System failures…

…are no doubt part of the game when it comes to offshore sailing. The offshore passage to Cape Cod from Nova Scotia had a system failure that took us both by surprise. The Monitor self-steering rudder broke. Cracked in two ten hours before we were hook down in P-Town. We were glass becalmed entering the Cape Cod tidal influence and making about six good knots over the ground. LoveBot 2.1 was driving Cetacea along just perfectly when I (James) left the helm after my last daytime watch. Shift kiss! I (Dena) monitored our course and kept a sharp eye out for sign of cetaceans. We weren’t that far from Stellwagen Bank. We started to back around too far south and I looked back at LoveBot. The swinging rudder was hard over to starboard, which steers us to port. I tried adjusting the tiller pilot portion, then the wheel adapter portion, but I couldn’t get it to straighten up. I pulled the cord that releases the rudder so it can be raised when not in use and a busy foamy froth erupted where it should have appeared. I called for James and he came to take the helm while I figured out WTF. We had the rudder set up to be retrieved by pulling on a length of seine twine. When I hauled on that, the pressure on that thin line cutting into my fingers. To my utter surprise, the entire rudder banged off LoveBot’s frame on its way up to me…completely unattached to the Monitor. Someone (Not Fucking Us) beat the hell out of this Monitor windvane. LoveBot has been through at least one bad accident. When we put her on Cetacea she was bent to hell so we knew we were going to have some surprises ahead. The frame[…]

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