Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Rudders ?"
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Thread: "Rudders ?"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Rudders ?

Norm Rhines

As option for the replacement of badly blistering rudders we have.
I am wondering if this would not be a great opportunity to do a group
Buy thing. I would guess this would only be economical if we did 10 +

Most importantly (Not!! using the original cross section design) i.e.
new molds and addressing all of the original Westsail design issues.
But in profile it would look the same as the original.

The reasons I would prefer a new re-design. (Same dimensions slightly
different cross sections in the water)

1.) You can cleanly fair the trailing edge to a 1/4" point (better
speed and control)

2.) Floatation could be designed to be neutral. ( reduce the tillers
tendancy to go to one side or the other)

3.) Get rid of the ss extra weight at the top of the rudder Replacing
it with carbon and kevlar and an open top. (less weight = less

4.) Potentially integrate an adjustable trim tab, to integrate an
autopilot or manual nob for better balance. (optional)

5.) A design to allow the tiller to be pushed up to the vertical
(getting it out of the cockpit.) see item # 3

6.) Improving the leading edge in the aperture. (less vibration and
better flow and motoring speed)

7.) Integrate a grounding system (zinc anode to protect the pins)

8.) Improve its strength (better design)

9.) Build with epoxy (optional)

I am asking how many of you, need to have a replacement rudder for
your failing rudder?

Also what target should we set for the price? I est. that they will
be in the 1500.00 to 4000.00 range? Not sure.

So please note your interest in this issue.

Jeff Matthiae


I'd be quite interested in a new rudder design.

I had planned to haul out this fall and rudder work was part of my agenda. Since they dropped the lake level about 5ft in the last 3 weeks I'm stuck in the water until it comes up a couple of feet. So unless the remnants of Fay brings us enough water (had a nice rain last night) for me to get out in the next two weeks, I'll be waiting until April to come out.

Items 1,2,6,8,9 are my biggest interest.

I agree with trying to minimize weight at the ends, but the weight of that stainless doesn't really seem to be all that significant. A cutout at the front could probably be made to raise the tiller higher, although I haven't had an issue with that. I'd really need to be convinced that whatever replaces the stainless would be as strong or stronger.

The trim tab sounds interesting. I'm guessing this would be more useful when hand steering or using an electric autopilot. I haven't installed my Monitor yet, kinda useless on the lake, so I don't have the experience to judge whether a trim tab would provide a benefit over adjusting the control lines. I guess it wouldn't hurt though.

Have people been having problems with the bronze pins? Bronze pins with bronze bolts, etc. and isolated from any other metals.... I don't get the need for the zincs.

I'd opt for epoxy.

In regards to your other post. As much as I'd like to visit Hawaii someday, I think at this stage I'd be more interested in having them made or in shipping the molds. Perhaps a group build could be done at a couple of places around the country.

I'm ok with your target price range. Much beyond that and I'll just stick to repairing/modifying my rudder which is water logged but not in bad shape yet, especially since I'll be sending off the deposit for a new mast and boom shortly (Ballenger Spars).

BTW, my boat is a 1975 hull #431.


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