The SOS Rudder
The SOS Rudder is designed to meet several criterea:
- Small enough to store easily
- Capable of being installed by one person, at sea
- Large enough to steer a 50-60 ft LOA boat
- Reasonably priced
We met these parameters by using existing components already proven for strength in our
other products - the mounting brackets and tubes from the Monitor windvane, the rudder from
the Monitor MRUD emergency steering system, and the castings from our Auto-helm windvane
- all made of 316L stainless steel. We are the first company to offer a commercially available
emergency steering system at a reasonable price.
Each SOS Rudder is custom-designed to fit a particular boat, using dimensions supplied by the
owner. If we have a mounting drawing for your boat, you can be assured that the SOS Rudder
will fit. If we do not, we will send you a worksheet showing which dimensions we need to
design a mount. We will work closely with you to be sure the SOS Rudder will fit.
The tiller is designed to fit your particular needs - it can run straight forward, in the traditional
manner, or it can cant off to port or starboard to clear a radar mast or backstay, then bend back
to parallel boat centerline. Eyebolts are fitted at the forward end to allow setting up steering
For some transom configurations a t-bar tiller can be fitted, with tackle eyebolts at each end,
instead of a traditional tiller. Operating lines can be run inboard from this yoke-style
arrangement, and set up to a jury-rigged tiller or even to the wheel spokes.
Initial mounting, and fitting at sea
The forward ends of the mounting tubes are bent in so they are parallel to boat centerline. The
installer sets up the mounting brackets on shim blocks angled so the mounting brackets sit
parallel to the boat centerline, and their crossbolts align so they can act as a "hinge" during
fitting. To set it up at sea, the SOS Rudder is held up by a tackle and the upper mounting tubes
are fitted to their brackets with their crossbolts. As the tackle is slowly eased, the SOS Rudder
pivots down on the crossbolts and the lower mounting tubes can be easily aligned with their
brackets, and their two crossbolts fitted. All four bolts are then tightened. See the next
section, Installation, for sequential photos.
Plan ahead! The SOS Rudder takes some time to set up on your transom. Afterwards, the entire
unit breaks down into seven components which store in their supplied stowage bag. Before
setting off on your cruise or race, be sure you and your crew have practiced setting up your SOS
Rudder. It's far easier to become acquainted with it in port, rather than facing the first
installation at night, in heavy weather......
We strongly recommend the use of safety lines when the SOS Rudder is mounted at sea.
Additionally, of the best and most secure pieces of safety equipment is a bosun's chair slung
from the mast or radar arch. Preventers rigged to the quarters of the stern give a stable seat.
Remember, though, that it is NOT a replacement for a safety line - it's an addition.
The SOS Rudder is an emergency steering system designed to get you to the nearest port in
case of rudder failure. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONTINUE TO RACE, OR TO CARRY A HEAVY PRESS