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Zanshin 03-21-2007 07:41 PM

Losing rudder at sea
Two days ago my rudder blew off without warning at sea - what a bummer! I wish I had a full keel instead of just a fin keel; I tried balancing sails to no avail but as I was only 20 miles from an island in the Caribbean and in 60 feet of water I opted to drop teh hook and call for a tow. I might have been successful in using one of my interior doors and some poles to steer if I had been further offshore but it is awfully disconcerting to have no control at all. I got towed to a harbor and will get the boat hauled and inspected next week to see what caused the rudder to fall off! At least I'm at a dock (next to Morgan Freeman, of all people!) in a warm climate...

camaraderie 03-21-2007 08:06 PM

Zan...bummer! Hope you can get fixed up quickly. Keep us posted on what actually happened. I understand Morgan Freeman is almost as good a sailor as he is an actor. He even put together a stars cookbook to help the victims of Ivan in Grenada. Would be an interesting guy to chat with.
Anyway...good luck Zan and keep us posted.

paulk 03-21-2007 08:13 PM

How hard was the wind blowing to make the rudder blow off? Do you think you hit something, or was the rudderpost simply not strong enough? Did the post break, or did the blade simply drop off of it? What are you sailing? (So we'll know to be on the alert if we see one coming our way...) Please give more details.

PBzeer 03-21-2007 08:33 PM

I've read of using a drouge in combination with the sails on a fin keel boat.

sailingdog 03-21-2007 09:51 PM

What kind of boat do you have and what caused the rudder to fall off???

ianhlnd 03-22-2007 12:30 AM


It's a harrowing experience loosing steering. I lost steering last year or the year before (don't remember, the tide's going out) in a 50kt+ blow with a reef to leaward, I posted it somewhere on sailnet. Used the mizzen for steering.

Sounds like you did the right thing. Save the boat!

Valiente 03-22-2007 12:36 AM

I read an article about Freeman I can't find right now, and as far as sailing goes, he's the real deal: started out in 18-footers in the late '60s and has something nice, like a Shannon or an Island Packet 40 range, now. Apparently, he does a lot of single-handing, and as he's about 70 now, he must be pretty fit.

Gee...I guess the article made an impression, if only because he was a sailor for 20 years *before* Driving Miss Daisy kicked him into the big leagues.

sailingdog 03-22-2007 03:06 AM

Well, I'd imagine that Morgan Freeman can certainly afford a nice boat... Winning an Oscar for Million Dollar Baby probably didn't hurt.

chris_gee 03-22-2007 03:10 AM

It isn't totally unusual to break a rudder. I broke one in moderate conditions like 20 knots. The strains can be considerable.
I also know a guy who broke a new rudder halfway across the Tasman on the first leg of a solo circumnavigation on a H28.
I guess that is why we have to be able to say how we would replace it and why the Pacific race to Hawaii requires a tested replacement rudder.
As I recall 2/80 in the last ARC cross Atlantic rally had to be rescued after breaking rudders. They would have had safety inspections though I doubt they were out of water. Offshore you can't expect to be rescued.

Valiente 03-22-2007 08:51 AM


Originally Posted by sailingdog
Well, I'd imagine that Morgan Freeman can certainly afford a nice boat... Winning an Oscar for Million Dollar Baby probably didn't hurt.

Sure, but my recollection is that it's not a Swan or a Moody or some luxe yacht, but is a fairly standard production boat with some years on it. Like I said, I got the impression he's a real sailor who happens to act, not just a guy with a crew on call to take him out in 10 knots when he feels like getting served a beverage.

But I can't find the article.

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