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Thread: Drogue as a emergency rudder

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Humboldt Bay
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    Default Drogue as a emergency rudder

    I found this interesting video of how to use a drogue as an emergency rudder. I'm sure more research will have to be done to satisfy the race committee, but for now it's food for thought for the 2016 SHTP. Enjoy!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vupIl68mCYg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Capitola,CA
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    Thanks for posting the video of using a Gale Rider drogue for emergency steering. My 2 cents is using a drogue for emergency steering may be a temporary or short term solution. But for near shore, or SHTP, it doesn't pass the smell test. The well produced video shows drogue steering being effectively used under power in glassy calm. Not your usual rough sea conditions when rudder loss can lead to loss of boat and life.

    March 8, 2013, the C&C 30 UNCONTROLLABLE URGE lost its rudder at night in the Islands Race off S.Cal. They did not have emergency steering. Attempts at using drogues, and other methods, failed, even with the boat under full power. The boat went ashore on San Clemente with loss of life.

    Both the surviving crew and the USSA Independent Review Panel emphasized carrying "a proper emergency rudder offshore regardless of conditions or race rules. Your emergency rudder should be of equal or greater durability than your primary rudder. The design of the rudder system should be one that can be quickly placed into service even in the most severe conditions."

    A drogue may serve short term, and I recommend carrying at least one. (Plastic milk crates, or an old tire, work as well as the expensive Gale Rider.) But you will unlikely arrive at Hanalei before your friends and family have to leave, and the Belt Buckles are handed out. If you are going to the expense and effort of carrying a workable emergency rudder, make it big enough and strong enough so you can sail near full speed and so it will work with self steering and balanced sails so as to get rest, hopefully finish the Race, and enjoy the remaining passage as much as possible.

    http://www.ussailing.org/wp-content/...e%20Report.pdf
    Last edited by sleddog; 11-21-2014 at 11:48 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Humboldt Bay
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    "My 2 cents is using a drogue for emergency steering may be a temporary or short term solution."

    I was a bit hasty to actually suggest this method be used as a substitute for a well made, durable, foiled rudder...but I found it an interesting tactic to use in addition to "if all else fails". They did state that they tested it in 25knt winds and 6 foot seas, which is not bad considering they're using a "bag" for a rudder.
    In the end I stand corrected. You're absolutely right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Santa Rosa
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    I'd like to add my 2 for a proper Emergency Rudder and agree with Skip. I think a properly designed ER should be carried for all open ocean racing (or even cruising) - and inshore unless you have a good BOAT US towing policy. I think the proven design for deployment is a cassette and foil design. A rudder is highly unlikely to fall off or break in drifting conditions similar to the "in-marina" deployment most ERs are tested with. Gudgeon and pintle designs have proven difficult and even impossible to deploy in "normal" conditions at sea. Dragging a bucket, warp, whatever would be an exhausting 24X7 process - if it worked. It needs almost constant attention. A well designed ER should be able to be connected to whatever self-steering a singlehander might be using -- another feature to be considered in designing and building one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    235

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    On my 30ft vandestadt designed wood sloop (fin keel, spade rudder Holiday 30) my Aries vane worked flawlessly as an emergency rudder, including gale conditions for a while. Once for 700 miles between Nuku Hiva and Tahiti and again between LA and Oahu, 1200 miles. All I had to do was lock the steering lines to my spinnaker winches and the servo pendulum became a rudder. The thing continued to self steer, too. Aries, Mk !!, was plenty strong enuf. The 3/8in steering lines were stressed all to hell, but held up OK, needing replacement after each ordeal tho. One does what one has to do in some conditions of stress.....I think installing or rigging an emergency rudder might well be the hardest thing to accomplish on many of our SHTP vessels, incl Harrier. Tiger Beetle had a good rig in one of the races in the 90's. However, its performance seemed to be degraded because the failed rudder was still under the boat, cocked to one side, as I recall. Don't remember what happened with the little 24 footer from NC in 2006 (?), but he made it in OK. Seems as tho we've been most fortunate regarding this sort of failure in the SHTPs, Domino being an exception in 2014.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    119

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    I don't have a dog in this fight but in the 2010 Pac Cup I believe California Condor steered most of the way using a drogue. I can only guess at the conversations on board since (I think) Jim Antrim the designer was a member of the crew. I know what I would have had to say at 0200.

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