Ever wonder, “what if we lose steerage”? Well this little video, brought to you by our friends at Yachting Monthly, covers a few concepts to help allow you to get your boat back under control.
They say that they took a rudderless GK29 and tried 3 different ways of steering it. Maybe its just the skeg that I’m seeing, but if you look closely as the boat bobs through the water in the beginning of the video, it appears that there is some sort of an underwater foil on the back end. So it may just be that the rudder was there but locked on centerline. Based on experience, I can tell you that this foil’s mere presence has a night and day effect on how the boat pivots around its underwater center of effort. Naturally this is less of a concern with full keel boats than with fin keel boats. Having said that, I am not sure which is worse, no rudder at all, or one that is frozen in place (and probably not on center line).
In my opinion, of the three options; sail steering, drouge on a bridle, or make-shift rudder, the make-shift rudder (although that thing looked a bear to man) would be my first choice, maybe along with a little sail steering as well. The drogue idea just seems like a lot of drag. Thus making it hard to make any headway, I mean it is a sailboat after all ;-0)
For more information see the Summer 2010 issue of Yachting Monthly.