Rudder & Tiller


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Pintles and Gudgeons
Rudder
  • The rudder should be well aft, it must be strong and have a reliable bearing and linkage system, and it must also project well below the water so it remains effective at all angles of heel….it must be symmetrical; even a small flat area on one side will cause the boat to be balanced on one tack, but unbalanced on the other (You can check for symmetry using straight edges or by making cardboard templates.)…the hydrodynamic issues concern balance, directional stability, and control effectiveness  (Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts, p. 92 – 3)
  • Tremendous forces are constantly at work against your rudder, under way and even at anchor or at the dock.  (Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat, p. 51)
  • skeg certainly can help to block out weeds or lines from lobster and crab pots. It can also be a good place to mount a propeller aperture leading from a short, unsupported shaft. Skeg construction can be tricky. If it is going to contribute its share of support for the rudder load, it should be molded to the hull rather than simply tacked on. Further, the construction of the lower end must be carefully thought out if you want to allow for removal of the rudder….the skeg-mounted rudder will turn less quickly, but will have camber – which keeps it from stalling at sharp angles of attack.  (Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts, p. 93)
  • Vertical rudder stocks should enter the hull either through a glass or stainless steel tube bolted through a substantial block of wood….It wouldn’t hurt to strengthen the hull here, either by glassing in a heavier piece of plywood against the hull, adding extra layers of mat and woven roving in the area, or glassing in a few beams, between which the backing block can be glassed. Additionally, the stock should be supported higher up, where it passes into the cockpit or wherever else it emerges above deck. There should be a strong collar to support the stock and a bearing plate for firmly supported by structural members glassed to the hull….This reinforcement will protet the hull against normal loads and, in the sad event of a grounding, will even help prevent the rudder from being shoved up through the hull. Losing the rudder is one thing, losing the whole boat is a catasrophe.  (Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat, p. 51)
  • The stuffing box on the stock of an inboard rudder should be tightened until it does not drip at all. Some water penetration helps to lubricate a spinning prop shaft, but an oscillating rudderstock doesn’t need any additional lubrication. The constant motion does, however, result in wear, and the exposure of rudders always places them at risk of being damaged.  (This Old Boat, p. 165)
Tiller

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2 Responses to Rudder & Tiller


  1. Amazing work! so good to see someone working towards small boat cirvumnavigation.
    question for you. I have a mid 60’s bristol 27. need to figure out how to remove the rudder heal so I can replace a bushing…there is lots of play in the lower end of the rudder. Assuming a bushing will do the trick. Can i just drop the bronze rudder heal and size it out from there? not sure even if I pressed off the tiller connection I could even get enough room to drop the full rudder without being on a lift. Hoping to do it while it is on the stantions and only work off the lower end and not mess around this year with all of the components above.
    so my real question is…is I clean out the bolt on the rudder heal and unfasten it…what will happen…does that part come away and the lower rudder post is then free?
    thanks for any thoughts.
    peace
    Matthew

    Submitted by: matthew goldfarb on April 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

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  2. Hello Matthew,

    Thanks for your comment and glad to see your interest in small boat circumnavigation. I’ve addressed your questions below:

    + need to figure out how to remove the rudder heal… Can i just drop the bronze rudder heal and size it out from there?
    -> If you have a bronze rudder heel, that’s a little different than the set-up that came with my B27 and I don’t have a good vision of what a bronze heel would look like. Could you e-mail me or share a link to the image of your heel so I can get a better idea? Without an image, I’m not sure if it would work, because the rudder shaft runs all the way up through the tiller head in the cockpit. If the tiller head is still fastened, I don’t believe you’d be able to move the rudder enough to remove it’s turning gear.

    + not sure even if I pressed off the tiller connection I could even get enough room to drop the full rudder without being on a lift. Hoping to do it while it is on the stantions and only work off the lower end and not mess around this year with all of the components above.
    -> If you are on the hard, you will need to dig a couple feet below the rudder so you can remove it. Essentially, the length of the rudder shaft that enters into the boat. If you are on a lift, it would be easy to remove (as long as you had the tiller head removed and had access to the

    if I clean out the bolt on the rudder heal and unfasten it…what will happen…does that part come away and the lower rudder post is then free?
    -> I don’t feel comfortable making a trustworthy suggestion unless I saw the heel myself. But, if once you remove the rudder’s connection with the bottom of the keel (e.g. bronze heel, or pins), the rudder will still be attached to the rudder tiller above. The lower rudder post, at least on my B27, was actually a bronze peg, with a hole drilled through it and then a fastener was placed through the bronze-peg’s hole and fiberglassed into the keel (see images above for a better vision).

    Your questions remind me that I need to update this page to include information about how I removed the rudder. I will post that update in the next few weeks.

    Thanks for your questions and if you would like to share images of your Bristol 27, please send them to andrew@bristol27.com and I can create a page for your boat.

    Best,
    Andrew

    Submitted by: Andrew on April 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm

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