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  #11  
Old 02-28-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

From my arm-chair-quarterback position... I would have to agree. Balance the sails, trail whatever, and make way for land.
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Old 02-28-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Pretty sad story. The first rudder hit a submerged object. It was "repaired" with poor workmanship and poor welding. It failed pretty quickly but like the first time they made it to shore for repairs.. They then had the rudder re-built a second time and again a sad case of sloppy workmanship clearly caused the rudder to fall off completely...

I doubt we'll ever know much about the rudder repairs as Jim seems like a pretty hands off guy and very trusting of the yard monkeys.. In this case the term MONKEY'S might be a compliment to the schmucks who screwed him over...... Very sad story, but at least they are safe...
I'm not really a big fan of arm chair quarterbacking other peoples misfortunes (schadenfreude) so I posted this more as a cautionary tale of what can happen.
I think that MS makes a good point that the owner was a "hands off guy" and relied entirely too much on various boat yards to fix this recurring problem.
This unfortunate event also highlights the need for having a backup plan for steering as others have noted.
I am almost surprised that no one has made the arm chair comment: "Why did they not scuttle the boat?" as was done on the csbb forum. I am now thinking that there is, or will be, a fairly nice boat missing only a rudder that will be available to salvage.
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  #13  
Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
I'm not really a big fan of arm chair quarterbacking other peoples misfortunes (schadenfreude) so I posted this more as a cautionary tale of what can happen.
I think that MS makes a good point that the owner was a "hands off guy" and relied entirely too much on various boat yards to fix this recurring problem.
This unfortunate event also highlights the need for having a backup plan for steering as others have noted.
I am almost surprised that no one has made the arm chair comment: "Why did they not scuttle the boat?" as was done on the csbb forum. I am now thinking that there is, or will be, a fairly nice boat missing only a rudder that will be available to salvage.
It seemed like the sailors were ill prepared for the voyage just on what was said. A voyage across the Atlantic. On abandoning a boat not sinking rather easily makes me wonder, did they really want to save the boat. I dont know just a feeeling. I think a more experieced captain and crew would have affected a different solution. Or even had maybe a makeshift rudder or constructed one to get then to safe harbor. Didnt appear they were in imminent danger with a hurricane bearing down on them. Reading the blog I am amazed they set off on a 22 day crossing with what looked like a very inexperienced crew.

Agree about not watching the work done by the yard may have contributed to their problems, but what good would watching do if you didnt really know what to look for. Many if us are at the mercy of marine contractors who know more about boat issues than we do.

A lot of second guessing is often done by many who are in the boating business and they after all really know better about repairs than most of us, Its why we follow thier advice because it whats they do and we all have different other professions. Because of that its hard to criticise other captains when most of them are like us are not marine professionals and have other jobs we are experts in.

Posters like Maine Sail, Jon Eisenberg,Capt Aaron, Fstbttms, I forget the rigger, are the true marine professionals who post here. We all look at their posts as probably the expertise opinions and put great stock in their views on those issues which they are experts in. I know I do, So then when I use a yard professional hopefully I have been educated by them what to look out for and I value their posts. I like others appreciate Maine Sails how to videos and have looked at all of them, and followed some religiously on my own boat. Because of his videos I have done a few electrical projects I may have let a yard professional do otherwise.

Its important to remember that the rest of us may have a good amount of expertise in other areas to bring to the table like passagemaking, boat bullding, racing sailing, cruising too.

To me it is hard to Monday morning quarterback this guys repairs or choice of who did them, as I dont have the time nor do I work in the industry and I do let others in a yard repair some of my boats issues. This also doesnt make me less than for doing that. I take on the boat projects I feel I can do well myself and that I have time for.

