Steering Failure

 
  1. Determine if the problem is with the rudder or the wheel system. The quickest way is to put on the autopilot and change the heading, if the boat turns then the rudder is ok and it's the steering wheel / cable system at fault.
  2. If it's the wheel system, use the autopilot until it can be fixed.
  3. If it is going to take a long time to fix the wheel system and we need to conserve the batteries then put on the emergency tiller and tie it off so that the WindPilot can be used. (We'll have practiced this ahead of time won't we?). The emergency tiller fits on the top of the rudder under the master cabin berth.
  4. If we've lost the use of the rudder, it's likely that we will have hit something so we should know about it. The first thing to check is if there is water coming in, check under the master cabin berth. Once we are sure the boat is not going to sink there are a number of things we can try:
    1. If the rudder is stuck in position other than straight ahead, send someone overboard (tied to the boat with a line) with a big G clamp which has a long line attached to it. Dive down and put the clamp on the rudder, at the stern, about midway down. Double the lines onto the clamp. Bring the lines back, one on each side, and lead them to the jib-sheet winches. Haul on the lines to see if we can move the rudder.
    2. See whether we can sail in a reasonable direction by balancing the sails and using the WindPilot, either in self steering mode or else by manually moving the wind vane.
    3. We can try using a drogue off the quadrant to help steering.

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This page was last modified on: January 31, 2013

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