Dog - you mentioned a boathook and vice grips set up. I can see that for a tiller (which I have) to a degree - but how would it work for a wheel? And what's the actual set up for both?
And, as long as the rudder is still on the boat, what are kinds of failures that you can fix, versus the ones that are hopeless?
The problem with Ronnie's boat was that the wheel steering system's rudder quadrant, which is how the wheel turns the rudder, was no longer fixed to the rudder stock/shaft.
This usually happens when the key, a small metal part that registers the quadrant and prevents it from rotating freely, shears off. Chances are likely that the key on this boat was 47 YEARS OLD... Nothing dealing with the wheel would have allowed you to steer the boat, since the wheel was no longer effectively "connected" to the rudder.
The vice grips could be attached to a rudder stock and give you a point to lash/attach the boat hook. The boat hook, provided it was stout enough, would give you the leverage needed to turn the rudder.
I've used vise grips to do just that on a Farrier 9a, when the rudder post casting broke. Not fun...but workable.
BTW, most wheel steered boats have a rudder stock that an emergency tiller can be affixed to. In some cases, the emergency tiller has to be affixed below decks, since there is no good access to the rudder stock on-deck. One problem that occurs on a wheel steered boat, and this actually was part of Ken Barnes's problem, is that if the wheel is damaged/bent, it can often prevent you from being able to turn the rudder. In a case like that, you'd have to disconnect the wheel steering before you could use the emergency tiller.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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