Thursday, March 2, 2017

Mexican Navy Tows Disabled Sailboat for 1 1/2 Days.

Described in the link below, a sail boat became disabled when their rudder sheared off, 3/4 of the way from Texas to Mexico. The US Coast Guard contacted the Mexican Navy, and the Mexican Navy sent a 180-foot cutter to provide a tow.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/mexican-navy-comes-to-rescue-of-stranded-american-sailors

Without getting political, it's something to think about. Things do go both ways. I like to get along with my neighbors. It seems to work out better.

Of course, a proper steering drogue would also have solved the problem, just as quickly and with less drama. After my own experience with bending a rudder on a submerged log (repair described in "Keeping a Cruising Boat for Peanuts"), I did considerable research on drogues for emergency steering and storm management, learning that a good drogue is a solution even a singlehanded sailor can make work in minutes, with just a little preparation and practice. In the above situation, I would have had a steering drogue in the water within 5 minutes, and we would have been on our way, a knot or two slower, but with certainty.

A failed rudder is simply not a valid cause for rescue or loss of your boat; I've sailed hundreds of miles with no rudder or worse, a rudder jammed to the side. It's quite manageable.

See "Faster Cruising for the Coastal Sailor" for the details. Also, and up-coming article in Practical Sailor will describe the details of rigging and using a drogue. In "How Much Drag is a Drogue" (Practical Sailor, September 2016) I tested, reviewed, and list the relative drag and performance characteristics of most popular drogues.

(Up-coming article in Practical Sailor on Emergency Steering with Drogues)




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