Bill Lee on Alternate Steering Methods - No Rudder Needed?

Revised: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Lee, Bill

Excerpt from Transpac Questions and Answers
Bill Lee, Wizard Yachts Ltd.


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Q: My boat has a long graceful stern overhang with a small traditional transom. I
see no way to fit an emergency rudder to meet the emergency steering
requirement of section 4.15.


A: The actual requirement is “alternative methods of steering” of which an
emergency rudder is only one.


Another approach is to permanently mount an extra pin for the spinnaker pole on
the stern close to centerline with a universal toggle. In case of rudder loss, the
spinnaker pole is fitted on to the pin. 4 controls are needed, that being port,
starboard, up, and down. For port and starboard, run lines from the outboard end
of the pole through snatch blocks and to the cockpit winches. For up, swing a
spinnaker halyard around the mast and attach it to the end of the pole. For down,
attach a suitable amount of anchor chain to the end of the pole. You are not
going to keep seriously racing with this system, but if your main rudder breaks
you are probably done racing anyway. Two benefits of this system are that it is
not prone to breakage, and there is little risk of loosing the parts during
installation.


Regardless of what alternative method of steering are chosen, it is imperative
that the owner and crew have tested the system away from the dock and are fully
confident that it will in fact steer the boat.

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Bill Lee, the Fast is Fun Wizard. Legendary Santa Cruz boat builder whose outof-
the-ballpark successes include the record-setting Merlin as well as numerous
other boats optimized for Pacific Coast conditions. Currently matches boats to
people from his Wizard Yachts office in Santa Cruz

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