Puddle Duck Refit — Rudder

I built my puddle duck racer with a Michalak-style kick up rudder, and I still think that was a pretty good choice.  However, the place where I typically launch is shallow for a good distance, and I did not take the time to install a lanyard that would allow me to pull the rudder blade up manually.  So my rudder dragged the bottom a lot.  I didn’t care last summer, because sailing is more fun than fixing rudders.  I hoped that I could make the rudder last the season, and with a bit of emergency repair it just made it.  I definitely needed to fix the rudder before I could take the boat sailing again though.

This is a piece of the leading edge of my rudder. As you can see, it is no longer plywood.
This is a piece of the leading edge of my rudder. As you can see, it is no longer plywood.

I have come up with a two pronged approach to fixing this issue.  The first is to cut out the delaminated parts at the front of the rudder and replace it with a solid piece I cut from an old oak floorboard we ripped out of our kitchen.

De-laminated piece cut away, New oak rudder toe installed.
De-laminated piece cut away, New oak rudder toe installed. If you look carefully you can see the recessed area where I poured in the molten lead. I decided to do a better job fairing that up as well.
All taped up and faired (good enough for me anyway). It is ready for painting.
All taped up and faired (good enough for me anyway). It is ready for painting.

The second prong was to fit the rudder with a lanyard that would allow me to pull it up.  My first attempt at this is clearly not ideal.  I can not just pull on the lanyard and have the blade come up.  Part of that is due to the very poor angles involved, and part of that is almost certainly due to the fact that the blade is very heavy.  I bought a lot of lead, and I was quite sure that I didn’t want a blade that was too light.  So I over did it when I weighted the blade.  However, the lanyard will hold the blade up once it is up and has been cleated, and if I pull on the line near the blade I can pull it up (even when it is not in the water).  That’s probably good enough.  Hopefully it works when I get it in the water.  At the very least I  can launch the boat with the rudder up.  That’s definitely going to be a win.

dscn0740
Here’s the new rudder blade lanyard in the “up” position. You’ll notice that the angles are not good for actually using the lanyard to pull the blade up.
Spread the love

One Reply to “Puddle Duck Refit — Rudder”

Comments are closed.