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TheMadchef 08-27-2013 09:49 AM

Lost my rudder!
Hi all,

So. My summer vacation started last Friday and a fellow sailing buddy of mine and I decided to do a little sailing trip (3 days) around Georgian bay, as we often do. He was taking his oday 30 and i was taking my mirage 29. We both had another crew members with us on our boat. We were leaving from separate ports on Thursday night, with the intention of meeting up at a popular anchorage on an island nearby early Friday morning . It was an hour into my sail to the island, around midnight, flying both main and genoa - making about 6.5 knots, I felt and heard a BANG! And suddenly lost all steerage to starboard. We were heading north and the wind was out of the west. The boat started doing right - hand circles. I couldn't keep her on a straight course. Initially I thought it might be part if the steering linkage that failed somewhere between the wheel and rudder. I lifted the cover over the rudder shaft and saw that the wheel was turning the shaft normally. My heart sank immediately as I realized that the problem was now certainly with the rudder itself. I should mention my crew was very inexperienced and knows nothing about sailing, so I was trying to be calm as possible so not to frighten her. I hove to and deployed the swim ladder to have a look/feel. I leaned down and felt under the boat towards the rudder. I got my hand on the rudder and felt ill as I felt on its starboard side a gaping hole and could feel the exposed rudder post with accompanying rebar. It seemed that about 1/4 of the rudder had broken away. The port side of the rudder felt fine. Inside I began freaking out, knowing that this was a huge deal and a) my sailing trip was over and b) I was about 10 miles offshore with a potentially dangerous situation developing. Waves were about 1.5 meters and 15 - 20 knots wind. I was able to somewhat keep the boat on a southwesterly course towards my friends home port about 15 miles away, and figured I would limp there and have him tow me in. I was able to make it within 2 miles of the harbor when the rest of the rudder fell away, shearing the 1 3/4" solid steel rudder post completely. I dropped the main and called my friend who motored out to see about a tow. He decided against a tow with the weather conditions at the time and I called the coast guard who very promptly and professionally came and towed me in. Im guessing i hit a pretty large deadhead or other object and it did the inital damage to the rudder. So now my boat is at a transient slip at a marina not my own, I only have 2 days left before my vacation ends, and am generally pretty bummed out. I haven't been able to find any used rudders or, for that matter any dimensions for the rudder for a mirage 29. Any thoughts?

deniseO30 08-27-2013 10:00 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!
It is possible to sail without a rudder, not easy but possible, and a skill worth learning.

rig up a homemade rudder until you find, buy or make one? New = NOT CHEAP!

smackdaddy 08-27-2013 10:01 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!
78 Attachment(s)
Ouch. Sorry chef. I hope you're able to get her back together soon.

Lousy way to spend a vacation.

deniseO30 08-27-2013 10:06 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!

Freerider 08-27-2013 10:07 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!
It seems like you did alright considering the circumstances, nice work.

Try they're just across the river from me outside of Ottawa. They do custom rudders and might have the dimensions for your rudder.

deniseO30 08-27-2013 10:10 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!

azguy 08-27-2013 10:23 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!
That's a bummer, especially that it ruined you vacation.

I have to ask what a "dead head" is...??

RTB 08-27-2013 10:37 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!

Originally Posted by TheMadchef (Post 1080024)
I haven't been able to find any used rudders or, for that matter any dimensions for the rudder for a mirage 29. Any thoughts?

Bummer! Good job keeping your head, and getting back in.

Give Al a call at Foss Foam Rudders. He may be able to help. Very knowledgeable, and friendly. I just had a new rudder built by them last year. About Us

Water view at low tide | sailing away with R & B

krisscross 08-27-2013 11:18 AM

Re: Lost my rudder!
Looks like you did fine, all things considered.
Sometimes you can jury rig a rudder using a paddle attached to the swim ladder mount - you may have to reduce sail if the ladder mount is not very sturdy - you do not want to rip it out of the transom.

TheMadchef 08-29-2013 02:53 PM

Re: Lost my rudder!
So, after being stranded in another harbor, I decided to make a jury rudder and make the 20NM trip back to my marina.
I made it back safe, here are some pics and a video of my work. Took about 3 hrs to assemble and install the jury rigged rudder.

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