Friday, March 06, 2009

The luck of the thirteenth sail of the year

Torn tiller. Interestingly, when the winds rose, the tiller didn't break at the connection to the tiller extension, where holes had been drilled that might have weakened it. Instead, the tiller first broke at the front end several inches in front of the tiller extension connection. Then, several minutes later, the tiller broke near the rudder stock. Controlling the boat without a tiller in the whitecaps was an interesting exercise, with crew weight and sail steering inadequate in tight quarters. But, we were able to sail the boat to the courtesy dock and make a precision landing in spite of conditions. The boat the tiller came from had been exposed to a fire; possibly exposure to the heat of the fire, combined with regular stresses from using the tiller, combined to weaken the laminated surfaces of the wood strips that the tiller comprised.

Superstitious sailors might be interested to know that although sailing on Friday the 13th proved to be no problem, Monday's sail was my 13th sail of the year. The Saturday sail also had an interesting conclusion; as Carol Anne and her crew returned to the dock, they faced a jammed halyard and a mainsail that refused to come down the mast.

Vise pliers clamped to the rudder stock.

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