I wonder what things they tried and over what period before taking the massive decision to abandon?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.