Join Date: Apr 2005
Bikes: 2006 Cannondale R800
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So I rented a sailboat today, a Hunter 240 (24 ft) with a buddy of mine. I planned on picking up a friend and his date after a couple hours too. Anyway, we're out in the bay and my buddy at the helm does an accidental tack. In the middle of it as I'm trying to help him recover, there's a loud snap. When we look toward the back of the boat, the rudder is sheared off at the top - at the widest part of the rudder. It's made of fiberglass with a foam and denser fiberglass core. Which later leads me to think:
The rudder is arguably the most important part of a boat. Since a single-point failure of this item is so dangerous, shouldn't it be so overdesigned that it is nearly impossible to break even with slight damage that is not immediately noticeable? Then I started thinking, isn't that how a carbon bicycle fork should be designed as well? I'm not really worried about mine, but some of those things are really light and I wonder how manufacturers mitigate the possible consequences of such a failure. Have any other sailors seen a rudder break like this before?
Luckily we made it back to the marina safely, but then we had to write statements about what happened. The people there thought we might have run aground and that's what broke the rudder (it wasn't). After reviewing our statements, they agreed that it "just broke" and then said that we wouldn't have to pay for it. That gave me the impression that we were responisible for other accidental damage. Isn't that something that their insurance should pay anyway? I never signed a waiver that said I was responsible for accidental damage. It makes me leery of renting there again, but I have no other choice if I want to sail here.
I just wish this had never happened because 1. I feel like I have a bad reputation at the marina, even though they said it's no problem, 2. it shakes my confidence in other fiberglass items (like the whole freaking hull), and 3. I wanted to help my buddy get laid