Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hi Wally, I made a new rudder for my 17' boat. I copied the original design (a kick-up) but could have converted a solid rudder easily. There's a lot of ways to do anything, but if I had to do it here's how I would: (or skip it and read the end)
Cut the original rudder in half. The back edge of the bottom section would be a curved cut so it could pivot. Two flat metal plates (mine are 6" tall and as wide as the rudder) bolt firmly to the top half. Drill a hole in the bottom half in the upper rear corner (at the center of the radius you cut it to) and a pivot bolt will go in there. I used sheet metal spacers when I bolted the metal plates to the top so that the bottom had some wiggle room to move without binding. I also drilled two holes in the bottom half of the rudder, both a few inches from the top, one at the front, one at the back. Two 3' scraps of line get tied onto those holes. A thin one on the front (leading edge) of the rudder and a thicker one in the back. The thick one is used to pull it up and keep it tied up when launching or when going through shallow stuff. The thin one keeps it held down when sailing. I ran the thin one through the hole then tied a knot larger than the hole. Both lines are cleated off on a small cleat on the top part of the rudder (out of the water and easy to reach) Uncleat both lines, pull thick line, rudder goes down, pull thin line rudder comes up. Recleat both lines. Easy! I put both lines and the cleat on the side of the rudder opposite the outboard for obvious reasons. I originally tried a wingnut on the pivot bolt but couldn't keep enough tension on it to keep the rudder down.
I was thinking the small line would break if the rudder struck something when sailing. During an unplanned test this past weekend the knot pulled through the hole instead. Even better! In the middle of the Potomac I untied and retied the stopper knot, the retying being underwater, with me hanging off the back of the boat.
It worked for me! Shoot me a private message with your email address and I can send you pictures of it. I refuse to get involved with this photobucket nonsense so I don't think I can post pictures here.
Just now, thinking through these steps to type them, I'm toying with the idea of a bungee cord or a storm door spring or something... More creative minds will prevail.
Keep the expenses low and the good times high.
PA Freshwater / Chesapeake