SAIL

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 repair, 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

Sail2 min read
Three Around 30
Much as a megayacht may impress, there’s nothing to get the pulse racing like a zippy little sloop that speaks of adventure from masthead to keel—and these three new designs from a trio of builders better known for their cruising boats look to have a
Sail2 min read
U.s. Virgin Islands
Shoulder to shoulder with the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgins are made up of four main islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and Water Island) and then another 50 or so smaller cays. The main island is St. Thomas, which is a major gateway
Sail5 min read
Ask Sail
Q: I have an old 30ft C&C from the mid-80s. It was originally equipped with a conventional spinnaker, but a spinnaker hasn’t been flown from the boat in years. I don’t even own one now! I was thinking of trying an A-sail. Is it absolutely necessary t