As I have said before, there are few people on the planet, probably less than a dozen, who know as much about surviving storms at sea in a small boat as Susanne Huber-Curphey.
I’m privileged to be on her email newsletter list. The latest contained the following nugget of wisdom:
This self-steering was also the reason why Ian on ‘Puffin’ did not deploy his Jordan-Series-Drogue (JSD) one week ago, causing his boat to capsize in a severe storm…
…Ian clearly experienced the most severe weather in an otherwise rather quiet GGR, but I do wonder why he activated the Epirb on the then undamaged boat, rather than deploying his JSD after getting the imminent warning of over 90 knots of wind for several hours by the race organizers…Emphasis mine
…In my experience the exposed rudder of any self-steering system must be easily removable and stowed below deck in the to be expected, somehow wild conditions of a force ten or above.
This confirms my thinking that Maxime has made the right choice in equipping the Adventure 40 with a servo pendulum gear, not an auxiliary rudder, since the boat will be tricked out for a JSD, as well as confirming my own reservations about the latter type of gear.
If you want to dig deeper into Susanne’s thoughts on the loss of Puffin, there’s an interesting conversation over at Peter Foerthmann’s site. Yes, Peter is hardly unbiased, but that doesn’t alter the fact we can learn useful things from him, particularly since he also makes an auxiliary rudder gear.