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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I think the captain of this yacht did an exceptional job of describing what happened. I guess we will never know what happened to break the rudder away from the skeg and Malos are well-built boats. I think that sometimes discussions on sailing forums about shtf can be a bit on the simplistic side as are the comments about you can be prepared for anything and everything.

My sympathies to the couple who lost their boat. Sounds like they were insured which is good.
 

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Well, I guess the skeg didn't afford much in the way of structural integrity this time... What a shame, as KS said, Malos are beautiful boats built to a very high standard, must have been something a bit 'exceptional' to have occurred with this one...





that part of the Indian Ocean around the top of Madagascar sounds like one nasty bit of real estate... Another very high quality Swedish yacht, a Sweden 45, was lost to the identical cause in those waters a year or two ago...

Sounds like the skipper and crew gave it a good fight, all around the situation seems to have been handled admirably. Probably the only thing that could have saved that boat, would have been to have the rudder post isolated from the rest of the boat by a watertight/collision bulkhead...

On a boat of that size, certainly not impossible to achieve... One of the features that distinguishes a true 'Bluewater Boat', in my opinion, are true collision compartments fore and aft. But those are surprisingly uncommon even today, as it often compromises the amount of interior volume dedicated to that all-important Accomodation Plan... One of the downsides of aft staterooms in general, and in particular those taken right out to the transom, is the difficulty of isolating the rudder post in such a manner, short of some sort of transom-hung rudder solution...

Some stern garages can serve the purpose well, but I've run boats with garages that didn't even take the trouble to make the bulkhead watertight, leaving open conduits for wiring and plumbing runs, and so forth.. What the hell are they thinking?

Not all that many designers/builders think like Steve Dashew, obviously... :)
 

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Sorry they lost the boat, but it sure sounds like they were a competent crew who did pretty much everything that could be done to save it. Sure reads better than a lot of attempts you read about where they abandoned the boat way early.

One common denominator I am starting to notice, or think I am noticing, is the use of the autopilot in heavy seas, before rudder loss. Perhaps a human, taking hold every once in a while, would be more apt to notice the strains on the steering gear before failure. One of the nice things about the old fashioned belt and pulley autopilots was that they usually give way before the rudder did when strains get too much. That happened with mine one time in some seas that were hitting the boat from a bad angle. If I had had a stronger autopilot, I wonder if my rudder would have broken first instead.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Good read, thanks for the link. Interesting that there was no great big "bump in the night." I wonder if they snagged a fishing net or something like that and the conditions with the extra drag caused the failure.

The only thing I could think of to do differently would be to cut away the rudder. With there being no lower pintle it "could" drop free, leaving a more static hole to try and fill. Still, that'd take some stones to cut your own rudder off....

MedSailor
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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The only thing I could think of to do differently would be to cut away the rudder. With there being no lower pintle it "could" drop free, leaving a more static hole to try and fill. Still, that'd take some stones to cut your own rudder off....
My thought too...

I am not sure how many of you have seen this video (from the guy that runs the yard where I keep my boat), but this is what I would have attempted;
www.youtube.com/embed/ABSCT7y9vnI

[EDIT] it seems that video embedding does not work anymore... Follow the link on HOW TO STEER WITH A DROGUE.
 
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Closet Powerboater
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Thanks for the video. I think the main issue was the in-flooding of water from the rudder working from side to side, enlarging the hole. At one point in the article he was talking about how everybody was too busy bailing to work on alternative steering setups.

Makes me think something like THIS is a really good idea.

MedSailor
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Jon, the really nasty bit at the northern tip of Madagascar is actually quite close to the tip. They were still (was it) 500 miles from there. I thing they just got some ordinary crappy weather. Our experience in the Indian Ocean is that it just windy all the time 25-30 knots and then you get depressions spinning off the South African that head NE.
 

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I know it's hard to be there and easy to play armchair skipper.

I had the same thought as MedSailor: Why not try to jetison the rudder? Then there is either no hole or a small hole to worry about and you at least have a floating island while you figure out the next part of the plan. The rudder wasn't helping them at all.

If I ever have a skeg boat I hope that the rudder stock and bearings are beefy enough to handle failure of the skeg. That doesn't seem to be an uncommon failure point.
 

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How easy do you think it is to just drop the rudder in conditions like that.

I have dropped the rudder on my boat two times, the first time I had to apply heat to the bolts on the quadrant to move them.
Second time was easier since i used Duralac on all the SS parts when I assembled it.

Both times the boat was on dry land....

On a boat like this (Malö 45') after loosing the lower ruder attachment it would probably be hanging by the rudder quadrant and maybe some other hardware (autopilot tiller arm)
This is how it looks like on my boat with spade rudder, so in my case it the rudder is hanging by the top bearing.


Going into a space like that to screw out these bolts while the boat is moving around and the rudder shaft is doing it's best to crush you.

Maybe they could have used ropes to stabilize the rudder, but just dropping it..
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Med - I don't think that the 120V bilge pump would help much in this situation. I believe that the inefficiency in running the inverter makes a 120V pump inadvisable. I know that the USCG has high velocity (150 GPM) gasoline pumps that they can drop to a stricken vessel. Here are some pix;




My thought was; IF it were possible to drop the spade rudder safely, to do so (it would be on my O'day - but then again, my O'day would NEVER be 500 miles from land) and thereby stop the rudder shaft from damaging the boat further. Once the shaft was away, you would be left with a hole at, or near, the waterline that would now be the top priority. The boat would probably also begin to yaw wildly... Your first priority once the rudder was jettisoned would be to plug the hole with a throwable PFD, a sail, anything...

