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Whether to pin the rudder and what to use?


Hi All.
I have an older style rudder like this one on catalinadirect.
It uses a big wing nut to hold the rudder up or down, but the rudder still comes up when there is a lot of pressure on it. I try to avoid those situations, but when it happens, it couldn't be at a worse time.
There is a hole through the rudder and rudder head just below the wing nut. It looks like it would be for a pin of some sort to hold the rudder down. Does anyone stick a pin or a dowel through there? What do you use?
I figure you would want something that would break before your boat. The only idea I have had is a wooden dowel, and I am not sure how to keep it from sliding out without be too hard to remove as I approach the shoals.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

Capri 14.2 #528
"Free Ride"

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
On my Minifish rudder, I used shock cord to hold the rudder in place, drilling a hole high on the rudder itself, just under the head. Had to figure out how to tie or loop the cord so it brought the rudder back down, but this system allowed the rudder to kick up in an emergency, such as running hard aground or hitting some sort of obstruction. Never had to use it for this scenario, I simply wanted it that way just in case, ya know? The cord also worked in conjunction with the springs on either side of the rudder head: the rudder springs aboard my boat weren't the strongest due to heavy past usage, the additional cord easily solved the problem, and the rudder would still kick all the way up as it was originally designed to do. Hole was drilled maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of the way toward the trailing edge, and I looped the cord forward around the head. A bit unconventional, but it worked like a charm, since I commonly beached my boat to take a break, eat lunch, burn a fat one or whatever. This was a wooden rudder, so I varnished the hole after drilling it, the hole itself was only about 1/4" in diameter, maybe 5/16", it has been awhile and I suffer from CRS. With Laser #2069, I simply used the rudder line as needed, the cleat on the side of the tiller within easy reach. When it comes to sailing, I find that whatever system works best for you is the one to rig, and that's not always the original design. :rolleyes:
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Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
While knocking out tasks related to my upcoming relocation, I started thinking about those improvements I mentioned, and how such improvements must have been made ever since man took to sailing craft. Take pirates as an example: they all knew that a fast boat was essential to their mission, not only to overtake prey vessels, but to escape from authorities, foreign navies, etc. Those pirates all knew that if they ever got caught, their necks would get stretched as they dangled from a yardarm, or suffered a worse fate like torture & the stake. An accepted risk for those in their profession... :confused:

Now, there must have been times when a sailing master or other member of the pirate crew approached the skipper and said, "Look, Cap'n, if we rig things THIS way we'll pick up an extra knot or two of boat speed." I'm as sure of this happening as I'm sure that the Good Lord made little green apples... there must have been times when some member of the crew spoke up and said, "Cap'n, I saw one rigged THIS way down on the Spanish Main, and she was a fast boat!" A little experimentation, a definite improvement in boat speed or handling, and "Voila!" The change was made. Only a fool and a pirate skipper destined to be unsuccessful would say, "Naaaah, I prefer the slower method!" LOL. :rolleyes:

If I were a pirate back in the day, I'd be working every angle to build a ship out of carbon fiber, with Kevlar sails so they'd weather storms better... Spectra line (or whatever the superior modern line is now), Harken marine hardware, about half a dozen cannon, a Long Tom or two for bow & stern chases, and a couple of swivel guns for sweeping the decks of enemy ships, LOL. Some sharpshooters with sniper rifles in the rigging to take out the enemy officers... then a fast getaway, bending on the knots and sailing over the horizon, aye??? None of this, "Gee, I'll take inferior rigging & chumpish hardware for $500, Alex!!!" A recipe for death, having a slow boat and cr@ppy sail gear, PFFFFFFFFFT. :eek:

In fact, I'd probably take a set fraction of the loot every time and invest it in superior gear to make the boat even faster, telling the crew, "Quit yer b!tchin', y'all wanna swing or do ya wanna fast boat???" That would probably shut 'em up... if not, a good flogging or a pistol ball to the head would solve the problem, LOL. Make an example of one or two crew members to keep the others in line, aye? Reward the others with plenty o' rum in port, maybe some brothel action... those pirate skippers who were successful, they didn't get that way by being nice guys, but taking care of one's loyal crew members was important. Meh, enough said, I was just tripping on all of this while removing the metal artwork lizard from the side of my house, LOL. That lizard is going with me, he's gonna look good on the side of some coastal shotgun shack, 10-4??? ;)

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Active Member
I likewise will be relocating to the St Louis area within the next 18 months. As a passionate Capri sailor one of the keystones to a happy retirement down there would be to find a suitable lake to call home. I visited a lake called "Creve Cour" which is ideal with one huge exception- the launch ramps are terrible! The places I sail in Chicago have nice docks that allow for backing the trailer straight in directly next to them and then tying the boat off the minute she's afloat. This is a necessity for a single hander. Now at Creve Cour there's just a nasty concrete section that bellies out and curves away at the launch point. No cleats for tying off. After that there's wooden planks that have jagged bolts sticking out. Now with 2 people you could do the launch and the second guy would have to get in the drink up to his waist to keep boat away from the mayhem, then climb aboard to motor away. Clearly unacceptable!
Looking on Google Earth I see:
1. Lake St Louis which I have been told is private.
2. Horseshoe Lake. An Illinois state park where the ramp appears to have a dock that's not directly next to ramp.
3. Fenton, Mo. There's a bay off the river, has a nice launch area but same problem with the dock.
4. Carlyle Lake. A huge body of water about 90 minutes from where i will live. Nice State Park launch, but the lake could be treacherous for a 14' boat if the winds kick up.

Anybody familiar with the St. Louis area who might know of some alternatives?