Four months ago Jeanne and Dan Streiff left Mexico on their Seattle-based Catalina 470 Lucky Dog for the trip of a lifetime. They were just two weeks into their passage to the Marquesas when disaster struck with the loss of their rudder, for no apparent reason. Jeanne told the story of misfortune turning to salvation when they abandoned Lucky Dog and then were able to return to her and bring her into Hiva Oa for repairs.
We recently heard from Jeanne, who let us know that after much creative and resourceful effort, they’ve managed to build a replacement rudder in Hiva Oa. Jeanne wrote, “Here is our new rudder! (Emergency one shown on back of boat; really illustrates what we were missing!).”
They documented the build of the new rudder on Instagram showing the whole process of fashioning the rudder with marine plywood over stainless steel, then shaping, fiberglassing and painting. Then, “Tadaa! — it’s now installed.”
Beyond building a new rudder from scratch in the South Pacific, this huge interruption in their plans has forced some other adjustments to their schedule. As Jeanne describes, “We only got a one-month extension on our 90-day visa, so we are heading back to British Columbia and keeping her in the yard in Hiva Oa until next March — through cyclone season. We are looking at this as a giant reset button for our cruising. Next year should be great. At that point, we will test the rudder out nearby, then keep going. We are so grateful for all of the local support in Hiva Oa. We are really so very lucky.”
There are some products and places where you can’t get things from Amazon Prime overnight, so it’s still true that cruisers have to be flexible and resourceful when setting off on a voyage. The ability to find a French cruiser to help them find their abandoned boat, bring it back to Hiva Oa, and then build a new rudder on site highlights the best of these cruising traits. We look forward to hearing more from Jeanne and Dan when they return to Lucky Dog next spring.