Mainesail said the guy relied entirely too much on the various yards for repairs. That appears to be true. I ask you in your situations, like me who have jobs other than in the marine industry, who cant spend the time repairing your own boats or dont have the expertise, we all rely at some time on these yards for their expertise. We may not have the time, or the resources nor the marine discounts on supplies or network to affect the ultimate decisions on our own boat repairs. We could spend our time working our day jobs and then do our own repairs and then have no sailing time. I am sure thats the situation many of us are in so we used others and the yards to do work for us. Its why I wont criticise this owner for his choices.
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  #14  
Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
That's a great story Caleb. One of the main points of vulnerability on any boat seems to be the rudder..
Perhaps another argument for the full keeled boat and/or the skeg-hung rudder? My rudder could be damaged if it were deflected to the side (as in a poorly balanced boat under sail) and the object was submerged and to the side of the rudder, but with a full keel I don't think the object could as easily damage my rudder as it could a fin-keeler.

Also perhaps another argument for a devided rig. I've used my backwinded mizzen sail to turn the boat 180 deg before when our engine was disabled and there was no forward boat speed due to the true wind being only 0.5kt. I imagine a ketch or yawl would be much easier to try and sail without a rudder than a sloop.



If not an argument for a full keeled ketch, it definitely is one for a self steering that also doubles as a rudder or a dedicated emergency rudder (required by most ocean races).

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Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

I'm no stranger to armchair critics, pilots do it all the time and usually the end result is good for the critics. It's not a bad thing to do, as it usually can result in people truly evaluating what they would do in that circumstance and how they would prevent it. There are some educational aspects of it, provided you keep it reasonable.

The educational lesson here is to be better equipped if you lose the rudder. I also think that the captain handled himself fairly well, in the situation anyway. He let someone know what was going on, where they were, and left his options open. He then disregarded his interest in the boat and accepted rescue when the alternative was far riskier and more strenuous to himself and the crew. He should have been more involved in the repairs from the start and he should have realized, especially after having problems several times, that there should be some alternative rudder in case it fails again.

That said, I find it ludicrous that most of you would turn down a rescue for the sake of a boat when there is a crew on board, no rudder, and rising seas. Especially after having been told your current location has very little commercial and pleasure traffic, so chances of another rescue would be slim. Would you really risk the circumstance and put yourself and the crew through that type of situation and with those risks? For what? Your boat? Your pride? It is the height of arrogance and selfishness to put the needs of the boat (and your interest in the boat) above that of your crew. The safe decision was to abandon ship and accept failure.

They likely could have survived and finished the journey, but they would have had a higher risk of bigger problems down the line. There are plenty of people who have had to do this and will probably be more in the future, but it doesn't mean that continuing on is always the right decision. I'd have done the same thing he did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Also perhaps another argument for a devided rig. I've used my backwinded mizzen sail to turn the boat 180 deg before when our engine was disabled and there was no forward boat speed due to the true wind being only 0.5kt. I imagine a ketch or yawl would be much easier to try and sail without a rudder than a sloop.
I would imagine that the rudder acts as a lateral stabilizing force when in place, as part of the design of the boat. As a result, I don't think your ability to steer without a rudder (or keep a straight course!) would be as good. In other words, testing on a boat with the rudder in place may yield different results than one without the rudder.

That's just a theory, though.
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  #16  
Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
It seemed like the sailors were ill prepared for the voyage just on what was said. A voyage across the Atlantic. On abandoning a boat not sinking rather easily makes me wonder, did they really want to save the boat. I dont know just a feeeling. I think a more experieced captain and crew would have affected a different solution. Or even had maybe a makeshift rudder or constructed one to get then to safe harbor. Didnt appear they were in imminent danger with a hurricane bearing down on them. Reading the blog I am amazed they set off on a 22 day crossing with what looked like a very inexperienced crew.

Agree about not watching the work done by the yard may have contributed to their problems, but what good would watching do if you didnt really know what to look for. Many if us are at the mercy of marine contractors who know more about boat issues than we do.

A lot of second guessing is often done by many who are in the boating business and they after all really know better about repairs than most of us, Its why we follow thier advice because it whats they do and we all have different other professions. Because of that its hard to criticise other captains when most of them are like us are not marine professionals and have other jobs we are experts in.

Posters like Maine Sail, Jon Eisenberg,Capt Aaron, Fstbttms, I forget the rigger, are the true marine professionals who post here. We all look at their posts as probably the expertise opinions and put great stock in their views on those issues which they are experts in. I know I do, So then when I use a yard professional hopefully I have been educated by them what to look out for and I value their posts. I like others appreciate Maine Sails how to videos and have looked at all of them, and followed some religiously on my own boat. Because of his videos I have done a few electrical projects I may have let a yard professional do otherwise.

