kick-up rudder

Gil Cramer

The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.
I'm in the planning phase of fabricating a kick-up rudder for a 16' Old Town guide. I have Todd's book as a general guide,and am open to any tips and suggestions. Thanks in advance. Gil
Don't know why but I googled "kick up rudder" and found tons on stuff under the web section but when I went to the images section, there are just pages and pages of ideas. Don't miss that little trick that no one else would ever think of. I consider myself a bloody genius for thinking of it... IIMHO
I saw that one, but didn't think it was sea worthy. It appears from the literature that the Old Town Wahoo rudder did kick-up or tilt. If anybody has those dimensions, I'd appreciate seeing them.
Here are a couple of interesting ones, both built to require no permanent gudgeons on the hull:


At 2010 Assembly

Hi, the last post reminded me of this great rudder at the 2010 Assembly. I'm afraid I don't know who deserves the credit.


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Thanks for all the help. The rudder is almost completed. I'll try to post photos next week after the wood is varnished.
Very interesting to see different approaches and solutions for the same goal!!

Louis Michaud
Rimouski, Quebec


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The Rudder is almost finished. A clam cleat will be installed on top of the yoke for the line to the pivoting aluminum. The chain for the top pintil insert also needs to be fastened, and the lines attached.
The gudgeons and pintils are the same style as Old Town's, riveted with #8 copper nails. The top rivet of the top gudgeon is 2 1/8" below the peak , and the bottom rivet of the bottom gudgeon is 15 9/16" below the peak.That makes a distance of 14 1/2" between the pintils. The bottom rivet is slightly above the 4" waterline. I spent a lot of time determining the location before ever drilling any holes in the stem. The gudgeons would have been closer together on an OTCA or HW with more recurve in the stem than this guide.
The wood is 2 pieces of 6mm Hydrotek marine plwood epoxied together. The blade is 1/8"(.125") thick aluminum 23" long by a max of 8" wide with approximatel 17" below the water line. This is probably enough for a 45sq ft sail, but if not the blade can be lowered by drilling a hole closer to the top of the blade.The through bolt and stop are both stainless, and the stop has a nylon washer. The canoe will be sailed in fresh water. The control line will run from the yoke to the leeboard thwart and back to the yoke. Will have to wait until spring to see how it performs.


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Speaking of Cam Cleats, out trimaran had a pair of Clam Cleats for the centerboard and another pair for the rudder blade (one to hold the foil up when desired and one to keep it down at high speed when sailing). The hold-down cleats both had and interesting mod that's worth remembering.

Clam Cleats are a rectangular block and have V-shaped teeth, lined up in a row to form sort of a long, toothy valley or trench. As you pull harder on the line, it sinks down, deeper into the trench and this increases the grip on the line. Obviously, if you cleat a centerboard or rudder blade, accidentally hit something, and pulling on the line just makes it grip harder, you might do some serious damage to the blade, rudder housing or hull. This is the danger of having cleated downhauls on rudders and centerboards, yet a rudder that tends to ride up at high speed is extremely annoying.

What they had done was to use the plastic Clam Cleats (some are plastic, some aluminum) and take a drill bit just slightly bigger in diameter than the hold-down line. Then they drilled a fore and aft, horizontal channel all the way through the cleat at the very bottom of the trench (the point at the bottom of the V-shaped teeth). In normal use the cleats work like any other Clam Cleat, with the V-shaped teeth gripping the line. If you hit something hard enough though, instead of locking everything up, the line gets pulled deeper into the cleat until it finally pops into the drilled channel - and at that point it can run free and release the blade to kick up.

It works quite well if you have your diameters all figured out. One of the more curious items I've ever hit while boating was a submerged brick chimney in the middle of a man-made lake. We were sailing the trimaran at about twelve knots and really nailed it squarely with the 4' long centerboard. The 7/16" line pulled through the big Clam and an impact that could have seriously damaged the boat just resulted in a small ding in the leading edge of the board.
I looked at this rudder along with all of the other ones that I could find. Finally, I added another piece of laminated plywood to sandwich the blade at the owner's suggestion. As for blade size, The 1'X2' 1/8" aluminum was only $10 and can be cut with a cheap saber saw, so increasing blade size is quite easy and inexpensive. What took the most time/effort etc. was positioning the gudgeons and determining the appropriate shape for the plywood.
Oh, 2 sq ft or 1.5 sq ft blade is plenty... It looked a little smaller - narrower, on the photo.