Progress notes for today:  I posted some pictures to our little Make Me Move listing on Zillow.  Who knows if anything ever comes of those things.  I'm guessing it's pretty rare, but I'm not one leave any option untried.

We read the first half of the chapter in The Capable Cruiser on caring for your marriage aboard.  I'll write up notes on that when we complete the chapter.

We also completed the chapter on coping with a steering failure.  There are some great suggestions in there.

First, and this seems like it would go without saying, but I could absolutely see myself blowing past it in the heat of a lost-steering situation had I not read this chapter, is to immediately address any threat of drifting into other boats or onto a lee shore by dropping anchor if at all possible and heaving to if not. (BTW, I need to read their Storm Tactics book and really get my head around heaving-to, among other things).  They actually described situations they've had like this where, lacking the opportunity to find a nice anchorage, they were forced to heave the anchor over in water so deep they had only a 2:1 scope, but it was sufficient to address the immediate problem.  With that risk triaged, we move on to a cool-headed assessment of the situation and further measures to be taken.

Second is to identify the nature of the failure.  Is it a broken tiller or rudder head?  Is it a failed linkage from a wheel?  Is it a lost rudder?  As an aside, they touch on the importance, when considering taking any boat out on passage, of giving some thought to the complexity of the steering system and ease-of-access in the event of a breakage.  They give the example of a center-cockpit boat they were delivering, with mechanical steering linkages running 20 feet aft behind lockers and beneath the sole to the rudder.  It started to fail and it took an inordinate amount of effort locate and jury-rig the failing components.  I wonder how many modern boats have actual mechanical linkages.  More to the point, I wonder how many of the vintage we're likely to sail.

The simplest solution to lost steering if the rudder is intact is one which will have required some planning ahead:  If you have had the foresight to drill a hole toward the trailing edge of the rudder, then in an emergency, you can run a line through it, tie stopper-knots on each side, and run those lines to cockpit cleats, allowing you to steer effectively by hauling in the line on the side to which you wish to steer.  Even with an inboard rudder, though it will require a quick swim to place the line, this system can be used effectively by running the lines first through forward blocks on each beam and then aft to the cockpit.

In the case of a lost rudder, one might drag a "tail" which can be moved to the aft quarter on whichever side toward which the captain wishes steer.

Finally, one may steer with the sails, balancing the rig's center of effort with the hull's center of resistance and shifting the center of effort fore and aft of the center of resistance in order to fall off or head up, as needed.

As a last item of what seems to me excellent advice, Lin and Larry suggest taking the time in calm conditions to run through exercises simulating situations like these so that the crew is prepared for the real thing should it ever happen.  In the unfortunate event that no such real emergency should ever  in fact transpire, the drill will have nonetheless been a great exercise in teamwork and a great example to the young ones of being prepared for contingencies in life.  Some worthwhile drills to run: man overboard, lost steering, and lost engine.  I'm sure there others that would be worthwhile.  Any suggestions?  Lost nav systems?  Abandon ship drills?  Galley fire?