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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:25 pm 
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Location: Ft Lauderdale FL
Chekika and I just returned from a 3 day trip to E Cape Sable about 11.5 miles west of Flamingo on the tip of Florida. Great camping weather no so great for fishing, but we ate fish both nights. We had a fantastic time no bugs, temps just right for sleeping. Chekika (Keith) is a great cook and interesting companionand we had a many iinteresting conversations.

The wind blew hard all weekend making for some rough seas and muddy waters. While out fishing I broke my rudder, no not my rudder pin the lower hole the pin fits into on the rudder broke off leaving the pin intact. I had become hooked on a submerged tree in a swell when it broke.
so the rudder was attached only on the top fitting. I was in fishing mode with no sail or amas at the time and limped back to the camp with just a few problems. I just happened to add a handful of tie wraps into my kit before the last trip and Keith and I McGivered a fix when I got back to the camp. The fix lasted till just over 4 miles from Flamingo when I shook out the reef and was clipping along at 5.4 mph VMG then all the tiewraps failed in a ten second sequence. So I sailed the final miles with the paddle as my rudder. Keith in the meantime who had taken off on the port tack with SE winds had become separated from me. I had adjusted the rudder lines to favor the starboard tack and had to reef down past the telltale window to sail on the port tack so I tacked to starboard as early as posible. Well I got an inshore lift keith got a header and that combined with the effects of the tide we got separated with me aboout a mile in the lead. Then I lost sight of keith when I was just about halfway in so I reefed the sail hove to and had lunch. Still no Keith and I like a dummy had forgotten my radio on the kitchen counter. I did manage to wave one boat down and ask them to check on him but they were going somewhere else. So with a jury rigged rudder I figured the best thing I could do was get in and get the rangers to try him on the radio. So off I went clipping along straight for my destination when the seas calmed down a bit and the steering seemed OK I shook out the last of the reef and was clipping along at 5.2 to 5.4 mph hard on the wind. A few miles of this and the puny tiewraps had had enough, pop pop pop and suddenly no rudder, out comes the paddle in goes the reef and I'm moving again but only about 3 mph. After some practice I was able to improve this to 4mph but it took constant attention and a strong grip on the paddle every time I loosened up or lost focus the boat would bear up and it took some time to get it back on track. Sailing, peddaling and steering with the paddle is like being a one armed paper hanger. I arrive at the channel and get passed by a ranger who I ask about Keith and they tell me he is about 5 miles back and OK> 5 miles, what the heck he must have had trouble of some kind.

About an hour later Keith comes sailing into the Marina with his own story to tell. It seems he broke a rudder pin sailed with the paddle and stopped at Clubhouse Beach to repair it.

So why Did this all happen?? The morning before I broke my rudder Keith asked me If I had ever had trouble or broken a rudder pin. I bragged that I never had a problem even on the last camping trip where I really pushed the boat hard. Well that's all it took to get that Jinx that was hiding in the bushes to jump squarely on both out backs.

Lessons Learned

Never brag about your absence a breakdowns the elusive jinx might be hiding nearby

Always carry tiewraps, with them and a roll of duct tape you can fix anything.

Don't leave the frackin VHF on the kitchen counter

Last but not least: The AI will always get you home.

Pics to follow


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:59 pm 
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Location: South Florida
Quirkster has told it like it was. He broke his rudder housing and I broke my first pin.

I dreaded that first pin. After a couple miles ruddering by paddle, with 8 miles to go, I decided to head to shore (ca. 1 mi) and change it (another 1st). I had trouble removing the pin (circular head) until I decided to make it a D-pin head by shaving off part of the head. That done, it easily cleared the cords. I had a new D-pin spare in the hatch cover--it was easily installed and I was under way. Really, a painless operation on shore. Be sure to have a Leatherman or other multi-tool handy.

I've got to add tie-wraps to my repair kit--they are very handy. Quirkster used them to very cleaverly re-attach his rudder to his stern--they lasted 3/4 the way back.

Everyone should carry a VHF radio. Too many times, you get separated from your sailing/paddling partner, and w/o a radio you have no idea what is going on.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:32 am 
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Thanks for the information guys and now another great adventure now recorded. I won't get on my high horse here other than to say that it appears the pins break whenever, but not necessarily when they supposed to...Pirate :cry:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:04 am 
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Knowing that these pins are a designed weak link, and, knowing that they do break, I was half expecting it. Having said that, when it broke, I was surprised for a moment--no steerage. But, the pin lasted 1 1/2 yrs of my usage. So, for now my rule will be change the pin out every 8 months. It is on my calendar.

No complaints.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:01 am 
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Location: Ft Lauderdale FL
Man the first day was beautiful. Following seas and winds, blue skies, flocks of white pelicans flying in formation. Keith and I sailed right next to each other for most of the way. My barber hauler system really came in handy for this 11.5 mile broad reach. Keith uses a simpler system and it worked just as well. We were able to have conversations and take pictures and remain fairly dry for most of the way. Out towards Cape Sable the weather got rougher when the SE winds met the strong Easterly currrent and the swell kicked up to as much as 3.5 to 4 ft as we rounded the point.

Here are a few shots of Keith and his boat

Image


Image


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:19 pm 
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Location: Bairnsdale, Victoria Australia
Chekika wrote:
Knowing that these pins are a designed weak link, and, knowing that they do break, I was half expecting it. Having said that, when it broke, I was surprised for a moment--no steerage. But, the pin lasted 1 1/2 yrs of my usage. So, for now my rule will be change the pin out every 8 months. It is on my calendar.

No complaints.

Keith


Well no-one can complain if they last for 18 months of vigorous useage Keith. Some poor souls however seem to be breaking multiple pins over shorter periods and I am merely trying to get to the bottom of it so we don't have to worry about on water pin failures....Pirate :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:25 pm 
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Great...........now I'm afraid to even talk about the pin! (Knock on wood, 2 Hail Mary's, kiss my lucky rabbit's foot, etc.)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:02 am 
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Pirate, better the rudder pin than the rudder. At the risk of tempting the jinx again I and as I told Keith on the camping trip I have never had a failure underway. The failure I experienced is much more serious than the pin but it was caused by wood to rudder contact in a heavy swell. (OBTW I was in fishing mode at the time) The pin failures seem to result from sailing upwind fighting weather helm, coincidentally I usually experience very little weather helm upwind so my rudder is not under constant load. And yess I sail fully loaded or overloaded in 20 plus kt winds. The key I think is to reef early. The boat will be going at hull speed anyway so more sail does not neccesarily mean more speed. Also pinch up a bit and let the windward telltale point towards the sky with just a hint of a luff in the leading edge of the sail. An over trimmed main is a sure formula for weather helm. If you keep the loads on the rudder to a minimum, inspect and replace pins as needed I think you will solve most of your failure problems.

Gotta go to a photo shoot so when I get home I will post some more pics


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:50 am 
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Quirkster's advice sounds pretty good. I'll have to have him "show me" next time we are out.

Regarding breaking his rudder housing, he was out fishing (no sailing features) in the mouth of a creek/river with ocean swell raising/lowering his boat. My guess is, his rudder/stern came down on a mangrove root--the root jammed between the rudder and stern. This is my backyard simulation of Quirkster's situation. Of course, I am using a small "root" so as to not put any pressure on the system.
Image

In trying to free that, his rudder housing broke. Probably the only way that Quirkster could have freed himself would have been jump into the water, stand on the root as best he could, and lift the boat off from it. Mind you, that would have been a tough choice given that these are shark, croc, and alligator infested waters. See my post at
http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=7276&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=45. If necessary, scroll down until you see "Google Earth image of the SW corner of mainland Florida." Follow that picture story to see where we were camping AND the creatures residing in the area. Don't get me wrong. My friends and I love this area, but you don't want to push your luck. You don't go swimming after dark, for example.

It is interesting that the rudder housing broke (the small triangular section where the pin attaches to lower part of the rudder, the gudgeon) and not the pin.

Is this another circumstance which Hobie needs to worry about? Probably not--how many people are going to get themselves in Quirkster's situation?

Keith

_________________
I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:36 pm 
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Keiths diagram of the failed area is right on and his theory about how it happened is probably accurate. Still not sure why the pin did not break instead of the gudgeon.

