Whitby 42 - Emergency Rudder
“I found a reef with my [main] rudder in the San Blas which was not fun.
Anyway made the 150 mile trip over 6 days pulling into anchorages in the evenings and had great maneuverability. It was a total non-event and sailed half the way so didn’t have to use my foot to steer for a good portion of the miles.”
From: Pat Salvucci
To: John Curry
Cc: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Tiller Pilot
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2018
Several things I want to write about:
1. The pin that holds the rudder in a fixed position can rattle loose while I sit on anchor. If I catch it soon enough then I just put it back in and everything is fine. But if I don’t pay attention it can rattle far enough out that it will bend and I even had one break. Is there a trick on keeping them in place? I’m currently in Panama getting ready to transit the canal and head west.
[Editor’s note: use a heavy duty bungee in a line to cinch the Hydrovane rudder up when not in use (or when motoring) – reduces any rattle and Shaft Locking Pin breakage]
2. After sailing 1000 miles downwind using the hydrovane 100% of the time, I think I have it figured out. You had some great videos on installing the hydrovane but I didn’t see any that showed how to use one. I’m guessing you are all sailors so the learning curve on using the hydrovane was short one. Not so for us non-sailors. My AHA moment was when I realized that I needed to reposition the sail on the hydrovane to the future position I wanted the boat to take in relation to the wind. Sort of increasing and decreasing the angle of attack. A short video on how to think about positioning the hydrovane sail so the boat moves more to port or starboard would be a great help for us learning to sail types.
3. I found a reef with my [main] rudder in the San Blas which was not fun. It jammed the rudder into the prop which bent the hell out of it. I was able to take the prop off, get in fixed in Panama City and flown back. But we still had to go 150 miles to get to Colon to get hauled out and I had to fix the rudder in place so that it didn’t get into the prop again. I rigged two pulleys on either side of the stern with ropes leading to the cockpit (center cockpit) and headed out. I quickly realized that my system was awkward at best since I had to move both lines every time I wanted to move the rudder. I then rigged bungee cords to pull the hydrovane rudder to one side and one rope to the cockpit that I pulled to go in the other direction. It worked perfectly. I later tied a loop in the rope and I sat with the loop around my foot and just used my foot pulling to steer. I thought I was a genius to figure that out until I got here and read another account of someone losing their rudder and came up with the same system. So to suggest another video idea – how to use a hydrovane as an emergency rudder and what you need to set it up. I would also suggest to have the pump handle that fits into the hydrovane handle pre drilled so that it can be bolted onto the hydrovane handle so you don’t have to worry about the handle falling off.
Anyway made the 150 mile trip over 6 days pulling into anchorages in the evenings and had great maneuverability. It was a total non-event and sailed half the way so didn’t have to use my foot to steer for a good portion of the miles. I have put in a plug for the hydrovane when I tell my story. Nice to have a back up
Okay done with my long email