Its important to remember that the rest of us may have a good amount of expertise in other areas to bring to the table like passagemaking, boat bullding, racing sailing, cruising too.

To me it is hard to Monday morning quarterback this guys repairs or choice of who did them, as I dont have the time nor do I work in the industry and I do let others in a yard repair some of my boats issues. This also doesnt make me less than for doing that. I take on the boat projects I feel I can do well myself and that I have time for.

Mainesail said the guy relied entirely too much on the various yards for repairs. That appears to be true. I ask you in your situations, like me who have jobs other than in the marine industry, who cant spend the time repairing your own boats or dont have the expertise, we all rely at some time on these yards for their expertise. We may not have the time, or the resources nor the marine discounts on supplies or network to affect the ultimate decisions on our own boat repairs. We could spend our time working our day jobs and then do our own repairs and then have no sailing time. I am sure thats the situation many of us are in so we used others and the yards to do work for us. Its why I wont criticise this owner for his choices.

Dave,

To be clear I DO NOT FAULT JIM FOR BEING HANDS OFF. Many owners are.

I AM however MMQBing the yard monkeys who clearly exacted PISS POOR repair work. Twice Jim was able to get his boat and crew safely back to shore WITHOUT a rudder..

There is not a single CS-36T we've been able to come up with that has lost a rudder other than Jim's boat. That is hundreds and hundreds of boats built beginning in the mid 70's and not another failure... LOTS of these boats have been around the world, crossed the ponds and sailed in extreme weather including ours. Still not a single lost rudder other than Jim's, suffered by hitting a submerged object..

The original "factory rudder" failure was caused by hitting a SUBMERGED OBJECT which possibly could have just as easily punched a hole in just about any fiberglass hull had it not hit where it had.

For two subsequent rudders to fail in a matter of days after launch can only point to ONE THING and that is CRAPPY & SUBSTANDARD WORK..... Two "repaired" failed rudders in a matter of weeks can't point to much else.. The second one failed in quite benign conditions and simply "floated away".......

I suppose my take away/lesson from this, if I was cruising in a far off place, is to physically ship my old stock to the US and have someone like Phil's Foils or Foss Foam start from scratch and build a brand new one using the old stock for the drilling template. I would probably also get in touch with Ray Wall, the original designer, to consult and get drawings for a brand new one. If Ray was not available then someone like Bob Perry or Roger Long etc...
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  #17  
Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shinook View Post
I'm no stranger to armchair critics, pilots do it all the time and usually the end result is good for the critics. It's not a bad thing to do, as it usually can result in people truly evaluating what they would do in that circumstance and how they would prevent it. There are some educational aspects of it, provided you keep it reasonable.

The educational lesson here is to be better equipped if you lose the rudder. I also think that the captain handled himself fairly well, in the situation anyway. He let someone know what was going on, where they were, and left his options open. He then disregarded his interest in the boat and accepted rescue when the alternative was far riskier and more strenuous to himself and the crew. He should have been more involved in the repairs from the start and he should have realized, especially after having problems several times, that there should be some alternative rudder in case it fails again.

That said, I find it ludicrous that most of you would turn down a rescue for the sake of a boat when there is a crew on board, no rudder, and rising seas. Especially after having been told your current location has very little commercial and pleasure traffic, so chances of another rescue would be slim. Would you really risk the circumstance and put yourself and the crew through that type of situation and with those risks? For what? Your boat? Your pride? It is the height of arrogance and selfishness to put the needs of the boat (and your interest in the boat) above that of your crew. The safe decision was to abandon ship and accept failure.

They likely could have survived and finished the journey, but they would have had a higher risk of bigger problems down the line. There are plenty of people who have had to do this and will probably be more in the future, but it doesn't mean that continuing on is always the right decision. I'd have done the same thing he did.



