Full Keel Rudder's Shape? - SailNet Community

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Old 11-24-2010
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Full Keel Rudder's Shape?

I'm wondering how the shape of a full keel sailboat's rudder may effect steering. I've owned two full keel sailboats, one 30' and one 37'. Each has a cutaway fore-foot. The trailing edge of the 37 footer was straight and nearly plumb similar to a Tayana 37's and the 30 footer's rudder was curved out similar to many Alberg designs. I found both boats to be good sailers but the edge went to the 30 foot boat. It seemed to steer a little better going forwards and it reversed very responsively. The 37 foot boat sails very well too, but reverse is rather random. So I'm wondering if the curved rudder shape is partially responsible? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Rgs
Beetle B
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Old 11-24-2010
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I doubt that the rudder is the only factor in why the smaller boat seemed to handle better. First, it is comparing apples to oranges, since the boats are very different in size. It's like comparing a minivan to a cube truck.
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Old 11-24-2010
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Same type of prop on both?

If so, I'm just guessing that the distance from the prop to the rudder or from the rudder to the center of lateral resistance, relative to the size of the boat, has more to do with steering in reverse. Gut check only.
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Rudders

Prop.. doh!! Very different setups. 30ft boat had an outboard perched port stern. 37ft boat has an inboard cut into the rudder profile behind the keel and is in fact extended out quite close to the rudder. So I can say the 30ft boat has more rudder surface than the 37ft boat. WRT the center of effort and keel length, yes there is a difference due to the length and designs between the boats but after looking at pictures of both out of the water the differences didn't seem too marked to my squinky eye (arrgh!@).

Btl
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