Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

This is why I would never have a boat with a skeg-hung rudder. They're deathtraps. Spade only, thank you.

Seriously, I think Group's comment above about the autopilot in rough seas is likely more a culprit than anything else in these rudder failures. In our recent 150-mile off-shore run we had 8'-12' seas left-over from a big blow (though the winds were down to 20-25knots when we headed out). We were in a Pearson 365, with the seas on our starboard bow - and a ram-drive autopilot engaged. The seas eased over the next 24 hours...BUT...

Early the next morning, in seas of only 6' or so, the boat curved off-course. We corrected and re-set the AP, only to have it happen again. I opened the lazarette and saw the problem...the drive unit had been ripped off its base. I was glad that was the weak link.

The conditions were sporty - but certainly not that bad. There is obviously a lot of force going on with the AP. And this would certainly explain many of the rudder failures we've seen recently.

I have a ram-drive on my boat. I won't be using the AP in heavy seas. I'll hang on a drogue. I've learned my lesson.


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post #22 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Best to have a big bag of tricks and start using them one at a time, and quickly!!

Something from the medical profession that I keep abord the boat is 3M Scotchcast fiberglass casting tape. Basically, you open the package, dip the roll in water, apply the tape and a couple minutes later you have solid fiberglass. Seems like it could come in handy. For the rudder, you could just pound the whole roll into the hole.

They also make a slightly less rigid casting material that can be cut with EMT shears called "Scotchcast soft cast". For actual casting purposes aboard this would be infinitely preferable because cutting a regular cast off without a specialized saw is difficult, and if the extremity swells, it can die if the cast isn't cut off.

They also market the same stuff to vets, probably much less expensive too. Though the human grade stuff isn't too expensive either....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnvDLnVDKCw#t=174

Buy them here, split a box with your buddy.
https://www.mooremedical.com/index.c...PID=4159&spx=1

MedSailor
I had forgotten about that stuff. The last time I broke something (my elbow), they used that stuff and as they were putting it on and watching it harden, I was thinking the same thing, that this stuff could have a lot of other uses besides medical casting.

Have to get me some!

On the northern Gulf of Mexico.


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post #23 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

I'm following this thread because a Malo is going to be our next boat. I read their blog from the beginning, when they started out from Sweden in 2007. They had autopilot problems that delayed their start and had autopilot problems periodically over the next several years.

What I think you're saying (correct me if it's wrong), is that the autopilot forced the rudder to keep functioning even after there may have been a problem with the rudder, so that what might have been a small issue and easy to fix (maybe, maybe not) became what it did because it wasn't fixed and wasn't noticed?

Donna


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post #24 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

To play devil's advocate here, why would an autopilot that is working hard produce forces that are any different than a servo pendulum windvane that is working hard?

I could see a trim tab windvane or separate vane like the hydrovane being different, but the gold standard for heavy weather steering is the servo-pendulum which uses water forces applied to the rudder quadrant (usually transferred through the wheel) to steer the boat.

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post #25 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

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Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
I'm following this thread because a Malo is going to be our next boat. I read their blog from the beginning, when they started out from Sweden in 2007. They had autopilot problems that delayed their start and had autopilot problems periodically over the next several years.

What I think you're saying (correct me if it's wrong), is that the autopilot forced the rudder to keep functioning even after there may have been a problem with the rudder, so that what might have been a small issue and easy to fix (maybe, maybe not) became what it did because it wasn't fixed and wasn't noticed?
That, or the seas were putting a lot of strain on the rudder, that the AP was just dealing with by brute force, where a human steering in the same conditions, would have probably decided to try out some alternate courses, sail plans, etc. to get that strain off of the rudder.

As I alluded to earlier, I don't think it's good for the weakest link in your AP-rudder system to be the rudder. Better to have the AP break first and a case for having an AP that is actually undersized for your boat.

If that's what even happened here, which we don't know.
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On the northern Gulf of Mexico.


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Last edited by Group9; 07-01-2014 at 12:07 PM.
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post #26 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

ive seen a lot of cases of the ap overriding and causing damage to quadrants, gears, breaking stuff etc on cruising boats

its important to design a weak link in the attachment point bewteen the ram arm and steering quadrant or whatever method you have down below...a sacrificial pin can and will save you from damage

while aps mostly sail better and straigher than a human what an ap will never have (yet( is eyes...

it stlll cant see when it has to let go in cases and give it all its might...thats why Im adamant on steering by hand in heavy seas having a watch looking aft at all times if you have crew(big trades) or all around on other points.

back in the day of moitessier this meant a dome and hand steering inside...

most pendulum windvanes get overpowered and end up giving a cheek to big rollers causing in many cases an unwanted broach...

I clearly remember pushing the tiller hard over, or pulling with all my might at an aries tilller steered boat when in really heavy seas or waves...it just needed more help did fine 99 percent of the time.

the autopilot worked well it was an under deck ram arm...but the owner refused to use it from experience in these situations fearing damage to one part or another of the steering system or in fact overworking the AP.

just saying

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post #27 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

I think the real takeaway here, that we're all missing is that this never would have happened to a Brent Swain (tm) boat.

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post #28 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

Don't know the sea state in this scenario. Sailing in 8-10' with 25-35kts. is what this boat is made for. Malo, although now defunct, has an excellent rep. There is not unlikely another piece to this puzzle. Many spade rudder boats ( mine included) have post go into very heavily built structure which rises to or slightly above waterline. Similarly, given the predominance of APs there is usually a thought out transverse or heavy fore/aft stringer appropriately placed to accept the baseplate of the AP and install of AP achieved in fashion to transfer loading to that stringer.
Offer the following thoughts
I want the linkages in the AP at least as strong as the direct drive linkages going to my wheel. Although, there is a emergency tiller if the wheel steering fails I expect to go to the AP before the emergency tiller. I will not often hand steer below 10' seas or 35kts. To tiring unless you have enough crew to take 15m shifts. Save it for when weather worsens ( which some how it always does). I will hand steer in those circumstances if surfing frequently and changing sensitivity of AP doesn't allow appropriate handling of the boat. Boat and systems should be robust enough to handle this set of conditions.
I suspect the layup between the partial skeg and the canoe body failed. On this site in other threads many have casted aspersions about balanced spade rudders. They should call this most unfortunate event to mind. Suspect loading on a full skeg would even be higher. All to often the rudder is holding the skeg on not the other way around. Yes if the spade falls out as the boat works even if passage ends above water line a lot of water is going to come in. You need to prepare for that possibility. Would note rudder failures of various sorts seems to be at the top or near the top of the list when hearing about boats retiring from the various rallies.

Give BS his due- Something to be said for the old gudgeon and pinion system hung off the back of a double ender. If done right pretty d-mn strong. If it falls off no hole in the boat. Impossible to have it not cavitiate Hard to steer if loaded. Still simple and robust

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Last edited by outbound; 07-01-2014 at 04:41 PM.
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post #29 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

It is too bad that we can't see the boat to know exactly what did happen. I can think of a few possibilities.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #30 of 47 Old 07-01-2014
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Re: Malo 45' loses rudder, pulls an All is Lost

One would think with rudder failures being so common, more people "out there" would be or try to be prepared. But then, if the rudder didn't fail maybe the whole stern would be ripped off a boat! No easy answers. So how much went down in cost? $300 K?

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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