailing without a rudder
The basic principle of sailing rudderless is to use the effects of sails and boat balance to steer. You'll find it much easier to do if you reduce the number of variables to a minimum.

1. Tell your crew to sit motionless on the boat's centerline and well forward, only moving if you decided.
2. Knot the jib sheets together to make them easier to handle and if you are sailing in light winds, reduce the number of purchases in the mainsheet for more positive control.
3. Raise the centerboard by a third to move the center of lateral resistance aft. This will reduce the sensitivity of the boat to your movements

Sail to a clear stretch of water then, with mainsheet in one hand and jib sheets in the other, you're ready to start. Begin on a reach and find out how changes in sail trim affect the course sailed.

Every type of boat responds differently, but you'll find that the mainsail has far more effect in causing the boat to luff than the jib has in helping to bear away, hence the centerboard position.

You will also find that sheeting in the mainsail alone will be enough to make you tack, but that bearing away will require the combined effect of the jib and windward heel. With practice, you will be able to handle the boat on any point of sailing.

To a distant observer, it should appear that the rudder is still in place, so positive is the boat handling. You should have no difficulty in either sailing to windward, tacking or gybing.


Rudderless Drill
Rudderless Drill
Reprinted from "Fundamentals of Sailing, Cruising, & Racing" by Steve Colgate; published by W.W. Norton & Co.
Another drill one hopes never to have to use is sailing without a rudder. Though you may sail 20 years without loosing your rudder at sea, it could happen your first time out. You can control the direction of the boat by changing the efficiency of the sails fore and aft. By luffing the jib and trimming the main, we create weather helm and the boat turns into the wind. By luffing the main and flattening the jib, the wind pushes the bow to leeward - in other words, lee helm. To practice this, trim your jib reasonably flat and ease your mainsail until the boat is balanced and sails straight ahead when the helm is released. Then change your course by trimming the main to head up and pushing the boom out to fall off. When the bow starts swinging in one direction, you must immediately begin the opposite procedures to counteract the swing.....

"Next best thing to not having a boat? The knowledge from having one!" Denise, Bristol PA, On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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