Losing a rudder 500 miles from Fiji

I was sitting at the bow about 500 miles from Fiji. Lovely sunny day. Paul was about to get into the water to remove a line from our propeller. Soon, I hear a splash and a shout.

Is he reacting to the water temperature?


A shark?


We have lost a rudder on the port side.

No need to panic. We’ve got this.

The weather looks benign for the remainder of our trip to Fiji. Rick is already investigating our options for a rudder. Betty and I created a short video .

Paul reports that the water is warm and clear. The sea temperature measures 28.7 degrees Celcius. We are now wearing shorts. The weather in Auckland was putting our limited wardrobes to the test. We experienced hail just before we left and the sea temperature was 20 degrees Celcius.

To end off, here are a couple of pictures of Karen (age 12). She is inspecting a flying fish that landed on our deck this morning.


  1. Hi Lorraine. Any idea why the rudder broke off? Was it while you had the sea anchor out? Was the shaft broken? Your experience is very helpful to other sailors. We depart for Fiji on our cat in 2 weeks time!


    • We were in sustained 4m waves with gusts of up to 50 knots. We didn’t hear or see the rudder break. If we had been on the hard in NZ perhaps we would have seen signs of water intrusion in the rudders. If you have Facebook, please friend me. I’m Lorraine (Hughes) Escher. on my Facebook threads we have had some interesting conversations lately about rudders with a few experienced sailors including Neal Peterson, who is a round the world race sailor, and Angelo Lavranos, who is based in NZ and designed our boat.


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