I believe this will be a good back up and a possible assist when the rudder is being over powered. I used an old crappy kayak paddle with a nearly flat blade, but I think the standard Hobie paddle could also be used to avoid carrying extra gear.
I've done quite a bit of steering on the TI with just an oar due to failure of the steering lines while we were out on extended sails; these are my observations:
- Use the flattest oar you can find. The Hobie oar is too curved for extended use and flexes too much while under heavy load; it's good for paddling, but not as a rudder replacement.
- I found that I needed to swiftly move the oar from side-to-side because the TI responded better with the oar on the downwind side of the main hull. As we were leaving Smith Island to return to Crisfield (about 14 miles across open water), the steering stopped functioning correctly and the rudder wouldn't respond (it turned out that the port steering line would break two days later). Once we were clear of the sheltered waters around Smith Island, the winds were 15-18 and the seas were about 2-3 feet; we kept slewing around as we raced down the face of the waves and I needed to place the oar on the other side of the TI briefly for corrective steering, then put it back on the downwind side.
- I found the TI responded better to steering with the oar when the blade was as far aft as possible.
Here are a couple links that illustrate what I'm saying, and they take you to the exact location in the video so you don't have to watch the whole thing:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfFyPbeTYjs#t=04m50shttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlyLpxpUJME#t=00m15s