Loss of steering? - SailNet Community

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  • 1 Post By JeremyD6697
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Old 10-18-2010
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Loss of steering?

I havent run into this situation before. I recently "inhereted" a club donated boat. It's been sitting in the water untouched all year. We decided we would sail it back to our home harbor about 12 miles away over the weekend. With some sorting of the previous owners strange rigging, we cast off the mooring and sailed away. We made it a mile or so broad reaching down the channel. When we went to gybe, the helm didn't seem to respond. I walked the boom over and gybed the boat. At this point, the boat began to round up into the wind. I jumped and took over the wheel only to find we had no response from the rudder. My first intinct was to check the connection from the aftermarket edson steering system to the rudder post. The rudder post was responding to the helm perfectly. I hung myself from the back of the boat to see if the rudder was responding. It was tough to see anything, and with a small ecosystem growing on the bottom of the boat, tough to tell if anything was moving. So we struck the main and used the jib only to control the heading as best we could before tossing the hook. What could have caused this? I towed the boat in today and the rudder seemed to respond to the helm as it should.
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Old 10-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyD6697 View Post
....... I hung myself from the back of the boat to see if the rudder was responding. It was tough to see anything, and with a small ecosystem growing on the bottom of the boat, tough to tell if anything was moving. .
That could be your answer right there... a severely fouled bottom and rudder will really affect the boat's controllability. The rudder is a foil and needs attached flow to properly function. Major growth can negate much of that.
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Old 10-19-2010
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I didn't think it could be fouled enough to lose all response from it. And the strange part is we did have some steerage when we cast off from the mooring.

I actually snapped a picture of the transom at the dock when I got the boat in. You can see the rudder here.
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Old 10-19-2010
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I agree with faster...given how fouled the rudder appears to be. You might have had some steerage, but at higher speeds I think the fouling would have worse effects on the steering.
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Jeremy, If the Edson set-up has braided steel cable attached to a quadrant on the rudder head, those cables could be loose which would allow some steering when not under sail but could slip when there are opposing forces on the boat, like while under sail.
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Old 10-19-2010
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There have been times when river sailing and the current or eddies cause no steerage. it's not for long but it happens. Like going round a buoy when racing and the current is pushing hard on the buoy
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Old 10-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chopsy View Post
Jeremy, If the Edson set-up has braided steel cable attached to a quadrant on the rudder head, those cables could be loose which would allow some steering when not under sail but could slip when there are opposing forces on the boat, like while under sail.
This was the first thing I checked. Everything was working as it should. The stub for the tiller was clearly moving as it should with no resistance at all. I've basically concluded that the issue was with the rudder itself.
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