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  #1  
Old 05-20-2008
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Steering Without A Rudder

I recently viewed Giu's video on steering without a rudder. And yes, I realize that there is a thread devoted to comments on these videos.
This is not directly a comment on his video as much as a follow up question.
I hope he returns soon so that he might elaborate for me.

Iím not sure that the video shouldnít be called sailing without a wheel or tiller. The techniques that were employed in the video didnít work for me.

I was on a boat in the not too distant past that actually lost its rudder.
I gotta tell you. There was no steering that boat.
We were on a broad reach with only the Genoa flying and fighting a good amount of weather helm.
Anyway, all of a sudden the wheel went dead in my hands. The boat came about twice before I could even get the Genoa rolled up. I looked aft and saw; about 100 yards astern a bottom painted blue oval shape bobbing in the seas.
I know that I should have tried to balance things out by setting some main and reefing the headsail, but it was blowing 25 to 30 knots and the wheel was manageable.
Once the rudder fell off, there seemed to be nothing I could do to keep that boat from heading up.
I donít think I would have had the same experience with a full keel boat as opposed to a fin keel. The loss of the rudder on this boat just seemed to prevent it from being able to go through the water in anything that approached a straight line.
You should have seen the fiasco of being towed into Coinjock.
It was too rough to hip-tow until we got out of open water so the poor guy had to fight this 40+ foot boat swinging back and forth up to 120%. It took over 2 hours to be towed three miles.
I donít really know if there is anything that one could do except maybe use the main salon table as a makeshift rudder. I tried dragging warps, putting up sail, nothing worked to be able to control the course of that boat.
Anyone have any Ideas?
Alex?
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Old 05-20-2008
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Knothead-

Flying only a genny should give you lee helm, not weather helm as a general rule. Of course, losing the rudder moves the center of lateral resistance forward, since the rudder is a large portion of the underwater lateral plane on a fin keeled boat.

Towing a drogue, with more resistance than plain warps, from a bridle would have probably allowed you to keep the boat on a relatively straight course.
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Old 05-20-2008
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I have always wondered, that if you were towing a dinghy and you lost your rudder, if you attached an anchor to the dingy and put it out to say 20 feet. If that would be enough drag at the stern to allow use of sails and mover the lateral plane...
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How doe one find out about a rudder construction on a sailboat that is not manufactured anymore?
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Old 05-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artbyjody View Post
I have always wondered, that if you were towing a dinghy and you lost your rudder, if you attached an anchor to the dingy and put it out to say 20 feet. If that would be enough drag at the stern to allow use of sails and mover the lateral plane...
Jody, I reckon it would.. especially when you got to shallow water - then you'd probably lose the dinghy!

.. but, as SD mentioned, you need to tow something. The best is trailing a drogue - or your anchor chain without the anchor on it.

It depends on the boat as to how well you can control the boat, but I wouldn't agree that having a full keel would make life easier. We were taught as beginners how to sail centreboard dinghies with the rudder up and they don't have full keels.

In Knotheads case, after putting the brakes on I'd suggest changing the headsail for something a lot smaller and backing/freeing it to steer. You might need the main up though.. dunno. it depends on the trim of the boat.
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Old 05-21-2008
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I had a similar experience with a lost rudder and found my fin-keeled 43 foot boat to be unmanageable. I had a longer tow from a twin engined powerful boat and even though I deployed pretty much every warp, bucket and drag-producing device off the stern I was still going through at least 120 degrees and we had a tow bridle set up.

I think that there is a HUGE difference between steering a fin-keeled boat without using the rudder and steering the same fin-keeled boat that is missing the rudder. The surface area of the rudder is quite large compared to the surface area of the fin keel rudder and the two are separated by just a bit less than half the hull length. Having both lateral surfaces gives a lot of directional stability, whereas if the rudder aft is missing then the fin keel acts like more of a pivot than anything else.
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Old 05-21-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Knothead-Flying only a genny should give you lee helm, not weather helm as a general rule.

Yeah, that's what I would have thought.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin
I had a similar experience with a lost rudder and found my fin-keeled 43 foot boat to be unmanageable. I had a longer tow from a twin engined powerful boat and even though I deployed pretty much every warp, bucket and drag-producing device off the stern I was still going through at least 120 degrees and we had a tow bridle set up.

I think that there is a HUGE difference between steering a fin-keeled boat without using the rudder and steering the same fin-keeled boat that is missing the rudder. The surface area of the rudder is quite large compared to the surface area of the fin keel rudder and the two are separated by just a bit less than half the hull length. Having both lateral surfaces gives a lot of directional stability, whereas if the rudder aft is missing then the fin keel acts like more of a pivot than anything else.

That was pretty much the experience I had. I even thought about having the guy tow us backwards.
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Knothead-

What kind of boat was this??? If the rudder was large enough and the keel small enough in area, the CLR could have shifted forward enough that a large genny would give weather helm. That would probably be the case on Gui's boat if he lost his rudder, since the fin keel on his boat is really just a thin strut supporting a bulb...rather than a keel with any real surface area.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Knothead-

What kind of boat was this??? If the rudder was large enough and the keel small enough in area, the CLR could have shifted forward enough that a large genny would give weather helm. That would probably be the case on Gui's boat if he lost his rudder, since the fin keel on his boat is really just a thin strut supporting a bulb...rather than a keel with any real surface area.
It was a fairly modern (2001), wing keel, production boat. Built in the U.S.

Don't want to name it though.
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Old 05-21-2008
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Last time I heard this being bounced around, the consensus seemed to be that the best jerry-rig would be to use a spinnaker or whisker pole with some large u-bolts (kept for that purpose) to affix a door or table (pre-drilled) to the end of the pole, and then using that "steering board" deployed from the stern, so the board was as far aft of the boat as possible in order to get more leverage against the pivoting on the keel.

Apparently a lot depends on the hull shape and stability and balance, or lack thereof. A boat that balances well and steers well under just sail trim (with no rudder effort) should do better than one which always needs some rudder. But I don't think I know anyone who would be willing to drop their rudder and then go out for practice.[g]
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