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S&S Swan General - Quadrant loose after Orca interaction, Swan 40
24 June 2022 - 10:42
Join Date: 15 May 2020
Posts: 4

Quadrant loose after Orca interaction, Swan 40

Hello everyone,

Sad to report our rudder quadrant is now loose after an interaction with Orca off Cape Roche, Spain while sailing to Gibraltar from Ayamonte.

The wheel at the helm can be moved 20-25 degrees before there is any movement of the rudder. Visual inspection shows the quadrant is not tight on the rudder stock. The quadrant also wobles a bit in the vertical while the helm is moved from full port to full right. Visual inspection shows the steering cables are tight and the quadrant rotates as expected when the helm is rotated.

We have confirmed that the rudder is firmly attached to the rudder stock by connecting the emergency tiller. Also the autopilot on a seperate tiller arm can drive the rudder without any delay in the expected movement.

Pictures to follow after haul out early next week.

What I need is the full drawings of the ruder stock/shaft and quadrant attachement arrangements. 

Is there a source of spare quadrants for a Swan 40/07 ?

Many thanks in advance to an incredible community of expertise and support.


Migration 40/07



24 June 2022 - 13:39
Join Date: 09 November 2021
Posts: 43

Hi Andreas,


I am so sorry to hear Orcas attack with your boat.

I also would love to know more detail on that, how long it lasted, what did you do, how far away wore you from the cost etc…


In meanwhile I have been having issues with my quadrant as I am trying to install a proper autopilot. With that i discover that my quadrante is not original as Star Swan was tiller version. (race version I guess).

A quadrant and support was install in 1996. 


What kind of information exactly would you need? I am not close to my boat but I can ask whatever…


Where is your boat now? Portugal?

24 June 2022 - 16:13
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Hi Andreas,

I am very sorry to read your message.

It is likely the key on the rudder shaft went into pieces, but of course you have to check once the boat is ashore.

Would you be able to send photos (even to my mail box eventually)?

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

Rudder of a S&S Swan 40 dropped

24 June 2022 - 17:33
Join Date: 15 May 2020
Posts: 4



Thank you for the quick response. We were sailing at only 3.5kts in heavy swell, light wind conditions downwind about 25nm off Cape Roche heading 142M. There were three "interactions" 06:00-06:10 , 06:30-06:40, 08:00-08:30. First three then five, finally seven Orca. We lost most of the Hydrovane Rudder, then the rest of it twisted off and the shaft bent. Finally damage to the quadrant with worrying persistant heavy impacts to the rear underside next to the cockpit. Two other boats in our vicinity were also attacked. We are in Puerto Sherry Marina. We have steering and after diving to look at the rudder we will consider where to haul out for repairs.

Thank you for the drawings. Just what I need to visualise where the damage might be.


Migration 40/07

24 June 2022 - 18:46
Join Date: 15 May 2020
Posts: 4


Pics and video next week. Please send me your email.

Is it possible to upload video to the forum?


Andreas (40/07)

24 June 2022 - 20:42
Join Date: 09 November 2021
Posts: 43

Hi Andreas,


Thank you for the description. I know the owner of puerto sherry Marina very well and she also runs a classic shipyard that for sure can help ypu with anything. She is amazing her name is Valle de la Riva. You can ask for her and say that you come grom me. Duarte Champalimaud.


Acctually she is organizing the classic boat week regata later july which I hope to attend with Star Swan.


Send me a whatsapp if you need her number. 



(I met my wife in Puerto sherry in 1995 also on a regatta week)





Star Swan (40/47)



25 June 2022 - 06:19
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241



Anyway, I just rebuilt our steering system.  We had play in the quadrant on the rudder shaft due to some galvanic corrosion. I think the orca attacks may have impacted on this.  First thing is to take a look at the area where the quadrant is clamped on to the rudder stock. This seems to be where your problem is. If it is the small piece,  you can see it in the drawings you may be able to either plane it to allow  the clamp to work. or have a replacement made if it is badly damaged! I am hoping it is not the quadrant itself but believe due to the relative sizes of the quadrant and the clamp piece the clamping piece will be the part the weakest link is damaged..