That is a flock of white pelicans that followed for awhile on our way out to East Cape Sable. I mentioend to Keith that they were not diviing, since diving birds are a sign of good fishing and he enlightened me that White Pelicans don't dive they herd schools of fish into a tight area to feed on them.

Image

Here is a short attempt at some video. Sorry it's so short I never tried this with my camera before and was nervous about how much of my card it would fill.

Image


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Sorry I am posting this piecemeal but I am working on a photo job and in between I process pictures from the camping trip posting as I go. Here is another of keith sailing between Bradley Key and Clubhouse beach.

Image

This is a picture of the view from the drivers seat of the AI. Notice the gorgeous weather, this is by far the nicest sail Keith or I can remeber on a camping trip. Lots of birds, sea turtles and no power boats, following seas and a nice broad reach it does not get any better than this. That is till we arrive and Keith fixes us some of his mouth watering fish sandwiches.

Image


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:57 pm 
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Video link presentation is good inovation Quirtster and thanks for the good info from you and Keith. More fishing video please, especially with the big one on the other end at the time. Bad luck about the rudder breakage but looks like a one off and possibly happened the way Keith summised. My point is still valid as to why the pin did not fail first but would be explained if your locked down rudder blade dropped down on top of the log so placing extreme pressure on the rudder box. Anyway far better failure than a hull failure in the same area. May there be many more adventures to come.....Pirate :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:10 pm 
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Location: Ettalong Beach, Central Coast, Australia
quirkster wrote:
The key I think is to reef early. The boat will be going at hull speed anyway so more sail does not neccesarily mean more speed. Also pinch up a bit and let the windward telltale point towards the sky with just a hint of a luff in the leading edge of the sail. An over trimmed main is a sure formula for weather helm. If you keep the loads on the rudder to a minimum, inspect and replace pins as needed I think you will solve most of your failure problems.

Gotta go to a photo shoot so when I get home I will post some more pics


My last pin was seriously damaged after six hours, not all with stong wind. I ALWAYS reef, in strong wind, so I have to disagree. I am breaking pins frequently, and its not because I am over powering the yak. And my rudder assembly has perfect fit 8mm holes, as per design, with no slack. Generally I am sailing across the wind, for max speed and fun, and do not need to go up wind, or down wind. That is because of the orientation of the prevailing north east wind, and the bay I have available. I learnt early on that 15 kts needs a furled sail, often even 12 kts.

Geoff.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:01 am 
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OK last word on rudders. Parts are in the mail the full assembly with a sailing blade cost me 55 bucks. I will get it next week and try to repair it before next weekend.

Now on to more important things. Camping pictures! here are a few from the first night we arrived at E Cape Sable
Image

Image

Image


Sorry we did not get fish pictures this time out. When we were catching we were separated and the weather was so rough that we hesitated to get the cameras out. I will post more as I process them.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Geoff wrote:
quirkster wrote:
The key I think is to reef early. The boat will be going at hull speed anyway so more sail does not neccesarily mean more speed. Also pinch up a bit and let the windward telltale point towards the sky with just a hint of a luff in the leading edge of the sail. An over trimmed main is a sure formula for weather helm. If you keep the loads on the rudder to a minimum, inspect and replace pins as needed I think you will solve most of your failure problems.

Gotta go to a photo shoot so when I get home I will post some more pics


My last pin was seriously damaged after six hours, not all with stong wind. I ALWAYS reef, in strong wind, so I have to disagree. I am breaking pins frequently, and its not because I am over powering the yak. And my rudder assembly has perfect fit 8mm holes, as per design, with no slack. Generally I am sailing across the wind, for max speed and fun, and do not need to go up wind, or down wind. That is because of the orientation of the prevailing north east wind, and the bay I have available. I learnt early on that 15 kts needs a furled sail, often even 12 kts.

Geoff.

MY RUDDER SPECS...........
Rudder pin = 7.6 mm
Transom brass insert = 8 mm
Rudder box ( no inserts there) = 8.4 mm

Geoff all your rudder holes may be the 'perfect fit 8mm holes', but if you measure the pin you will find them tp be 7.6 mm if they are the same as we get here, so your holes may be consistant, but still too large for the provided pin. That slack will allow vibration and possibly resonation leading to failure IMHO....Pirate


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