I would imagine that the rudder acts as a lateral stabilizing force when in place, as part of the design of the boat. As a result, I don't think your ability to steer without a rudder (or keep a straight course!) would be as good. In other words, testing on a boat with the rudder in place may yield different results than one without the rudder.

That's just a theory, though.
Quote:
I'm no stranger to armchair critics, pilots do it all the time and usually the end result is good for the critics.
Lets hope they do a better job of critical thinking flying your plane than this as it appears not only did you miss the most critical evidence IMHO you felt the need to belittle others opinions with arrogance, which is not necessary, and may prevent the educational experience for others who may want to express an opinion.

The educational lesson here may really be to have the enough experienced crew to set out accross the Atlantic. In reading this and another report including their first rescue it is apparent that the crew of 4 really only had one person with enough skill to handle this adventure. Had he become incapacitated, the only recourse the crew would have had at that point would have been to be rescued and give up the vessel. IMHO not a good plan. A plane crossing the Atlantic has more than a Captain and then a crew
of flight attendants. There are others with experience of flying the plane to releive the Captain.

The couple who came on board had virtually zero experience. The captain and his wife/ companion split thier watch so each took an inexperience person. This to cross the Atlantic? I mean we are not talking coastal cruising here. The crew was sick from the get go. One wanted to leave almost immediately and the second wasnt far behind. Leave and leave the Captain with 3 people...not a safe situation. The Captain should have turned around and headed back then and dropped the landlubbers asses on land or stay close to the coast until they felt better and then pressed on. Maybe his rudder issues would have popped up close to shoer again. Instead he pressed on. He didnt know if they would get better, he pressed on with 3 quesy sick crew members with little experience. This is lesson number 1. If crew safety was the issue...it should have started here.

The rudder failure being caused by poor workmanship. Not sure where that was identified as the reason. I am sure its a good theory as it was an issue point before, and before it was hit by an object in the water. Also to assumn he was hands off....where does that information come from? I have read the logs, and cant find that. Can someone point me to what I may have missed?

As a side note and as far as the reports of increasing seas and impending weather...you know that contradicts what was found at the scene and the Captains statement,

The last picture of Viewfinder drifting away, lost at sea

From the Captain of the Viewfinder

Quote:
Luckily, the rescue took place during the day and the weather conditions were good,” Laverdière said. “There were a couple of tense moments, but our lives were never in danger
.”
Pointe Claire couple rescued at sea for second time | West Island Gazette

Even with the calm conditions found at the rescue, short of the Captain and his inexperienced crew fashioning a temporary rudder to steer Viewfinder, there was no hope. The Captains actions after the problem occured seemed ok and he certainly recovered his ability to put the crews safety first finally, I would agree. The more I read the more I understood the lack of experience other than him on the boat, and they were too far out to get to safe refuge. I get that.

So it looks from the posts that hes got his insurance money and hes looking for anew boat to continue his adventures. I hope he has learned about taking inexperienced crew.
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Old 03-01-2013
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Dave,
To be clear I DO NOT FAULT JIM FOR BEING HANDS OFF. Many owners are.
I am not sure where you beleive I said you faulted Jim for being hands off. You clearly didnt. In fact I agreed with you 100%. So whats the issue here. I was paying you a compliment.

Heres what I wrote;
Quote:
Agree about not watching the work done by the yard may have contributed to their problems, but what good would watching do if you didnt really know what to look for. Many if us are at the mercy of marine contractors who know more about boat issues than we do.
Quote:
Posters like Maine Sail, Jon Eisenberg,Capt Aaron, Fstbttms, I forget the rigger, are the true marine professionals who post here. We all look at their posts as probably the expertise opinions and put great stock in their views on those issues which they are experts in. I know I do, So then when I use a yard professional hopefully I have been educated by them what to look out for and I value their posts. I like others appreciate Maine Sails how to videos and have looked at all of them, and followed some religiously on my own boat. Because of his videos I have done a few electrical projects I may have let a yard professional do otherwise
.

