A New Rudder Takes Shape in the Shop

Every ship needs a steady hand on the helm. A stout tiller to grip through which the pressure of water in motion can be felt is the interface between the sailor and his medium. Unfortunately my 17 foot daysailer does not currently have a helm. The rudder and tiller that came with it was a sad affair made from a scrap of exterior plywood on the cusp of delamination. The tiller was a piece of rough carpentry that was sawed out of a chunk of two by six. The hardware that graced this uncertain device had been beaten into a shape wholly inappropriate for it’s intended use. Clearly a new rudder is needed and I have been applying my skills to that end.

A little research on the internet yielded a drawing of the official class specifications for a flip-up rudder with an air foil blade. I reckon it’s within my skill range so I have started the process. Being the cheap old sailor that I am the new build features scraps of good quality materials. The new rudder will be made from Okoume BS1088 ply with a teak tiller. None of the parts involved are very large so the design lends itself to recycling cutoffs and discards from your own or some other craftsman’s shop. I have various article’s of sailboat hardware gleaned from flea markets and garage sales but no rudder hardware. New pintles came in the mail from D&R Marine several days ago. They look like good solid units and were reasonably priced. D&R carries all the necessary hardware for O’day sailboats. Sometimes you just have to pay retail.

When I have a chance I will put together some video on the project. My time for personal projects is a little limited now a days but I hope to continue making steady progress. In the mean time I am looking forward to the Shipwrights Regatta in Port Townsend. Washington on February 23. I will be hitching a ride as crew on one of the many interesting classic sailboats. I don’t know which one yet. Fortune will be my guide and the hand that steers my course.


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