Be happy we have a skeg as a fin rudder would probably have snapped off! 

I am an oceanographer and have spent a lot of time figuring out where food for these guys live.  From what I know, stay off the shelf and away from the area where there is a rapid shallowing of the water column... this is where their food is in high densities and they will be in these areas... so stay way off shore!  If you need to go in take the most direct route.  Not a guarantee but shall we say based on the best scientific knowledge... of course you are also dealing with the laws of probability..

We are leaving Falmouth in August and heading to Madeira to avoid these beautiful but mischievous critters.   



25 June 2022 - 06:29
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Andreas,

you can upload a video on youtune and post the link here (click on the small "chain" button above the message you are typing).

Without a skeg or a boat as strong as our boats are, you could have lost the rudder. Agree with Mike, unlikely it's the quadrant.

Looking forward to receiving more info and images/video. If you want to send me high def files please feel free to send by wetransfer to my mail: ms (at)

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

25 June 2022 - 18:18
Join Date: 17 May 2022
Posts: 8


Really sorry to hear about your interactions with Orcas.  I have been following this story very closely as we are about to sail next week from Cadiz (Port America) to Gibraltar and then to Palma.  

We are planning to keep with the 20 m contour or less route only coming out for the tuna nets.  

There are daily reports on a Facebook ‘Orca Attack reporting’ group about interactions and also of safe passages in this area.  All are encouraged to make reports at as well to help with data collection and research.

I hope you are able to get repaired soon.

Sail well



Swan38/97  Skylark

02 July 2022 - 21:19
Join Date: 19 July 2007
Posts: 66


Sorry to hear of your damage.

Please google "Cruising Association". There is a reporting system in operation, to enable more information to be obtained in relation to these "Encounters" The aim being to better understand and reduce the likelyhood of these incidents occuring.

Your information will be valuable.

Hope your passage is not delayed too seriously


Paul B     Hierro 411 042



03 July 2022 - 07:13
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241

Now that I can see the pictures the problem is visible.   I must have been a hard hit because it looks like the aluminum both on the clamping piece and the quadrant itself were dented by the hit. I suggest you

A) plane the surface of the clamping piece to increase the clamping pressure. Not too much as if you do so  stress the clamping piece and it will eventually crack.

B) Alternately Metallurgy is not my forte. Your could Ask your machinist if they could restore the surfaces. 

 Either way I think you need a good machinist

Fairer winds



12 July 2022 - 10:38
Join Date: 15 May 2020
Posts: 4

Hi Mike,

For completeness heres a photo of the rudder stock and the rudder straps after removal.

The sideloads must have been tremendous to move the entire rudder sideways on the rudder stock, yet the rudder stayed tight on the stock and functioned as intended.

No damage to the skeg, lower bearing or the bronze bearing cup. These boats are strong!!


Migration 40/07

Swan 40/07 rudder stock and straps

12 July 2022 - 10:44
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Andreas,

gosh, these animals are beautiful but dangerous, good you were onboard a Swan designed by Sparkman&Stephens and not on a modern boat!!!

I just sent you Laurent's details by PM, as I told you I would not trust anyone else to rebuild rudder stock/rudder, he's a naval engineer, based south of France, and resins have no secrets for him.

Please keep us posted!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

20 July 2022 - 04:44
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241

Incredible!  The strength of our boats amazes me!  I talked to a whale biologist and they think the orcas are teaching the young to hunt whales. Their approach is to ram the animal until it is exhausted and then tear off the fins. Seems similar to what is happening to our boats.

A thought . Probably a good time to shift the rudder shaft bearing. It will probably be deformed as well. 

Glad you came through this OK!!!!

Fair winds 


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