Where's the Rudder?

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 23 Jun 2011 02:20
Noon Position: 27 48.9 S 155 52.0 E
West sou' west, Speed: 3 knots
South-ish, F2-3 light air to slight breeze
Partly cloudy, mild
Day's run: 33 miles (71 miles sailed)

All of a sudden my confidence in arriving Coffs Harbour before Monday has taken a nose dive. Not only is this high pressure system bringing some nice weather it is also bringing very light and fickle winds. Now this would be OK but to top it off I went on deck last night to check the wind vane as we were going way off course for no apparent reason. When I looked over the stern there was the safety lanyard which is normally attached to the rudder trailing in the water but no rudder. The wind vane rudder had broken a weld at the rudder post and not only come adrift from the wind vane but also broke its safety lanyard. Bother! So I persisted trying to steer for a while but in the end the light winds defeated me, giving insufficient return for the effort, and at 2.15 this morning I conceded defeat, dropped sails, and turned in for a while and allowed Sylph to drift.

This morning I motored for an hour in the calm, never hurts to give the engine a run for a bit and I needed to charge the batteries to boot, then come about 10.30 I reckoned we had enough wind to try sailing. Sylph has been doing a pretty good job of steering herself without the wind vane, the light winds are making it difficult for her so every now and then I have to give her a hand, help her bring her bow back up as when the wind goes very light she tends to fall off the wind, then when the wind freshens I have to watch to make sure she doesn't come too close to the wind and go aback.

Speaking of which, the wind has died again and we are going the wrong way. I had better go and steer for a bit.

All is well.