How to help our yachty friends with a broken tiller ?

prv

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Sounds like they had engaged the autopilot without realising it. Turn the batteries off and on, and it comes up in standby mode and you can turn the wheel again.

Feckin' numpties!

Pete
 

CharlieAlpha

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Sounds like they had engaged the autopilot without realising it. Turn the batteries off and on, and it comes up in standby mode and you can turn the wheel again.

Feckin' numpties!

Pete
That can happen to any of us, in fact myself in Port Solent lock, took me a few seconds to go through the checks to find it, but for me that's the point these things happen but it sounds like they did not even do the basic checks before calling the RNLI
 

RupertW

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Happened to a boat going past our home marina a couple of years ago - alas they were doing about 30 knots an killed an old couple sailing by. They said they had seen the boats ahead of them at least a minute before and were keeping a proper watch but they couldn't turn the wheel to avoid hitting the yacht. The other obvious actions didn't occur to them.
 

pmagowan

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Happened to a boat going past our home marina a couple of years ago - alas they were doing about 30 knots an killed an old couple sailing by. They said they had seen the boats ahead of them at least a minute before and were keeping a proper watch but they couldn't turn the wheel to avoid hitting the yacht. The other obvious actions didn't occur to them.

How weird. You would expect that they could take some action rather than simply spectating but perhaps it was a case of rabbits in the headlights.
 

James L

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How weird. You would expect that they could take some action rather than simply spectating but perhaps it was a case of rabbits in the headlights.

A couple of years ago, one of the kids managed to turn off the batteries powering our electronic controls while we were doing 25 knots. Scared the life out of me even though we were in no immediate danger, luckily when the chart plotter powered off I tried to throttle back to investigate. Guessed what had happened pretty quickly but had there been a boat in front of us at the time, I'm not so sure I would have kept my composure. It's very easy to panic and assume nothing is working.

If anyone knows Baltimore - I was just after passing through the Kedges so was very relieved it hadn't happened 5 minutes beforehand. Wouldn't have fancied that at 25 knots and not being able to slow down.
 

prv

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A couple of years ago, one of the kids managed to turn off the batteries powering our electronic controls

Engine controls on sailyboats are invariably mechanical, so that possibility never even occurred to me :). What happens if electronic controls lose power? I'd have assumed the engines would drop back to idle, but it sounds like they just stayed at the last-used throttle setting? That seems like a very odd design choice to me.

Pete
 

prv

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That can happen to any of us, in fact myself in Port Solent lock, took me a few seconds to go through the checks to find it, but for me that's the point these things happen but it sounds like they did not even do the basic checks before calling the RNLI

Sure, I've got the standby and auto buttons mixed up on occasion and tried to turn the wheel when the pilot was engaged (also left the helm when it wasn't!). It's perfectly understandable for someone to be puzzled for a second or two - but not to conclude that the steering has irretrievably jammed, make no apparent attempt to investigate the problem, decide to call the RNLI, continue to do nothing to help yourself for at least several more minutes while the boat is en route...

I stand by my original comment :)

Pete
 

James L

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Engine controls on sailyboats are invariably mechanical, so that possibility never even occurred to me :). What happens if electronic controls lose power? I'd have assumed the engines would drop back to idle, but it sounds like they just stayed at the last-used throttle setting? That seems like a very odd design choice to me.

Pete

If the voltage drops they will drop back to idle, however when you turn off the battery switch the voltage drops to 0 too fast for it to change.

It does surprise me on occasion how fast people will call the RNLI, overheard a call out a couple of weeks ago for a yacht dragging her anchor, nothing but a gentle breeze and while the lifeboat was looking for said yacht in the fog, they were told there's 4 people on deck. You could hear the frustration in the reply, but they retained their usual professional composure. Hard to imagine I would be so understanding after being called away from my Sunday lunch.
 

prv

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If the voltage drops they will drop back to idle, however when you turn off the battery switch the voltage drops to 0 too fast for it to change.

That seems like a major design flaw in a safety-critical system, to me. The engine end of things ought to be constantly talking to the controls, and deliberately drop to tickover if it ceases to get answers.

(I would also talk about a mechanical spring on the governor lever in case the engine electrics lose power too, except that I assume modern mobo engines likely to have electronic throttles would themselves be electronically managed, so if the engine electronics go down the engine ceases to run anyway.)

Pete
 

James L

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Ideally, they would drop back to tick over but stay in gear.
But I must say I would rather they stay running than shutdown if the battery power went. The engines themselves are on different battery circuits, so the keys will still work to turn them off.

If I'm not in a place where I can maneuver out of any trouble without slowing down, then I won't be going at speed. But there are often scenarios where loosing all propulsion would mean getting into trouble.
 

prv

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Ideally, they would drop back to tick over but stay in gear.

Agreed.

But I must say I would rather they stay running than shutdown if the battery power went.

Yes. But I was assuming that a modern electronically-controlled common-rail diesel simply cannot run without its management unit operational. So there's no point designing a mechanical failsafe for if the engine electronics fail - if the engine electronics go down, so does the engine so the point is moot.

Pete
 

James L

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Yes. But I was assuming that a modern electronically-controlled common-rail diesel simply cannot run without its management unit operational. So there's no point designing a mechanical failsafe for if the engine electronics fail - if the engine electronics go down, so does the engine so the point is moot.

Pete

ah, but there is nothing modern about my engines. Volvo AD41P's
 

prv

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ah, but there is nothing modern about my engines. Volvo AD41P's

Ah, ok, so people sometimes have electronic controls on mechanically-governed engines? Presumably there's an engine-mounted unit as part of the control package, which bolts on in place of the morse control and moves the "throttle" lever with some kind of servo actuator? In that case, I'd have expected the servo to go limp if the power fails, and a spring to pull the lever back to tickover. That's the obvious fail-safe way of doing it; anything else seems surprising.

Pete
 

Johntheoil

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What about the fuel shut off valves?.......those red cable operated levers that you are supposed to pull when the boat catches fire.
 

C08

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Was in Salcome or Newton Ferrers last year when a MOBO had to be towed back by the lifeboat as its throttle had broken. Electronic control no emergency fix to get home. No long piece of string to manually operate the engine with bungee as a return spring!
 

pmagowan

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Was in Salcome or Newton Ferrers last year when a MOBO had to be towed back by the lifeboat as its throttle had broken. Electronic control no emergency fix to get home. No long piece of string to manually operate the engine with bungee as a return spring!

All you need to do is shout 'ding ding, engine full ahead' or 'ding ding, slow astern' etc. I saw it in the movies.
 
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