Friday, October 14, 2016

Working on the Rudder

I have enlisted the help of Tad Roberts to design my sailing rig, and the first drawing he has sent me per my urgent request was the rudder detail.  Tad is not familiar with the construction of Autarkia so details regarding attachment points and so on are flexible and up to me, with his input as required.  For example his drawing suggests a hardwood rudder post drilled with holes to accept a lashed-on rudder.  How that post is attached to the boat is really up to me.

Since I have various and sundry materials in the shop that I wish to use up, I have made my own rudder post that will fit to Autarkia perfectly, using Tad's details as a guideline only.

So the rudder post I made yesterday and will mount today, is made up with mahogany sandwiched between aluminium angle, all epoxied together.  The lashings will go through the aluminium as well, pretty much preventing the wood from ever splitting away.  I can drill off the flanges as I see fit, and through bolt them with SS on the transom, bedded with polyurethane.

Tad also prescribed Dyneema 1/4 inch rope to lash the rudder with.  Instead  I will use a very strong 1/4 inch braided rope that I already have.  I have not identified this rope, but it is left over from a retractable swimming pool cover (very high end and expensive).  This rope runs in tracks that are embedded in the concrete deck of a swimming pool, that wind the cover on and off the pool from/into a vault on the end of it.  The ropes are said to last 10 to 20 years for this use, and that is in a corrosive chlorine environment.  I think they'll hold a rudder on for a while...

Oh, and because my guts have not stopped churning because of the whole City Bylaw shit cauldron, I made this sign up and posted it this morning for the benefit of passers-by.  It is directed at only one though.

On the good side of things I did 10 minutes on a treadmill yesterday hooked up to an electro-cardiogram machine.  It came out fine.  I still have more tests but the doctor said the palpitations at rest are likely due to stress.  Go figure.


  1. Good luck.
    It's a shock to find out that you don't live in a free country.
    Some of us learn that at an earlier age than others.
    The death of an ideal is worse than the death of a loved one.
    People have been known to mourn themselves to death over lost loved ones.
    Be careful.

    1. Thanks Everitt. I haven't lost my ideals so no need to mourn yet. The city has been wrong to discriminate against me and my mind will never change on that account. The bylaw officers know that they are wrong to discriminate but the flawed system they are paid to maintain keeps them from doing the right thing. Their souls will suffer because deep down they know that their higher principals can be compromised with money and a secure job. I hope that they don't do this often to other good people because that has to eventually weigh heavy on one's conscience.

  2. Hi Alan,

    So GLAD your test showed no problems!

    That is one gracious letter you wrote, and I commend you for it! Hopefully, your example will inspire a little soul-searching on the Complainant's part, which may benefit the next fella.

    I firmly believe that a response like this makes the world a better place.

    RE Rudder Lashings, we finally figured out a lacing that doesn't allow the rudder to rotate around the post (as does simple figure-8 lacing).

    If you spread your fingers and interleave them at 45deg along the middle knuckles, you've got a pattern example. Sort of.

    Starting on the same side (port or sbrd), two lines follow the OUTLINE of the fingers, one for each hand. Finger crossover is crossover between post and rudder. Finger ends and bases are U-turns made vertically along the post and rudder, respectively. The two lacings can share holes or be run separately. We finish by joining each line's two ends with a trucker's hitch for tensioning.

    It helps to have different colored line or great visualization skills! Also to start with a model (a coupla slats with matched holes along their edges), which can be kept for reference.

    End result is that the two opposed lacings prevent rotation.

    Good luck!

    Dave Z

    1. Thanks Dave!

      Actually I do not really have a beef with the complainant. The guy doesn't like the boat here and complained to the city. Fine. My problem is with the city in how they handled it. While I may be breaking the bylaw, many others are doing so as well, including my immediate neighbours either side of me. There is discrimination at play here that riles me to no end. They have, as they do with everyone (they told me, qualified the complaint in terms of the complainants proximity to the offender, and the impact my boat is having upon him. They were not willing to share any of that information with me.

      I have not finished with them. Under the Freedom of Information Act they will be requested to provide those details to me, though they are able under the act to withhold the identity of the complainant. But they are going to tell me what the complaint was and how the complainant was impacted, whether they want to or not.

      Back to the fun stuff :-)

      Thanks for the lacing advice for sure! I will model it to get it down pat.

    2. I appreciate the distinction you're making. And our governments need citizen action to keep them in line, lest they (continue to) run rough-shod over us all.

      Give 'em hell! 8)

  3. Looks like you feathered the aluminum holes to avoid chafe.... nice.... and a strong connection to the hull. I found a old BoatBits post where he interviewed Tad Roberts. Philosophically a very sound man marine architecture wise and not afraid to design out of the box. Towards the end of our Luna ownership I fashioned in a stern motor well and moved the rudder to the side a bit to allow the motor attachment using a nice set of hardware from Duckworks but your system is much much better and even more resilient it seems. I'd think it great for even giant cargo scows if beefed up. Keep the faith regarding finally jettisoning the cowardly complainer and saying goodbye to the bureaucratic lackeys!

    1. Thanks Robert! I'm just sitting here this morning kicking around where and how to continue with the rudder. Tads dwg specifies a relatively high aspect ratio rudder, shaped from red cedar and then fiberglassed. This is something I definitely do not have the time to build. Nonetheless, I can at a later time and simply unlash whatever I do build for the time being, and lash on Tad's design.

      So, what I'm thinking, is that my temporary rudder should be built well enough that it could be a permanent rudder, and that it should test out the overall effectiveness and efficiency of a shallow draft low aspect ratio rudder. That I can make from suitably reinforced plywood, in relatively short order because I will dispense with much of the foil shape.

      It gets me maneuvering the boat around with the motor in short order, and if it's a dog then I'll certainly build Tad's. But on the other hand, it may work satisfactorily as Dave's do.

      In any case, I got to get building on it today, and at least can start the upper section.

      Thanks for the compliment on the well. Nice thing about it is no body will know the boat has an outboard. One issue I wound up with was because I found that deal on the Etec, I jumped on it. It was a bit bigger motor than I designed for though, and I can't raise the motor completely. Hindsight and all that :-) It does clear enough to dry out on a flat, and I will have to fashion a limit switch so it can't be hydraulically jammed against the well. Just have to be careful in the meantime.