Spade Rudders vs. Skeg Hung - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 34 Old 10-13-2014
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Re: Spade Rudders vs. Skeg Hung

Over the course of owning 5 boats I've had 2 spades, 2 full keels, and 1 skeg hung rudder.

The spade rudders both backed better with less walk, easier to dock. The full keels and skeg boats took less attention under sail, with proper sail balance you could walk away from the wheel for many minutes at a time or longer with the full keel boats. With less wetted area I'm sure the spades had better performance, but of course owning one boat at a time I never had a race of one against the other If performance is paramount, you cannot do better than a spade and a deep draft high aspect keel IMHO.

I've had 2 friends loose spades. One in an inshore situation with a very high end daysailer with a spade and a carbon shaft. One half way to Tortola on a 54 ft boat with a large solid stainless shaft. Both sheered at the point where the rudder shaft leaves the boat. And these were both built by high reputation custom builders.

Statistically, I've wrapped more pots in Maine on the spade rudder boats than boats with props in apertures. One summer I needed divers 3 times to unwrap melted poly birds nests around shafts on a spade boat, in 6 years with a skeg hung I've wrapped only once, and was able to clear it with a hook knife. Line cutters can change this equation greatly.

I wouldn't eliminate a boat from consideration with either configuration. Like everything in sailing, it's a tradeoff.

Last edited by capecodda; 10-13-2014 at 08:28 AM. Reason: old age
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post #32 of 34 Old 10-13-2014
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Re: Spade Rudders vs. Skeg Hung

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Originally Posted by okawbow View Post
After sailing up and down the east coast for several thousand miles, in what seemed like one continuous crab and lobster pot field; I wouldn't try it in a boat with a spade rudder and exposed prop and shaft. Give me a full keel with the prop enclosed in a cut out.

Calls for help from boats caught in pots and nets were a daily occurrence, it seemed. I'll take the slower boat, every time if it means I don't have to worry about catching my rudder or prop on something, or knocking the rudder off in a minor grounding or collision.

In my Cheoy Lee 31, I simply sailed right through the crab and lobster pot fields without ever catching on anything. Motoring down the Tenn-Tom; I ran over several logs and trees with no damage to the rudder or prop, during flood conditions.

It just makes good sense to have a protected rudder and prop for long term cruising.
A prop in an aperture is certainly no guarantee of anything... Last time I caught a pot warp, it was on a Cape George cutter while running thru the Yacht Channel in Florida Bay, a minefield of crab pots...

Then, there was this recent experience of a fellow Sailnetter:

https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-m...ol-29-9-a.html

In all my travels up and down the East coast on boats with spade rudders, including a fair amount of sailing in New England, the Chesapeake, and the Florida Keys, I can only recall 2 instances of snagging a line... Both times, problem easily solved with either a boathook, or a hook knife...
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post #33 of 34 Old 10-13-2014
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Re: Spade Rudders vs. Skeg Hung

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Originally Posted by okawbow View Post
After sailing up and down the east coast for several thousand miles, in what seemed like one continuous crab and lobster pot field; I wouldn't try it in a boat with a spade rudder and exposed prop and shaft. Give me a full keel with the prop enclosed in a cut out.
Saw an Island Packet caught on a lobster pot yesterday, so a false sense of security.

I'm caught lots of lobster pots (my record is 3 in a day) and have always been able to free them with a small course change.

But back to rudders, the only real thought I would give to what type of rudder I had was if I were considering two otherwise completely equal boats. So many more important features to spend time thinking on.

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Last edited by Don L; 10-13-2014 at 10:20 AM.
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post #34 of 34 Old 10-13-2014
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Re: Spade Rudders vs. Skeg Hung

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Originally Posted by Don0190 View Post
Saw an Island Packet caught on a lobster pot yesterday, so a false sense of security.

I'm caught lots of lobster pots (my record is 3 in a day) and have always been able to free them with a small course change.

But back to rudders, the only real though I would give to what type of rudder I had was if I were considering two otherwise completely equal boats. So many more important features to spend time thinking on.
Your post kind of makes my point. I've never caught anything with a full keel fully enclosed prop, and rudder that was hung on the back of the keel. (I believe some Island Packets have a rudder that has a line catching gap in it.)

Of course, no configuration is immune from wrapping lines on the prop when motoring; but an enclosed prop is obviously less likely to grab a line. Another good reason to sail when possible, instead of motoring.



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