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Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

A forum for discussion of how to rig and tune your boat or kicker to achieve the best sailing performance.

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Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby roberttintera » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:25 pm

Hi, we own a 97 26 X, still novice sailors, we like sailing in Fla shallow inland water, but get rudders jammed often, then we can't steer, maybe a 26x is just too much boat for inland, "go anywhere" sailing? (or I have a rudder issue?) I thot she would be perfect drawing only 9" when centerboard is up, and rudders are sometimes partially up...help! Thanks all, Robert/Elaine
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby Jimmyt » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:39 pm

To be clear, are you trying to sail in 9” of water with the keel up and rudders at almost 90 degrees?

Also, can you give any more detail regarding the rudders jamming?
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby sailboatmike » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:57 am

You will struggle to use the rudders in anything but the fully locked down position they become VERY difficult to move while on the water, even just a couple of inches from vertical it can be a real struggle.

Yes it can float in 9 inches (in theory) but thats about all it can do, a standard 20" leg motor need at least 12 inches of draft and then only if you dont mind wrecking the motor from all the rubbish your going suck in to the cooling system and you dont mind buying new props all the time
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby Ixneigh » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:07 pm

I have the M model. There is an art to sailing in very shallow water and it requires different techniques then other sailing. Have the correct sails up and not pulled in too tight. You want to lessen the pressure on the rudderss which will be in the horizontal position where they weren't ntended to operate. Unroll the jib and reduce the maintain size. You should be able slowly crab the boat forward and sideways. Not that fast. Try to adjust the sails and see what works. Best practice on a calm day the first few times.
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby NiceAft » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:26 pm

I would like a clearer explanation of “jammed”. The wheel won’t turn?
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby whgoffrn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:54 pm

I'm not sure I understand the problem either but I think I know what is going on.... if your rudders aren't ALL THE WAY DOWN they need to be all the way UP. If you are trying to steer with the rudders partially down then try to turn ...the lateral forces try to shove the ends of the rudders up towards the surface ...snapping them off so they are binding under the pressure and u are lucky u haven't snapped one or both if trying to steer with rudders partially down

If you are sailing slow downwind I suppose you could sail with the rudders but just where the bottom half barely breaks the surface of the water and being very careful to make slight turns as to not put too much pressure on the rudders as the pressure point is right where it exits the cheeks
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby DaveC426913 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:54 pm

...and rudders are sometimes partially up...


This is the problem. There's no middle setting for the rudders. They must be fully deployed or fully retracted.
Anything in between makes it impossible to turn the wheel.

If you are in water shallow enough that you may bottom out, you should retract the rudders and steer by O/B. That'll feel pretty slippery though.
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby DaveC426913 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:02 pm

I'll tell you what I might be tempted to do, if I were the OP.

If you're doing a lot of cruising in very shallow water, and steering with O/B alone is not satisfactory, I would try adding a mini-rudder to the main rudder so that only the mini-rudder is underwater. Then you'd still have shallow draft while maintaining steerage.

Alternately, you might make a new set of rudders that are only as long as you need.

It would depend on how often you wanted to switch between shallow cruising and deep cruising. Might you want to change modes without docking? YMMV.
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby Azzarac » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:05 pm

One other thought, although I doubt you have the ladder down in 9" water, on our 97 :macx: the ladder will cause the rudders to bind if left in the down position. Just a thought...
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby tlgeddes » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:45 pm

On my :macm: I have an issue where the steering jams. In my case its not the rudder. It is the steering ball quick release that gets bound up in the hull gasket on a hard to starboard turn. The PO had put a pvc coupler on the steering rod to keep the coupling ball from burying into the gasket. When I removed the pvc coupler I soon figured out why it was there so I put it back on. I realize a picture would be good here.
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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby NiceAft » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:10 am

I am still waiting for Robert to post a more detailed explanation of “jammed”.

This is like playing darts in a heavy fog. How does anyone replying to the request for help know their answer hit the bullseye if you cannot clearly see the board.

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Re: Rudders get jammed, can't steer??

Postby bwygirl » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:13 pm

If you are having trouble steering right to left you may need a new steering cable. These do get damaged and "freeze" up or they may get very tight first. If you are having trouble sailing in very shallow water and the rudders get stuck in the mud, then you will just need to keep them up and do your best to steer just using the sails, yes this can be done but it is difficult. Or, you will need to sail in deeper water. The 9" draft is a float off the trailer measurement. Yes the boat can sail in areas that a lot of other boats cannot as you can raise up the daggerboard or centerboard some but to really sail right you need about 6 feet of water or so. Yes, if you have the rudders trailing back they will get broken off as they are not built to withstand that pressure, you may even break the brackets. No, sorry folks, the engine down to steer is not a very good idea either. The engine should always be up if you are sailing, unless you do not want to tack. Hope this helps, you can always give us a call to talk! BWY
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