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Oyster 39 (?) rescued 520 miles off Bermuda - steering failure

sarabande

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6 May 2005
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33,894
Location
up on the moors.
Unless the "steering box" has jammed the rudder hard over, one wonders why they haven't tried to rig emergency steering with a spi pole and some timber, or a bight of warp and drogue.

Anyone fancy a rescue mission ?
 

Bobc

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20 Jan 2011
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6,291
Unless the "steering box" has jammed the rudder hard over, one wonders why they haven't tried to rig emergency steering with a spi pole and some timber, or a bight of warp and drogue.

Anyone fancy a rescue mission ?
Not easy in a centre cockpit boat
 

Sharky34

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17 Mar 2020
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1,912
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Southcoast
it has an aries that will need the ships duff Whitlock steering
Wasn't just thinking of this boat, but have known cables come off a quadrant, & crew struggling for hours to get home on emergency tiller, when auto ram was still operable.
 

Old Harry

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29 Sep 2017
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Wasn't just thinking of this boat, but have known cables come off a quadrant, & crew struggling for hours to get home on emergency tiller, when auto ram was still operable.
been there done some of that, but managed to get the wire back on the quadrant, whilst the a/h ram was steering
 

Old Harry

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29 Sep 2017
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What are the requirements in the UK to have an emergency tiller that can be used to manually steer the boat in this case.
Racing yes cruising not to my knowledge. This is an Oyster so i would assume it would have one, though this with an aft cabin i would have thought be inside / below decks ,steering only.
a Spi pole & sole board lashed to the pole would give some steerage & as stated a warp / drogue would do similar. A big decisions to leave a floating boat that is your home too
 

capnsensible

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15 Mar 2007
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Atlantic
Ive steered a yacht with an emergency tiller in seas like that. A lot of the time it took two of us. Was fairly tiring and we only did it for about 10 hours. No way could you do it for days.

Have tried a few steering jury rigs as an excercise rather than for real. Most ideas fall apart or get massive wear/ damage quite quickly. Again, mid ocean? Gonna be well difficult.

None of us know exactly what the problem was anyway. A jammed or free flapping rudder = endex trip I reckon. Cables? Yeah as Sharkey says, if autopilot still works and its a cable/chain problem, carry on. I've twice put boats into marina berths with autopilot, so do able.

On my school yacht, I would get the crew to rig the emergency tiller every course. And do some tacks and gybes. Not easy on production yachts as they tend to be very short. Oh and newer Bavaria 37's, it faces astern over the transom. Thats 'interesting'.

Good excersise for Yachtmaster candidates to come alongside with emergency tiller too.

So sad for those guys but I bet they didnt give in easily. If only they had RichardS armchair to give them a tow! (joking, R).
 

anoccasionalyachtsman

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15 Jun 2015
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2,346
Racing yes cruising not to my knowledge. This is an Oyster so i would assume it would have one, though this with an aft cabin i would have thought be inside / below decks ,steering only.
a Spi pole & sole board lashed to the pole would give some steerage & as stated a warp / drogue would do similar. A big decisions to leave a floating boat that is your home too
Supplied as standard, as was a removable deck plate so that you could steer from upstairs.
 

Old Harry

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29 Sep 2017
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I first heard about this on Wednesday, i sent Whitlock an email with details & phoned mobi No, no answer, so i left a message to say email sent.
I also passed info to others in case they could assist with info
Also in the message stated a pick-up on Friday, if not resolved
 

Rappey

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13 Dec 2019
Messages
730
Although costly a hydrovane self steering system has to be the way to go?
Had a go with one and even with its tiny tiller handle it made steering relatively stress free.
It may have been yachting monthly, did a video where they tried all the emergency steering possibilities. I don't think the outcome was good for many of them .
 

michael_w

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Joined
8 Oct 2005
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4,710
I do not know the owner's experience or circumstances. However, I have been onboard this boat with the previous owners, who carried out a major refit before heading out on an Atlantic circuit. After a successful crossing and a winter's cruising in the West Indies she was sold, I presume to the current owners in Ft. Lauderdale.

She is fitted with a Whitlock Mamba steering system which uses torque tubes and bevel boxes, so no cables, quadrants etc.

I understand there was a problem with a bevel box becoming 'disconnected' from the hull. The standard Oyster 39 fit out includes an emergency tiller, plus extension to the rudder stock so the boat can be steered from on deck. This is normally stowed under the aft cabin bunk. I'd have thought it pretty easy to connect this into the Aries vane gear. Alternatively, shoring up the bevel box with anything to hand, non essential parts of the interior, boat hooks, dinghy oars etc.

The abandonment of what seems to be a perfectly seaworthy boat, albeit with a not insurmountable problem is sad. I assume that the insurers will cough up, and make them less likely to insure other small lightly crewed boats of under £1m in value for ocean passages.
 

capnsensible

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15 Mar 2007
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25,221
Location
Atlantic
Although costly a hydrovane self steering system has to be the way to go?
Had a go with one and even with its tiny tiller handle it made steering relatively stress free.
It may have been yachting monthly, did a video where they tried all the emergency steering possibilities. I don't think the outcome was good for many of them .
For sure. On my liveaboard boat, our electric pilot lasted from Gib to Tarifa before it wrapped its hand in on our first transatlantic and Caribbean cruise. Thats a lot of hand steering, mostly just the two of us. So when we got back to Spain, we fitted a Hydrovane and used it on our second circuit. Dogs doodahs.

I practiced going alongside with it a couple of times using the tiller. Which is actually a bilge pump handle. Centre cockpit Moody 33. Doddle. Also got a tiller pilot that fits on to it when motoring. Easy to alter course under sail with remote lines but a bit of a PITA to keep nipping aft to press tiller pilot buttons. But worth it.

Have used a hydrovane briefly (to check operation) on a couple of delivery boats. I am a fan!!

Oh, the emergency tiller on our centre cockpit boat means steering with one of yer feet with your head stuck out the hatch......
 
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