Therefore; the sequence of events would be to; contact the CG, prepare the evacuation plan, rig the drogue, drop the rudder, plug the hole, contact the CG, and if possible - limp to port.
 

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Has anyone ever experimented with something like this stuff for a hole in a boat away from the dock? Carrying a few cans to use to stop catastrophic leaks. I know it expands and dries really fast and is hard as hell to get off stuff once it is dry.



At the point you were realizing you couldn't stop the water and were going to have to abandon a boat anyway, what could it hurt to try and use a can or two to stop a leak?

(I know this is arm chairing, but I have used this stuff a few times and it is kind of amazing the way it works. I think I'm going to buy a can and do some experiments with it).
 

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How easy do you think it is to just drop the rudder in conditions like that.

Maybe they could have used ropes to stabilize the rudder, but just dropping it..
I expect it would be slightly harder than postulating from my armchair, that's for sure. ;) I was imagining cutting the shaft. I've done that with a 1.5" stainless prop shaft and it isn't easy. You'd also be using 110V tools in close quarters with lots of water. Or finding a lot of motivation while using a hack saw...

I think I like your rope to stabilize the rudder idea better. :) Depends on the boat though. My formosa didn't have much rudder stock above the bearing, so there wouldn't be enough leverage to do anything useful.

As for the gas powered pumps, as a recovering wooden boat owner, I've eyeballed those for years. True, it is completely independent of other systems, but I don't like the reliability issues of a small gas engine, with varnished up gas, being stored in a salty bilge, firing up when you really need it. Heck, I have enough of a hard time starting my mower after a winter...

The electric ones have less parts to go wrong, though you are dependent on your generator (if you have one) or inverter. My new boat has both, so there is some redundancy there... I wouldn't worry about power inefficiencies though as I expect you'll be running a generator or engine while all this is happening. They make the electric ones pretty big too. Many hundreds of GPM with 2" outlets.

The gas one, if maintained and tested regularly, is a better option, but it also involves another item to scrupulously maintain and test. It involves storing and rotating gas (which I have avoided so far) and is bigger and heavier. Tradeoffs. I like the middle of the road solution of the 110V pump for my boat, but if I were still on a wooden boat (shudder) I would have the gas powered pump for sure.

MedSailor
 

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Has anyone ever experimented with something like this stuff for a hole in a boat away from the dock? Carrying a few cans to use to stop catastrophic leaks. I know it expands and dries really fast and is hard as hell to get off stuff once it is dry.



At the point you were realizing you couldn't stop the water and were going to have to abandon a boat anyway, what could it hurt to try and use a can or two to stop a leak?

(I know this is arm chairing, but I have used this stuff a few times and it is kind of amazing the way it works).
In my Navy days we had exercises where we stopped water leaks.
We did this on a FPB that where holed and put on land but with water supply on the outside so it was quite realistic...

The problem with that stuff is that you must be able to keep it in place while it hardens - else it would be washed away. It could be used together with other techniques.


 

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My experience with gas powered pumps (especially other peoples) has been less than encouraging. The vessel I had in the Beaufort had a large capacity centrifugal pump belt driven from the prop shaft (idler pulley if you don't want to risk losing a finger) Never used it but you never know when dancing with ice. Thane didn't have enough room for a similar setup so I relied on a 2 inch impeller on an electric clutch and a 110 sump pump which has the advantage of being portable .Never used it either but had 3 wt bulkheads and a long strong keel under it all.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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When we were in Australia they were selling a dense, putty-like material to stop leaks. I forget the name of it. It looked quite promising but was not cheap. Don't think it would have helped with this boat's problem since the moving rudder post would just push it away. I think one of the problems with a serious leak is that there can be a lot of different situations. Having a hole like on those videos is entirely different from this one at the rudder post. Saying you have a leak strategy for all occasions just does not work.
 

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When we were in Australia they were selling a dense, putty-like material to stop leaks. I forget the name of it. It looked quite promising but was not cheap. Don't think it would have helped with this boat's problem since the moving rudder post would just push it away. I think one of the problems with a serious leak is that there can be a lot of different situations. Having a hole like on those videos is entirely different from this one at the rudder post. Saying you have a leak strategy for all occasions just does not work.
Yeah, we're just hot washing it. The one silver lining to an incident like this, is that it makes you consider what you would do if it happened to you, and gives you the luxury of time, to do it in.

I'm sure these guys have replayed in their head a hundred times and come with several things they wish they had tried, or been prepared to try. I admit the idea of a rudder coming loose and causing this type of damage never occurred to me before this incident. I just figured the worst would be it falling off and having to plug the hole it left and then figuring out how to steer the boat.
 

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When we were in Australia they were selling a dense, putty-like material to stop leaks. I forget the name of it. It looked quite promising but was not cheap. Don't think it would have helped with this boat's problem since the moving rudder post would just push it away. I think one of the problems with a serious leak is that there can be a lot of different situations. Having a hole like on those videos is entirely different from this one at the rudder post. Saying you have a leak strategy for all occasions just does not work.
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.cfm?/Scotchcast%20-Conformable-Splint/&CS=HOM&FN=ProductDetail&PG=CTL&PID=4159&spx=1

MedSailor
 

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nothing like isolated watertight bulkheads and compartments

if I could id apply james baldwins atom site for a lot of these scenarios.

the reality though is most of us just cant or wont do it...its a lot of work, especially on a boat with big systems.

in any case, always sad to see a boat go down....

peace
 
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