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Thread: Class of 2014

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    119

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    There should probably be a thread about rudders. When I was in the Pac Cup I think they said that they usually anticipated a 10% steering gear failure rate. Those figures would hold good for the 2014 SHTP if we count Gary's tiller failure (and who but a WetSnail 32 would have a spare tiller on board). The usual issue I would guess is stainless steel. Absolutely the worst metal (or family of metals) to have anywhere near salt water. OK naval brass is worse but....The great thing about the SHTP is that, generally, it is a 'bring what you got' race. Consequently some of our boats are old (mine was 41 yrs old at race time). Without getting into a crazy rant about a subject that a lot of participants understand better than me, SS needs to have a constant supply of oxygen surrounding its surface. Whenever a rudder main piece (shaft) passes through a gland it is deprived of oxygen. I can't count the number of prop shafts I've replaced that look good except for the area that is inside the stern gland. At that point they look like torredo worms have attacked. On a modern rudder that is balanced or semi balanced not only is oxygen excluded inside the gland but inside the body of the rudder itself. Most people would agree that it is better to lose your mast than your rudder so if you're a newbie thinking about "having a go' think about having your rudder post made out of carbon fiber or monel.
    You can inspect your SS rudder post but perhaps the greatest evil about SS is that it can look great until it fails. On my dream boat there would be no SS shrouds, chain plates, prop shaft, rudder post etc etc.
    It's a rainy Friday night and I apologize for ranting but don't even get me going on Gary's tiller that appears to be wood encapsulated with fiberglass....this is the only thing I can think of that is worse than SS

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    235

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    For years the SHTP race rules required carrying a spare tiller. I made mine in 1984 and still carry it.
    I looked at Gary's broken piece. It seemed to be "normal" wood (mushy tho) but not glass encapsulated. All very true about
    the SS need for air (oxygen). Harrier was 33 years old at the time of the last race. Having lost two (!) rudders in my
    previous 30 footer I am constantly in a state of concern in that regard....but, as a basically lazy slob, I've done nothing
    dropping the rudder every haulout and inspecting. Harrier does have a solid 50mm shaft, which seems to exceed most boats
    her size and I have yet to see much problem. My main concern is what you can't see INSIDE the rudder...which is where the
    failures on my last boat occurred. It also has simple delrin bearings top and bottom, so air is getting into the areas of
    concern for the shaft. My experience is minimal compared to Peter's, but everything I have experienced mirrors his opinion
    regarding stainless. I do know there are myriad stainless alloys out there, so perhaps some are more appropriate than
    others for these applications. I have similar concern about Harrier's chainplates. They, at least, are completely open for
    inspection...EXCEPT for the inch or so where they go thru the deck. "Ah, there's the rub..." And, just to add to our concerns:
    I do not trust underwater welds! And these are usually involved in the tangs which connect many rudders to their shafts, and
    were assuredly the source of both my rudder failures.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    119

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    Thanks Ken, I stand corrected about Gary's tiller. I had only seen a picture and made some assumptions that I shouldn't have.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    210

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    The rules still do require carrying a spare tiller see here:
    http://sfbaysss.net/shtp/wp-content/...C-20131009.pdf
    4.42 An emergency tiller capable of being fitted to the rudder stock.
    Did you not have one Peter?

    On the topic of rudders and emergency rudders - does anyone think a boat with an outboard rudder attached to the hull with 3 sets of gudgeons and pintles could sustain enough damage to require an emergency rudder? Losing the rudder entirely seems a bit far fetched. i suggest a rule change for these types making the e-rudder optional ...at the race committees discretion.

    My tiller was rotten, it was not distinguishable from the outside to me as I had inspected it closely and tried to break it at the dock by violently throwing the rudder from side to side with the tiller. My fault as it had begun to de-laminate about a year ago and I had glued it back together with epoxy. I thought I had allowed it to dry out before I glued it, but it must have still been wet in there and all I did was seal the wood with the moisture still inside causing the rot.

    ELIZABETH ANN has had her feelings hurt by being called by THAT name. She wishes SCARAMOUCHE V were racing to Hawaii again so she could beat her again.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    119

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    Yes Gary, I have a great massive metal tiller that fits directly on my rudder head by-passing all the mechanics involved in the quadrant, steering wire rope and chain, pedestal, and various sprockets. Glad I have it as it is hard to imagine how it would fail and not difficult to imagine how everything else would (and has). Definitely more thought has to be applied to the spare rudder issue altho I don't agree with you ....just too many rudders and associated gear fail. There is no question that your boat is "built to break ice" but still it is not unreasonable for the race committee to be assured that you have an alternate plan in the case of rudder failure. It doesn't have to be a spare rudder but something that would effectively work as a rudder.
    Your total humiliation of Scaramouche was a well deserved victory for you and Elizabeth Ann. All those many days I spent sunning on the beach in Kauai were long lonely wasted days as we awaited your triumphant arrival.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    235

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    Both of my rudder failures...spade rudder, not transom mounted...were loss of the entire blade. So go figure. By the way,
    after both losses I sailed on into port unaided (700 miles one time, 1000 or so another). How? Disengaged the Aries
    steering lines from the now useless tiller and "locked" them with the spin winches so the servo pendulum couldn't swing.
    Then, when the vane flopped and the pendulum turned, it acted as a rudder and steered the boat. When I came into port,
    I just stood there pushing the vane to steer the boat. Otherwise, it continued to "self steer" OK. Pretty small boat, of
    course...7000 lb wooden Dutch 30 footer. And certainly couldn't do circles in a boat length or two. Had to anticipate
    changes in direction required well ahead of time. But it worked....

    I certainy envied Peter his days in the sun in Hanalei waiting for us "creepers" to finish. All in good fun, of course.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    119

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    Shearwater (J/120) is a definite maybe for 2016. We did Pac Cup DH in 2014 and now it is looking like the time has finally come. I've been "working" on this plan for 24 years. I'm not going to get any more ready.

    Fun fact - My wife & I spent our honeymoon on Kauai in 1996. Seems like a nice place to spend our 20th wedding anniversary.

    Is there an official start date for 2016? June 27th, or is it tide dependent?
    Life is not a dress rehearsal.

    Bermuda 1-2 on a Schumacher 28

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    37.205346,-121.963398
    Posts
    659

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    Hello Shearwater,

    We will have an official date in the next week, and yes it is tide dependent. It likely will be about a week earlier than what you mentioned above. Having your boat in the SHTP will be a treat to watch. I have followed you exploits via the video's you have created of assorted ocean crossings.

    Brian Boschma

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    119

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    Thanks Brian. Really looking forward to this adventure. Planning for it is half the fun. Shearwater is more definite than maybe now. Boat is pretty much ready. (Skipper needs some work though!) Just need/want to get an AIS transponder and replace some sails and halyards. I'm thinking about doing my qualifier while bringing Shearwater down from the PNW to SF Bay in August. The weather on the Oregon/Washington coast can be a crap shoot (emphasis on crap), so I need to plan this one carefully. We saw 40 knots out of the south last time we did this. Not so interested in that, this time around.

    Looking forward to doing some SSS races next winter too.
    Life is not a dress rehearsal.

    Bermuda 1-2 on a Schumacher 28

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