I find it interesting that of all the reasons that yachts are abandoned, the loss of a rudder, alone, with the yacht otherwise intact, ranks right up there near, if not at, the top of the list. I also find it noteworthy that while most spend thousands of dollars on safety and emergency gear, a relatively low cost pre-prepared emergency rudder/steering system is rarely, if ever, on the list unless required by regulations, such as those imposed on participants in events such as the TransPac.
Absent the loss of a rudder that also involves major damage to the hull, the loss of a rudder alone need not warrant the abandonment of a yacht. While one might make do with a jury rig for a few hundred mile passage, for any major passage a better alternative is to carry an emergency steering system that, with not too much effort, can be ready to go in an hour or two. A good example of such gear is the SOS Rudder
by Scanmar. This system breaks down into components that can be stowed in a relatively small locker but when needed, quickly assembled and installed on pre-positioned/installed brackets. Moreover, the gear for even a very large yacht (50'+) costs less than $2,600 USD.
Not many years ago some friends of ours, on a return trip from Isla Mujeres following their participation in the annual running of the Regatta del Sol al Sol, lost the rudder on their Hunter 37, Midnight Sun, as the result of a night time collision with a UFO. While it took a little doing, they fashioned a rudder from a spinnaker pole and locker door and managed the yacht for 200+ miles back to Ft. Myers and from their up the ICW to Bradenton where a replacement rudder was installed. It was an exhibit of good seamanship and determination (by "old guys" incidently!). It can be done, but it was somewhat difficult and required an exhausting effort to employ. Much better to be able to assemble an SOS Rudder, drop it into its brackets, and be on ones way.