Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-20-2020 Thread Starter
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Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

It has happened that a decades old, and even very new rudders, would start spinning loosely on the shaft, in the middle of an ocean. With no steerage, it makes for a very difficult situation to overcome. With each passing year, I became more concerned with what unseen things were happening inside of our 44 year old rudder. Before crossing the Atlantic to Tierra Del Fuego, I thought it might be worth a peek inside our rudder and check on the spline to shaft assembly.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-20-2020
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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

We met a couple who lost their rudder twice leaving the Canaries for the West Indies. They sold that Bavaria and flew across and bought another, but told us they would never take it offshore, just intraisland.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #3 of 15 Old 03-20-2020
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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

Every seaman should know how to steer with a jury drogue and test it at least once. Doing it well requires practice. An anchor and fenders work, with a bridle to the secondaries. A drogue is better.

I had a rudder failure once (hit submerged log). This got me home without trouble.


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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

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Every seaman should know how to steer with a jury drogue and test it at least once. Doing it well requires practice. An anchor and fenders work, with a bridle to the secondaries. A drogue is better.

I had a rudder failure once (hit submerged log). This got me home without trouble.

We used everything from mattresses to buckets to try to steer a boat without a rudder, but we were unable to get the boat to handle sufficiently well to enter Ala Wai harbor channel in Honolulu. We had to call the USCG and the idiots sent a 120' vessel to tow Araner, a 125' ketch, into the marina. A marina where maneuvering a 75' boat is tight.
It all worked out OK, but it took a great deal of convincing to get the CG captain to squeeze his boat up into a corner so we could get to a dock. Had they sent a 45 footer it all would have been so much easier.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

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Every seaman should know how to steer with a jury drogue.....
https://youtu.be/vupIl68mCYg
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-21-2020
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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

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We used everything from mattresses to buckets to try to steer a boat without a rudder, but we were unable to get the boat to handle sufficiently well to enter Ala Wai harbor channel in Honolulu. We had to call the USCG and the idiots sent a 120' vessel to tow Araner, a 125' ketch, into the marina. A marina where maneuvering a 75' boat is tight.
It all worked out OK, but it took a great deal of convincing to get the CG captain to squeeze his boat up into a corner so we could get to a dock. Had they sent a 45 footer it all would have been so much easier.
Close maneuvering can be a challenge with a big boat. But if it gets you across a passage to within short towing distance, that's a major victory.

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post #7 of 15 Old 03-21-2020
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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

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Close maneuvering can be a challenge with a big boat. But if it gets you across a passage to within short towing distance, that's a major victory.
It was only a couple of hours, out the marina, messing about in Mamala Bay, then back in. We're not even sure when the rudder fell off because the bottom was so foul I attributed the loss of control to that, for a while.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #8 of 15 Old 03-21-2020
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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

Just got a new rudder built for our Ericson 35. They didn't have the mold for original so we got a similar cool shape and like it a lot. Boats still on the hard so we haven't sailed with it yet tho.
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-23-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

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Just got a new rudder built for our Ericson 35. They didn't have the mold for original so we got a similar cool shape and like it a lot. Boats still on the hard so we haven't sailed with it yet tho.

Is it correct that there is a company in Florida that makes rudders for many of the boat manufacturers? Who made your rudder?
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-23-2020
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Re: Will A Rudder Fail Mid Ocean, Lets Find Out

Several folks have done this upgrade for the Ericson 35-2, with comments on the Ericson owners' site. It is a variant of a later elliptical design for the Cal 40, and is a really nice upgrade.
Other Ericson's and sometimes Olson's have done this as well.

As for Foss Foam, there seems to be some internet confusion over which company does what, with a plant in Florida and one in California. Maybe they were related at one time, and still might be.
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