Sunday, October 17, 2010


Next up is the rudder and controls.  Like the leeboard, the rudder is carved from a solid piece of white ash.  I do not plan on painting the rudder, so it is protected with a coat of epoxy.  The rudder box is made of several layers of fiberglass and carbon fiber and is very strong and stiff.  It pivots on a 3/8" stainless steel bolt.  The gudgeons are built into the XCR and are made of low friction plastic bearings set into thickened epoxy and reinforced with several layers of unidirectional carbon fiber.  As you can see from the pictures, I still need to get everything smoothed out and painted over.

I have several means of controlling the rudder.  The primary control for sailing is via a push-pull tiller.  An aluminum tiller bar is bolted across the top of the rudder box.  A custom made carbon fiber universal joint connects the tiller bar to the aluminum tube tiller extension.  A foam rubber grip provides a comfortable grip while sailing.  With this setup, I have a lot of ability to move around and maintain control of the boat.  I can stay in my seat, or easily hike out on either side if I am feeling adventurous.

I also have the foot control pedals which provide a means of hands-free steering.  These are not intended as the primary means of steering, but they are great when I need to put down the tiller and attend to other things.  Finally, I have a continuous loop hand steering line that can be cleated off and provides a solid backup if any of the other systems fail.

And last but not least is the rudder uphaul and downhaul.  The uphaul connects to the top of the rudder box, runs through a small block on the rear edge of the rudder and back over a turning block up to the rear cockpit.  The downhaul runs from the front edge of the rudder, over the top of the rudder box, to a auto-release cleat near the rear cockpit.  This allows the rudder to pop up if it hits an obstacle.