Friday, October 23, 2009

The Rudder that Went for a Swim

At the very end of September, when Lake Erie sailors are facing up to the reality that it is time to remove the boat from the water, came a sustained and mighty wind out of the west. The waters around Port Clinton are not that deep to begin with, and the wind pushed a lot of the more useful water down to the other end of the lake (and we hope they appreciated it) causing the water level to drop 5 or 6 feet. Coincidentally, that's just about exactly how deep the water normally is where Vidi Aquam is docked. You do the math.
VA, secure at her mooring, moved neither to the left nor to the right. She just moved straight down. One of the dock owners went to look things over and found VA looking pretty, but somewhat abbreviated. Her rudder was gone. Either floated off its pintles or bumped off. I was not too upset when I got the phone call, as I had been thinking of buying a new, more aerodynamic rudder -- and then I found out what new ones cost. That sobered me up a bit. Then, two days after the initial call, came another informing me that the lost rudder had washed up at a neighboring dock. The photo shows the wandering rudder next to my garage door, which gives you a scale. It is about six feet high and weighs about 35 pounds (.024 hectares). It could use a wash and brush-up sometime before April.

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