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post #14 of Old 12-29-2006
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Beacon, New York
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Originally Posted by Giulietta
I learnt many years ago to use just rope as a rudder.

The idea is to tie a lot of rope into a man size mess of rope.
Then from that mess of rope, two cables come to port and starbord winches.

You can, by reducing the lenght of the rope to one side, move the mess of cables to that side and thus cause more drag to that side of the boat, an cause a slow turn.

You can motor an sail with it. Guaranteed.

what you would call that in the US I don't know, but if I translate, its somethimg like "drag drone".
Steering by slowing down the boat doesnít sound like the best way to go. I selected a boat that is balanced enough that I can sail her by balancing the sailplan. This characteristic was one of the reasons I selected the Tartan 34C for offshore sailing. Not only does it provide a backup for steering but it also provides redundancy for the windvane steering system. As a matter of fact my first Atlantic crossing was done without a windvane and the boat sailed the trip by herself just by balancing the sailplan and tying off the tiller. That boat was a 22' Carl Alberg designed Seasprite and she was an unusually balanced design.

Of course on a delivery or sailing on a friendís boat you may not have the advantage of sailing on your first choice of boat so emergency steering is a consideration. I would go with a combination of balancing the sailplan and using a spar and piece of plywood rigged as a sweep. The closer to selfsteering you get with the sailplan the smaller the sweep needs to be and therefore the easer it is to rig and handle.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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