I've just adjusted the rudder on my Westray 16 (a variation on the better known Highlander 16).
The original rudder is kicked back, giving it a lot of trail (or maybe caster?)
I found it made for a very heavy action, with a lot of stress on the tiller as the blade is pushed through a wide arc.
It was suggested I try reversing the rudder blade, so it lies in line with the transom and leading edge of the rudder stock. This was easily achieved, but what a transformation. Handling is lighter, more responsive and the boat tracks reasonably steadily, which was the one thing theoretically going for the original design, as far as I could see.
Any thoughts on this? Have I unknowingly surrendered some advantages the original design gave me? Perhaps thinking on rudder design had moved on since the Westray 16 was developed?
I'm very happy with the change, but mystified by the original arrangement. (I'll try and get a photo of the new set-up).
Perhaps thinking on rudder design had moved on since the Westray 16 was developed?
It had when the westray was developed. Many boats had sloping back rudders -looked nice, trad [in the sense of 'we've always done it like that'] but they are very heavy on the helm and tends to be ineffective when heeled; very good at broaching. Modern thinking
[ie in the last 50+ years] is vertical, as deep as practical, probably some balance area ahead of the vertical axis of the rudder, and airfoil cross section. I had a Gem [alright, not a typical dca boat] that had a nice big rectangular rudder that you could
pivot fore and aft to get the feel just right. A pocket rocket that was well mannered, controllable when trying too hard and sailed like a dream.
Simple test in a boat with a kick-up rudder blade - try sailing with it at 45deg. Or even worse, horizontal. My present boat is almost uncontrollable under those conditions.
It may be nice to have a traddy looking boat but it can be a high price to pay for poor sailing performance. If you see a new boat with a rudder like the westray, be very suspicious of the rest of the design. I think that there is no excuse now for making
boats that don't handle and perform well.
Now I'll get behind the parapet ...
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Rudder shape on Highlander 16 variant. I've just adjusted the rudder on my Westray 16 (a variation on the better known Highlander 16). The original rudder is kicked back, giving it a lot of trail (or...
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