Modification to Rudder System

Supplied by John Simmons, Juliette Jay, Parker 275S/45

Sept 2002

Three years ago I took my 275S down through the canals of France to the Mediterranean and in anticipation of the need to raise the rudder more frequently or indeed to avoid damage if grounded I set about modifying the system to improve current performance before leaving. This has worked really well and as I intend selling the boat to up grade this year I though before parting other owners might be interested in the details of this modification.

In order to create the best conditions for minimal slack and yet give ease of movement of the rudder in its stock when required, it is advisable to start with two perfectly flat and parallel surfaces over the area of rudder that is in contact with the stock plates. Prepare these surfaces then support the rudder horizontally so that the upper surface to be treated is perfectly level before floating on a thin coat of two-part varnish. Finish by removing high spots until a flat surface to the edge in all directions has been obtained. Repeat the process for the other side to obtain parallel surfaces.

Using the same vanish apply several coats to the pivot hole in the rudder which will soak into the wood making a hard wearing bush when reamed out to its original size.

Re-route the downhaul through a new block securely fixed to the underside and extreme outer end of the tiller arm.

Replace the original jamcleat with a lever clutch cleat to the underside of the tiller arm so that it is just clear of the transom.

Re-route the uphaul via a drifting lever as shown in the diagram. This lever acts upon the top of the rudder multiplying the leverage when tension is applied to the uphaul. Further assistance to lift the rudder can be obtained by hammering on the end of the drift to overcome sticksion if necessary

When the drifting lever is not in use it is parked still attached to the uphaul between the stock plates above the rudder

Benefits are as follows

  1. Smooth movement of blade within the stock without looseness of feel through the tiller.
  2. If the rudder blade goes aground it will be forced back causing the tiller arm to lift before it is limited by the cleated downhaul and will therefore minimise impact damage as well as alerting the situation. The arm will tilt 50° before being limited by the jammed downhaul.
  3. A lever release on the downhaul enables quick and complete release of tension if required.
  4. In critical shallow situations the blade depth can be controlled within a margin by simply moving the tiller arm up or down.
  5. The drift lever configuration ensures successful manual lifting of the rudder