Rudder Loss

Each year, many yachts are abandoned at sea after losing their rudder.  Rudders break off frequently after hitting a submerged object, such as a ship's container or discarded gas bottle.

Modern balanced rudders are actually designed to break off easily, as a weak-point line is machined into the rudder post just above the blade.  This is done so that an impact does not rip the rudder stock tube from the inside of the hull.  Obviously, the yacht would sink immediately if that happened, so to save the yacht from sinking, the rudder must be sacrificed.

That's fine if rescue and a tow is at hand, but no good if you are offshore.  Often the only option is to abandon the yacht and climb aboard a container ship after you have let off your EPIRB.

More and more yachts with modern balanced rudders are crossing oceans and taking part in offshore races.  Little regard is given towards what to do about emergency steering.  People reassure themselves, knowing that they have an emergency tiller, but that won't help if you have lost your rudder!

You have to tick a box on a form before taking part in offshore races or rallies, such as RORC or the ARC, promising that you have practised a method of emergency steering.  This often means lashing a table top or locker lid to the spinnaker pole.  Who has actually made this work?  How will the locker lid stay put and don't you need your spinnaker pole?

Practical Boat Owner magazine tried various methods of emergency steering some years ago with disappointing results in the real world.  They found the viking oar method of lashing a locker lid to a spinnaker pole to work the best, but it was hard to steer on course, hard work and the locker lid quickly fell off.  Drogues slow the boat down and make it sail sideways, as you don't have a skeg.  You can't sail to windward or tack using a drogue and it's very hard work to do so with a viking oar.

Oceansteer™ takes the place of the lost rudder and skeg, as it provides directional stability.  The Oceansteer™ bracket fixes the pivot point of the blade aft of the stern.

You will find it easy to hold a course with your Oceansteer™ and will be able to leave the cockpit.

Even yachts with skeg-hung rudders can lose a rudder.  Skeg-to-hull bolts often corrode and break under pressure.  The problem is that you can't check them, as they are encapsulated inside the skeg.