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Old 05-26-2009, 03:42 PM   #1
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I wonder if anyone has any ideas on a recently encountered problem?

38 foot Cabo Rico sailboat with long keel and skeg hung rudder

The boat slowed down and became virtually unsteerable, making about one and a half knots in a 10-12 knot breeze, tracking about 70 degrees off the course steered. Steering was very light (possibly due to low boat speed), could not be tacked, would gybe slowly. Nothing could be seen over the side except some turbulence in the water on the quarter.

My thoughts were that this was something fouled on the rudder or prop, possibly discarded fishing net or similar. After about 10 hours, boat handling started to improve and speed picked up, eventually all was OK.

Subsequent examination by diver found no sign of anything having been fouled and design indicates that it would have been difficult for this to happen.

Ideas on the cause? All suggestions welcome
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:42 AM   #2
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I know nothing about steering systems, but to me it sounds as if the tiller or wheel was disengaged from the rudder for some reason, and somehow the connection - reconnected. *It's the return to normal that has me stymied, otherwise I would be convinced that it was a loss of mechanical steering. *Or is it an hydraulic system? *That could lose and recover.

well, you asked for all suggestions - I really would love to know what the problem turns out to be.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:02 AM   #3
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Immediate thought was Air in the Hydraulic system - bubbles eventually disappearing ???
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
Immediate thought was Air in the Hydraulic system - bubbles eventually disappearing ???
Not Hydraulic steering, so that ruled out - the mystery persists!
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:43 AM   #5
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I had a problem similar to this, sailing from Marina Del Rey to Santa Cruz Island, we were sailing into a strong current of Point Dume. Wind was 14 to 15 knots. Speed over the bottom was zilch. Steering was very difficult due

to little to no way. Turned on engine to overcome effect of the current. When speed over the ground increased

so did steering.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonearm View Post
I had a problem similar to this, sailing from Marina Del Rey to Santa Cruz Island, we were sailing into a strong current of Point Dume. Wind was 14 to 15 knots. Speed over the bottom was zilch. Steering was very difficult due

to little to no way. Turned on engine to overcome effect of the current. When speed over the ground increased

so did steering.
hmm... that doesn't really make sense... steerage has to do with water moving over the rudder, not the boat moving over the ground... if you have a strong head current and can't make way you will still have good steerage because you are getting plenty of water under the boat... ...

now if the boat is being carried by the current you may loose steerage because the boat is only going as fast as the water and not getting water across the rudder... ... which is where changing course when a strong current is on the nose gets dangerous... if you turn away from the current you may not be able to point her back up into it if you can't get up the speed to get water over the rudder.

In a light breeze if the current is with you what Edsailing is talking about may happen... maybe something hung up on the skeg (lobster pot or such, a float just under the waterline would also likely cause the turbulence he mentioned and possibly enable the obstruction to hang up where a normal line or something might not) and was acting as a sea anchor countering the wind enough that you lost some speed and in so doing you also lost steering because you weren't getting water over the rudder to give steerage to bring your nose up against the current, but could gybe since the wind and sea were both behind you and that required a less radical shift of the boat in relation to the water as it was carried along.

maybe...
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