Steering Failure

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  1. Determine if the problem is with the rudder or the wheel system
  2. If it's the wheel system, take off the dorade just behind the helmsman's seat and put on the emergency tiller. (You've practiced this ahead of time haven't you?) Check the compass effects
  3. If you've lost the rudder, fiddle with the sails and try to get your desired course. Move the center of effort forward or aft as seems best. Drop the main, and rig the riding sail, or storm jib, on the backstay to move the effort aft–drop the head/stay sails too if needed. To move the effort forward, use just the headsail.
  4. 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 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 you can move the rudder.
  5. To provide directional push, lash the two cockpit gratings together, and then attach a long sturdy line to each side of the grating. Lead the lines through the stern, or even amidships, bridle like, to cleats. Launch the gratings, then adjust the lines to pull the gratings to one side or the other. Alternatively, see what you can do with the windvane rudder.

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This page was last modified on:
August 9, 2009