Quote:
Mainesail said the guy relied entirely too much on the various yards for repairs. That appears to be true. I ask you in your situations, like me who have jobs other than in the marine industry, who cant spend the time repairing your own boats or dont have the expertise, we all rely at some time on these yards for their expertise.
What I wrote is how I feel. I dont have the expertise. I dont have the experience in repairs and I think most are like me. Because you do have the expertise you dont think like me. I was expressing that many of us are at the mercy of these " yard monkeys" as you refer to them. Even if I watched them 100% of the time while they did repairs ( which I cant as I have another job) I might not be able to catch substandard work or improper techniques. many of us are at the mercy of these marine maintainence yards and technitions. Sailnet helps as we frequently get recommendations from you as well as others on reputable people.
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
I am not sure where you beleive I said you faulted Jim for being hands off. You clearly didnt. In fact I agreed with you 100%. So whats the issue here. I was paying you a compliment.

Heres what I wrote;


.



What I wrote is how I feel. I dont have the expertise. I dont have the experience in repairs and I think most are like me. Because you do have the expertise you dont think like me. I was expressing that many of us are at the mercy of these " yard monkeys" as you refer to them. Even if I watched them 100% of the time while they did repairs ( which I cant as I have another job) I might not be able to catch substandard work or improper techniques. many of us are at the mercy of these marine maintainence yards and technitions. Sailnet helps as we frequently get recommendations from you as well as others on reputable people.
Chef,

My point was not at all to single you out or take your post out of context. I am sorry if it appeared that way. I just wanted to "nip the bud" before people were thinking I am criticizing Jim for being hands off...

My info comes from Jim himself and what he types...

"The first incident happened between Portugal and Madeira. We hit a submerged object that took out a fist sized chunk of the keel, hit the rudder, and tore of the towline and prop of my towed electrical generator. The cracking noise that I heard, I put off to the shear pin on the towed generator as I had not lost any steering control at this time. It is designed to break at 300lbs of pressure, and the manual does say that it has been know for sharks to take these. This happened mid afternoon.

Later that evening there was a strong gust of wind, heeling the boat over, which put pressure on the rudder , loosening it from the post. The rudder did not fall off till 02:00, these things always happen in the dark. I can assure you that the whole rudder was gone, there was no "emergency stub".

We had a new rudder built in Madeira and yes that one failed as well, I was told that the welds on the new stainless steel frame that was built were faulty, and when pressure was put on the rudder, after being back winded, it failed leaving the rudder hanging horizontally , causing the boat to go into 3 uncontrolled gybes, breaking the boom in half. However when this one broke, I did have an "emergency stub" left to steer with. I am presently in Mindelo in the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa, where my new rudder was installed yesterday, and I go back in the water today.
cheers Jim."



It is my feeling that Jim was really screwed over by these yards who "fixed" his rudder and I find it a sad state of our world that folks who tend to be "hands off" can get so royally screwed that it causes them to lose their boat....

These TWO rudders NEVER should have failed as they did... We have 36 years of evidence that shows the original design was extremely well executed so for TWO failures in a few weeks time that only points to shoddy workman ship or work done by people entirely unqualified to do so...

My immediate questions about these repairs are most basic. How do you even begin to repair a rudder stock when you have no clue what SS it was made from? What welding rod do you use on an unknown grade of SS? What grade webbing stock do you use? Do you just guess? Apparently they did and they guessed wrong......
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Re: Rudder lost at sea and rescue

Did the folks saying they should have stayed with the boat miss this part of the account?

The boat was heading in a north, north east direction, the opposite of where we wanted to go, we were over 600 nautical miles from Mindelo, our departure point and that would have been against wind and waves. The Canaries would have been our closest landfall, but it was nearly 1300 miles away and we were only doing 1.5 knots, a very long time to get there.

I have never been on a boat that lost a rudder. I hope I never will. But I've met people who have, including two guys who sailed 150 miles back to land using a drogue. It's pretty far from a cakewalk and doubtful they would have been able to keep a normal watch schedule.

Even if they were to better their boat speed and still hold a fairly stead course they would be adding, what, two weeks to a passage through an area with few options for rescue?

Whoever said the skipper made the correct call by putting life before property was absolutely right. I'm glad the weather was calm. Effecting a rescue in good conditions kept everyone safe.
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