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raising rudder

water rat

Member
Is there an easy way to raise or lower the wooded style rudders from the cocpit while underway besides jumping overboard and doing it. ?
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
If you raise the tiller handle and pull the handle toward the bow, you can raise the rudder blade from the cockpit. Lower it by pushing the tiller handle toward the stern. However, while this works fine with a plastic rudder blade, don't try it with a wood blade as you risk cracking it. I race my Sunfish in a lake that has weedy patches, and I have to raise my (plastic) blade from time to time, and this allows me to do same from the cockpit.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
For fear of cracking my wood rudder, I'm thinking of fiberglassing the head of it, as when beaching, it would be nice to raise it up without excessive leaning backwards to do it. I'd think a couple layers of cloth would do it for re-inforcement
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Simple solution to cracked wood rudders is to install
brass bushings for rudder and tiller bolts. True Value has them
the correct length. Race legal even!
 

water rat

Member
For fear of cracking my wood rudder, I'm thinking of fiberglassing the head of it, as when beaching, it would be nice to raise it up without excessive leaning backwards to do it. I'd think a couple layers of cloth would do it for re-inforcement
You gotta love it. We can send astronauts to the moon but can't raise a wooden sunfish rudder on a boat designed more than 50 years ago without having Hulk Hogan at the helm
 

fhhuber

Member
You can prevent the cracking (or repair it) by drilling front to rear and epoxying in a bamboo BBQ skewer (or fiberglass rod from bicycle pennant... or Carbon fiber rod from model aircraft supply... or oak dowel)

This is also the correct repair if the rudder splits with the grain (might need more than one rod inserted for repair if the crack is long).

Use of bamboo or oak and the repair is very hard to find.
 

eseibel67

New Member
You guys are freaking me out. I am a new sailor and I just assumed that the way to raise and lower a wooden rudder is just to push the tiller back to put it down and yank forward to bring it up.

Am I damaging the wood?!?

I wouldn't know how else to launch/land on a gravelly shore.
 

fhhuber

Member
Really... no, you aren't hurting it.

The issue is aged mahogany might become prone to splitting.

Its not a terrible issue and the repair is easy if the wood isn't rotting.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Common guys, it only takes 5 minutes to drill and insert 2 bushings in the rudder. It
doesn't take a series of gears, cogs and levers activated by a iPhone. Eseibel67, do this
and you can raise and lower the rudder without ever splitting the wood.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
You guys are freaking me out. I am a new sailor and I just assumed that the way to raise and lower a wooden rudder is just to push the tiller back to put it down and yank forward to bring it up.
I have never cracked a wood rudder. I just go on the back deck and reach into the water and pop it up. I could buy a new plastic rudder blade and never have to worry, but it is so easy to just pop it up. The springs just are not all that strong.
 

Fred P

Member
You guys are freaking me out. I am a new sailor and I just assumed that the way to raise and lower a wooden rudder is just to push the tiller back to put it down and yank forward to bring it up.

Am I damaging the wood?!?
I tried to lower the rudder by pushing the tiller. Rudder cracked. Just lean back and use your hand to raise and lower as needed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

fhhuber

Member
Webfoot1 - where in the class rules does it say that you can use bushings?
I doubt it does...

But they'd have to disassemble the rudder to find them and it only affects the ease of having the rudder kick up.

You could also just not quite tighten the nut on the pivot bolt as tight. With a nylock type self locking nut that works (and is the way the rudder is supposed to be assembled). You aren't supposed to be pulling the casting tight against the wood.

Or sand the portion of the rudder that rubs metal when it pivots. Just a little bit goes a long way in reducing friction. This may be important if the rudder has been coated with paint a few times.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
I was quite a while ago when I read said rules. May not even be in the rules anymore
since the wood rudder is not used anymore for racing. I'll see if I can find it. Yesterdays
news maybe?

I used large nylon flat washers between the wood rudder and metal bracket. Wood rudder
does not contact the bracket. The metal casting tends to get slightly bent so very gentle
bending is needed for proper gap spacing. Be careful because cast aluminum is brittle.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
2012 International Rules
Section 3

"Holes in the rudder and rudder head may be reinforced
with bushings. . ."
 
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