Sailfish rudder conversion

Thread starter #1
hello all,

this is my first post. i recently purchased a sailfish flat top style sailboat. the rudder assembly has an older style assembly with pin that runs left to right (port to starboard for the purists) and it doesnt have a spring assembly like the newer sunfish. am i able to change the assembly to the sunfish style with the kind of break away or spring to relieve constant tension on the rudder when in shallow water/launching/landing boat?

thanks in advance for any advice
If the Sailfish rudder is set up properly, it will trip or release when grounding. I usually had mine adjusted so pulling up on the tiller would release it. Useful in weedy water. Only had it out in brisk wind a few times. The rudder never gave me trouble.

Upgrading is possible, but the newer Sunfish rudder parts exceed the value of the average Sailfish. I would just enjoy sailing it with the original parts.

I agree completely with sailthefish's post above. To add to it, the Sunfish rudder blade is too big for the Sailfish and I am not even sure the Sunfish stainless steel rudder gudgeon would fit on the Sailfish transom.

Fiddle with the wingnut on the hull hardware. You want it tight enough that the blade will not pop up when sailing but loose enough to release if you ground or hit a stump. Sorta like downhill ski bindings: tight enough so you release in a bad fall but
not so loose that you come out of the bindings in normal skiing (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.)

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY


Active Member
One thing that made a big difference on the adjustment of my old style Sunfish rudder was to replace the vinyl tubing that the carriage bolt goes through. The 45 year old tubing seems to have shrunk a bit over the years. The new tubing fits the groove in the transom better and holds the carriage bolt vertical. Since doing that I haven't had the rudder pop out due to sideways pressure, only when it hits sand. Just like when it was new! Of course I'm assuming that your sailfish has the same vertical groove in the transom.

Post some pictures!