SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Courtney the Dancer
Joined
·
3,970 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My brother and I helped a sailboat come into the little marina here on the island a couple of days ago and noticing that the boat was from Portland, OR. I asked when they made the trip up the coast and how it went. They (a couple in their late 50's) looked at each other and one responded "eventful". They then told us that all was well until they were in the Strait of Juan de Fuca about 20 NM west of Port Angeles, WA in 6' following seas and 25-30 knots of wind when coming down a wave they lost steering and then saw their entire rudder floating a few feet from the boat. They tried everything they could think of to steer the boat from dragging a bucket (handles ripped off almost immediately) to steering with the sails but they finally had to call the CG who came and towed them in. They had the boat hauled in PA and the fiberglass rudder post was cleanly sheered off at the hull. I guess they got a new rudder shipped and installed and they were on their way again in less than a week. They now carry a drogue.
I'm not bashing Hunter, don't know anything about them really, just thought this was interesting. I didn't get the year or model of the Hunter, it was about 32' or so and looked around 10 years old (?).
 

·
Freedom isn't free
Joined
·
3,057 Posts
Hence the requirements for the single-handed transpac is an "emergency steering system."

Makes you wonder if an alternative steering system is in their future.
 

·
Chastened
Joined
·
4,861 Posts
Yuck.

This is a nightmare that pops up into my head, once in a while.
I have no reason to suspect that my rudder isn't sound, but the boat IS 42 years old, after all.

Part of me wants to replace it "just because".
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
youre probably GOOD since its that old

Im not one to say new stuff is trash...its just that you just dont hear of old boats losing keels and rudders all that much compared to new

I mean...how many cal40 rudders have yo heard breaking off(old spade vs. new spade)

just saying
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brent Swain

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
my boat is your same vintage...1973.

I have heard of a few pearons rudder fall off cant remember the models but they are the ones with a very swept back spade...exerting tremendous amounts of leverage on the shaft.

anywhoo
 

·
Chastened
Joined
·
4,861 Posts
That's what I have.

Of course, if you trim the sails properly and get things balanced, the weather helm is minimal, and not so much stress on the shaft.

There's no telling how the boat was sailed in the previous 39 years though...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,903 Posts
Yes, rudders do break off. Hi, my name is Jerry and I owned a Hunter whose rudder did break off. The stainless steel hollow tube rudder post broke right at the point where the tube entered the rudder. My drunken sailor friend in his boat pull the rudder aboard. I steered using the outboard. Yada, yada, yada, repairs were done and we continued on our way.

To be fair, the boat was about 20 years old, it had been ran aground by yours truly several times and had gone sailing by itself from a mooring in a hurricane twice before this happened. More than likely all that pounding caused a small fracture at the break point.
 

·
Closet Powerboater
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
All the "how to" books explain various methods of steering using drag devices, but I've never actually seen an account of where it worked. Can anyone point me to one?

I'm thinking the transpac-spec emergency rudder is a good idea, especially if the ability to steer by drogue is a myth...

MedSailor
 

·
Learning the HARD way...
Joined
·
7,413 Posts
All the "how to" books explain various methods of steering using drag devices, but I've never actually seen an account of where it worked. Can anyone point me to one?

I'm thinking the transpac-spec emergency rudder is a good idea, especially if the ability to steer by drogue is a myth...

MedSailor

Also, there have been SEVERAL reports of later (CY>2000) model Hunters loosing their rudders at inopportune times. Here is one; Hunter Rudder loss, here is a SailNet thread about another; http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/64507-another-hunter-loses-its-rudder.html (actually three others referenced)
 
  • Like
Reactions: smackdaddy

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
9,007 Posts
When racing, it's not unusual to push a boat far beyond it's normal sailing parameters and damn the consequences. But when cruising and sailing for pleasure, I would think we would all be trimming the boat for ease and comfort, rather than fighting a lee or weather helm.
Worrying about losing your rudder shouldn't be one of those things that occupies much space in one's mind or on the boat, as it happens so infrequently, even on those boats we all know are not really built particularly well.
Many, many more boats lose their rig, have electrical fires or sink (nearly?) from pump or electrical failures. We can not be prepared for EVERY possible problem, so prioritizing is a must.
IMO it just isn't reasonable to put losing your rudder very high on your list of worries, unless you have repeatedly used your rudder as a jack stand when grounding the boat.
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
5,039 Posts
Lots of stories of boat losing rudders, even very high end boats. **** happens!

Also a good percent of the lost rudders stories once you dig deeper turns up past groundings etc. And of course anyone who bought their boat used has no idea of what that rudder has gone through already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
I think part of the problem is few ever inspect their rudders or steering systems. How many can honestly say they go thru their system checking the rudder for cracks, cleaning the paint off the shaft it inspect the shaft for pits or cracks? When did you last drop your rudder for a full inspection. When was the last time you lubed the pulleys and cables and checked all the fittings? Admittedly I have not been that consistent with it myself, I still have a repair i made mid ocean 2012 holding a pulley on. (I really do need to fix that right) I am not surprised there are so many failures it is just not something most sailors but much attention to. I went thru my whole system in 2012 before setting off for Bermuda with the exception of 2 pulleys I thought would be OK, yeah you guessed it one of the 2 fell off half way back!
 

·
Chastened
Joined
·
4,861 Posts
That was my initial reaction. Can this actually be true? I prefer my 1-3/8" silicon bronze:)
I'm wondering if that is an inaccuracy, and that they're actually referring to the rudder "log", which is the fiberglass tube that the rudder post passes through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
I think part of the problem is few ever inspect their rudders or steering systems. How many can honestly say they go thru their system checking the rudder for cracks, cleaning the paint off the shaft it inspect the shaft for pits or cracks?
One of the reasons we're rebuilding ours is because we dropped the rudder for unrelated repairs and found the 1 1/2'' shaft to be eaten through with corrosion and filled with seawater. We estimated < 50% of the material remained on the shaft and some pitting went all the way through. This is on a 1977 model boat.

One of the boats near us in the yard had their spade rudder, 1990 I believe?, halfway out and you could see corrosion buildup on the shaft, just barely, but it looked bad. He didn't pull it further out to look at it. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess...
 

·
Courtney the Dancer
Joined
·
3,970 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I'm wondering if that is an inaccuracy, and that they're actually referring to the rudder "log", which is the fiberglass tube that the rudder post passes through.
According to the owner, Hunter experimented with the tube fiberglass rudder shaft but has changed to some type of solid shaft. The new rudder they installed is not the fiberglass tube like the one that broke off. Sorry I didn't get more details, maybe someone familiar with Hunter has more info. about the models/years that used these rudders.
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
they seriously used a solid fiberglass shaft at one time or another? where they similar size to the metal ones or significantly bigger?

I could see carbon shafts and or titanium etc but not glass unless using interesting honeycomb internal structure, etc...

glass logs are common but glass shafts????????????
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top