US Coast Guard Cutter tows the Swan yacht “Rocket J Squirrel” from the middle of the Pacific back through the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The cutter proudly carried the yacht’s ‘war banner’ on her bow – with the boat’s namesake ‘Rocky’ of ‘Rocky & Bullwinkle’.
The advice from the captain to this yachtsman skipper: “Next time you break down it had better be in a Winnebago in Wisconsin!”
Most recreational boats (even some of the latest power vessels), carry an emergency tiller, which allows the vessel to be steered if the steering mechanisms are lost. Sadly, that gear doesn’t help if the rudder itself is severely damaged or lost. In some cases, there are things you can do – like dragging buckets off the side that you want to turn. In other cases, the circumstances become more dire. Enter the emergency rudder.
On our LEVEL THREE training vessel “ALEGRIA X”, we have an entire emergency rudder system. When participating in long range cruising & racing, we take the fold down transom door off and attach the custom base for our emergency rudder system. Should the rudder become seriously damaged or lost, we can quickly pin the cassette for this rudder, then drop a large custom blade in that cassette, followed by the coolest custom tiller in the Pacific NorthWest (perhaps the world!). You see, our tiller goes around the backstay to give enough leverage to drive this powerful boat along without too much challenge.
So where do we store this monstrosity? Well, offshore sailing isn’t the perfect setup for slippery floors and the boat is also a little tall for every crew member to reach the handrails built into the ceiling. Sooooo… we replace the mahogany flooring with a non skid covered floor, compete with two centerline handrails that serve for shorter crew and a mounting surface for that big rudder blade.
Offshore adventures are all about preparing for the worst & hoping for the best. Heavy weather, long passages? Best to try before you buy.
So far, the equipment has only been used in practice. We’d love for that always to be the case! Preparing for big adventures? Consider our LEVEL THREE COURSES & the awesome SAFETY AT SEA class run through BC SAILING.