Rudder Roulette

While cruising the coast of Portugal last summer, I drove Nada, our Malo 46 sailboat, hard onto a sandspit in 3ft breaking seas. All Malos are exceptionally strongly built, so I was not immediately concerned about the hull. The rudder, however, was taking a beating as it hit the bottom in every wave trough. Nonetheless, we made it into deeper water with the rudder still working.

From there we had an easy three-hour motorsail to Baiona, Spain, which had the nearest boatyard with a Travelhoist. We then arranged a haulout to check for damage, which proved to be much worse than we expected.

The first task was to find someone to repair the boat. This was theoretically easy in as much as a service and repair company, RoNautica, also operated in the boatyard, and it was not safe to move Nada. However, almost nobody spoke English, and the outfit looked pretty rinky-dink, with no proper workshop on site and what appeared to be poor shop practices. Although I was assured that the fiberglass technician, Rubio, was highly experienced, I could not tell whether he or anyone else was familiar with our type of rudder.

The Spanish surveyor hired by Pantaenius, our insurance company, also spoke very little English. Nonetheless, he made a perfunctory visual inspection of the damage, after which he and RoNautica discussed the, so we found the first of several Airbnb’s and moved ashore.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Sail

Sail4 min read
Powered Furler Manufacturers
Among other things, this Italian company builds bespoke furling systems and sail-handling equipment for superyachts, so its engineering chops are not in doubt. Bamar does not neglect the smaller end of the market and has recently introduced a new lin
Sail5 min read
To Sail or Nor to Sail
When I was young I would unflinchingly go out sailing in anything. Big boat, little boat, alone or with a crowd, it didn’t much matter. Same thing with setting all kinds of sail, weather forecast be damned. Reefing is for wimps! This, of course, resu
Sail11 min read
Trouble in Paradise
It was just after sunset, and Nina and Mario were belowdecks on their Bavaria 40, Seatramp, anchored a few miles southwest of Linton Bay Marina on Panama’s Caribbean coast. When they heard noises on deck, Mario went out to investigate, and two men hi