I passed the url on this article to the owner/skipper of the boat I'll be crewing back from Bermuda. He has some insight into the possible problems this boat encountered and the solution he implemented when he owned a B 40.7. Thinking his comments might be of interest to those gathered here, I asked his permission to quote from his email to me. It's below:
As near as I can tell, "Making Waves" is a Beneteau First 40.7 (unless
he also traded in recently). It sounds like he dropped his rudder. On
my previous boat which was a 40.7, I noticed that the rudder bearing
bolts were undersized and were enlarging their holes because they had
insufficient bearing surface. I drilled them out to a larger size and
replaced them and sealed them with 5200. The 40.7 used a vectran rope
steering system instead of a chain drive which needed to be tightened to
an extreme level to keep it from slipping (thus loading up the bearing
with the tension in the vectran line running to the quadrant. I had
many problems with this steering system and it was one of the reasons I
sold the boat. The 44.7 has a very large chain drive system (much
better and more reliable) that doesn't require enormous tension to keep
it from slipping like the vectran (high tech) solution.
So far I haven't had any problems with the 44.7's steering and rudder.
However, one can never be too careful. I'll look at the bearing and see
if the screws need to be sized up (I've been inspecting them from time
to time). I will also contact Beneteau and the other owners to see if
anyone else has noticed a problem or implemented a fix.
Other than that, we carry several devices for sealing the rudder post
hole if we have the unfortunate situation of dropping our rudder. One
is a simple nerf football and the second thing is a wax toilet seal. We
also carry back up steering gear.
Thanks for the article.
Note his suggestions for gear to deal with this type of emergency (nerf football
). His comments also exhibit the kind of "attention to detail" that it takes to be safe offshore. Gives me confidence that I'll be sailing with a competent skipper.