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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > What happens if...
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Thread: What happens if... Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-14-2011 02:23 PM
smurphny I have had an apparent loss of steering a couple of times when hitting a current that matches boat speed hence, no rudder effect. Maybe you lost enough speed to have this happen??? Actually had this happen once right in The Race with the current ripping and thought for sure I had lost the rudder or something.
11-14-2011 01:48 PM
Barquito
Quote:
As she lost speed, you had to turn the wheel or tiller even more to keep her head to windward, and the effect of applying hard rudder was like applying the brakes, slowing her even more.
Except the rudder was stuck nearly centered. I think it was a lobster pot stuck on the rudder, that along with excessive lee-way caused increasing heeling. Once heeled enough, the line slipped free...

Or, maybe Poseidon was just pissed that day.
11-14-2011 10:49 AM
RobGallagher Thanks for the well thought out replies.
11-07-2011 03:37 AM
Ascalon
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
We can't know for sure what happened. We can only give you our best guess. Mine is that the boat was overpowered by the wind and too much sail area while trying to beat to windward, and she was laboring. Here's your description of what happened: "...the boat heeled over further than I think she ever has. Close to a knock down with rail buried DEEP in the water. The boat appeared to stall or slow considerably and the rudder felt like it locked up. I could not steer much at all." In my opinion, excessive heeling caused an increase in drag, and that, along with the wave chop, gradually reduced her speed. As she gradually lost speed, she gradually lost lift over the surfaces of the keel and rudder, and at some point, her aerodynamic and hydrodynamic surfaces (the keel, rudder and sails) stalled. As she lost speed, you had to turn the wheel or tiller even more to keep her head to windward, and the effect of applying hard rudder was like applying the brakes, slowing her even more.
I would endorse this as the most likely explanation.

I also note that your first action to shorten sail was to furl the jib. In boats with rolling furlers I know this is the most tempting option when having to shorten sail, but it's not always the best. In my experience, on a lot of broad-beamed cruising yachts the headsail is extremely vital to pointing ability under heavy conditions.

I think that by doing so you exacerbated already heavy weather helm and is perhaps part of the reason why you experienced such a delayed recovery.

In such conditions, by all means take in some headsail - but leave yourself something to work with, and don't be afraid to reef the main if you're overpowered. On big ponderous boats, generally the improved control gained by leaving some headsail out is well worth the extra canvas.
11-06-2011 01:36 PM
WDS123 Good idea to ease the sails and head down.


My guess is that your loss of rudder control was due to the rudder ending up in a hydrodynamic state of 'chaos' - either cavitation, out of the water, or heeled over enough for rudder to be 'near horizontal' ; all might cause temporary loss of rudder.

I am betting that the rudder was partially out of the water and at an angle far from vertical.
11-06-2011 12:03 PM
paulk We have a friend whose steering gear "locked up" on him. Seems he forgot he'd turned on the autopilot...
11-05-2011 10:18 PM
RobGallagher
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Tiller or wheel? Could something in the lazarette have tumbled in the knockdown and blocked the steering system? and it fell free once you righted?
hmmm.... Never thought of that. Will have a look tomorrow.
11-05-2011 12:12 PM
Faster Tiller or wheel? Could something in the lazarette have tumbled in the knockdown and blocked the steering system? and it fell free once you righted?
11-05-2011 11:14 AM
RobGallagher Thanks for your replies. And thanks for reading that long winded description of what happened

@Sailorman, Good assessment. The only thing is, when I looked over the stern I could see that the rudder was near center but would not turn.

@sawingknots, could not have touched bottom, I was close to a shallow area but well outside the buoy.
11-05-2011 10:25 AM
sawingknots maybe you touched the bottem and the the momentum[sic] of the boat carried it over and past
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