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post #25 of Old 12-22-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

I think it's just a bad place for a rudder when backing is the issue. I had seen a boat a couple years back that was, I think, an Alberg 30. It was a Texas boat and was for sale. On the hard, it was obvious it'd been modified. The keel was all there, but the rudder was decidedly out-of-place. The aft edge of the keel was clean, no rudder. It'd been faired out, looked good. The rudder was much further back. I wrote the guy and he explained that they'd done it for improved handling. While the original rudder was fine for cruising (in forward), they wanted more. He'd had a spade rudder installed. He said the difference was incredible, that it'd turn much faster, and controlled backing was actually possible, even enjoyable. He went on to say that they had to re-work the steering ratio because it was so much quicker responding to steering inputs. He did also relate the common malady of the spade being that in rough water it was in the air often, so it wasn't a sales pitch. I made it clear I was curious about the rudder and was not a buyer in my opening sentence. Had questions about the trailer as well. Anyway, I think that, as much as anything demonstrates the poor rudder authority of the Bristol 32, and similar designs when backing. It really seems to have been an afterthought at best, and not a big concern. "Where do you want best performance, a few minutes backing, or hours, even days going forward?" Maybe that's what they were thinking. Seems to me, a modest stern-hung blade would suffice for such maneuvering situations. Perhaps one that could be flipped up out of the water once clear to navigate. I've often wondered how much better it would perform if the Bristol 32 rudder extended even maybe another 6-8 inches back on the trailing edge. There's really not much there to begin with. The upper third of the blade is pretty useless since most of it is not there (prop aperture). It keeps with the overall lines visually, but that only matters when not in the water. It should be lengthened. Another, say, six inches would give more bite on the lower part, and actually restore function to the upper third of the blade. Maybe, one day, I will be able to test that theory, but I won't be upset if someone else does it first.

Last edited by seabreeze_97; 12-22-2013 at 03:33 PM.
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