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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As far as I can tell from your description you will have moved the effort of the rudder further forward towards the centre of effort of the boat. As you suggest it may mean that the boat would track a little less well than before but if that is offset by the reduced pressure on the rudder and makes it more pleasant to sail then why not?
My only other suggestion is that by having the swinging section of the rudder pointing forward, would this cause a problem should the blade touch the bottom. Instead of swinging up out of harms way, would it either cause the rudder to lift off the pintles, or damage them and possibly the transom.
Personally, I would pay little heed to those pseudo-racers who make sweeping references to traditional and well established craft as being worthy of some misguided suspicion.
Steve and Eileen - ex-Dabber sailors, almost ex-Cape Cutter 19 sailors, now Lune Whammel Coastal Weekender sailors. Based in East Yorkshire and looking forward to some DCA rallies.