Paul de la Feuillade
I have a lift keel Sonata, which came with a full length racing rudder. The boat was on a drying mooring and the rudder was kept below between sails. Now that we’re brought her back to Christchurch, we’ll need to be able to lift the rudder to cope with the shallow harbour and bar at the entrance. At the moment, the rudder extends probably 6″ (guess) below the keel stub, so clearly we need to be able to raise it a bit otherwise we’ll be going aground by the rudder and damage the pintles, or worse.
My question is, has anyone tried to fabricate a bracket that allows the rudder to lift before?
Any ideas/suggestions welcome!
I saw a LK with lifting rudder when I was looking at Sonatas to buy – as far as I remember it had a continuous rod or very long pintles up the transom and slots in the front side of the rudder fittings to let them pass an upper support, which was a web welded along the rod to space it off the transom. There was a small block to lift the rudder. Don’t know if it was any good, and it probably needs beefed up fittings, but easier than a complicated two part rudder. I’m not sure how much lift you could get with it – but it might be enough with some juggling. I’d still take it off on a mooring though.
I did have a bit of a problem when I launch as the rudder just touches the ground when the boat is on the trailer – I don’t want to leave it off as I always have to move the boat immediately. Last year I discovered that my 4×4 will squat on command and so lift the rudder- lazy way of coupling up the trailer too.
In the past I have owned both a Medina and a Delta, David Thomas designs very similar to the Sonata. Both had lifting rudders designed by David and built from new by Hunters.
In each case the rudder stock and attached tiller slid up and down within a rectangular box which swung about a vertical axis i.e. was attached to the hull by conventional pintles.
In the case of the Medina the box was built from marine ply and hardwood; for the Delta it was fabricated out of aluminium and welded together. In my experience the wooden version worked better but was slightly heavier. The problem with the aluminium version was the brittle welds which cracked on several occasions.
It is important to fit the internal dimensions of the box snugly to width (about 2 inches in old money)of the rudder stock otherwise the rudder will rock athwartships which is very annoying. One advantage of this design is that it allows the lower half of the rudder blade to swivel forward a little which can make a dramatic difference to the feel (apparent weather helm) at the tiller.
If you are interested I could provide a sketch, or you could seek out a Hunter Medina and see one in the flesh.