SOS Rudder

SOS Rudder




The SOS Rudder was designed to meet several conflicting demands:
- It had to be small enough to store easily
- It had to be able to be installed by one person, at sea
- It had to be large enough to steer a 50-60 ft LOA boat
- And, it had to be 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.


When you receive an SOS Rudder from Scanmar International, you do not get a mass-produced, "figure-out-how-it-fits-on-my-boat" product. 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 custom worksheet showing exactly which dimensions we need to design a mount. We will work closely with you to be sure the SOS Rudder will fit.

There are two rudder sizes available - we will suggest the correct one for your boat.**STANDARD SIZE NO LONGER AVAILABLE**

The tiller will be 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 tackle.


For some transom configurations a crossbar several feet long can be fitted, with tackle eyebolts at each end, instead of a 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.

Please note:
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 OF SAIL.




This Elite 37, "Compromise", was the "Poster Boat" for the Pacific Cup at 'Strictly Sail', the April 2007 Oakland Boat Show.


Beneteau First 40.7


Beneteau First 40.7


Beneteau First 40.7


Beneteau 42


Beneteau 42


Beneteau 42


Beneteau 42


Ericson 38


Gulfstar 43


Hughes-Perry 63 trimaran


Hughes-Perry 63 trimaran


Hughes-Perry 63 trimaran


Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45


Tayana 37 - the SOS Rudder is set up on the port side to clear the Saye's Rig installation


Tayana 37 with Saye's Rig


Tayana 37 with Saye's Rig


Tayana 37 with Saye's Rig


Tayana 37 with Saye's Rig


Tayana 48 DS


Tayana 48 DS


Tayana 48 DS


Tayana 48 DS

We have SOS Rudder installation drawings already available for the following boats: