Day 14 Galapagos to Marquises
13 June 2011 | 09 52S 134 14W
265 miles to go, 183 miles toward destination this 24 hour period. Yesterdays steering problem turned out to be the complete loss of the starboard rudder. At 4am we rounded up into the wind, Dean woke me up to tell me something was wrong. I got the motor running got us back on course but the steering was very sluggish with the autopilot having a hard time keeping us on course. By disconnecting each rudder from the system I determined something had happened to the starboard rudder. In daylight I stuck my head under there to discover no rudder, not even a frame, the shaft had sheared off leaving a 1" stub. We dropped the main and jib, raised the kite and hand steered for the rest of the day. It was difficult as you had to keep the boat dead downwind because if she rounded up more than 10 degrees there was no stopping her with just the one rudder. Only three of us could manage it well enough to keep her on such a tight course so it was a very stressful day after a stressful night. Although we were not able to point directly at or destination, we made good time. After talking with our friends on the SSB net we got some good advice on going into the autopilot dealer calibration section and making some changes to make it react quicker and with more turn to the rudder. So at sunset we dropped the kite raised a small amount of main and the jib and tried the new auto. It worked but it was turning the rudder so much I was afraid of the stress so we dropped the main and have been motor sailing all night with just the jib and auto able to handle it. The factory told us that they had straightened many rudder shafts and many were still sailing years later with those same shafts. Well, it did not work out for us. So now we sail on thinking about our one remaining rudder that was bent just as bad as the one that sheared off. Fingers crossed.