Re: Rudder Pushrod

Gordon (
Mon, 19 Oct 1998 11:28:23 -0700

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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>I am a new P15 owner and a new sailor and have only sailed the boat a few
>I've found that the rudder gets pushed up at very inoportune times and would
>like to install the Rudder Pushrod described by Harry Gordon in Many Ways to
>Potter. I am unclear as to the hardware used to attach the pushrod to both
>the upper and lower rudder. On the lower rudder it looks like it may be a
>shackle but I can't really tell. If Harry Gordon, or someone else, can spell
>this out for me I'd be very grateful.
>Laura Bertran
>P15 1988 #1703

I was deliberately vague about that because I used a couple of pieces of
scrap iron of unknown origin. What I have on the rudder blade is a strip of
iron on each side of the blade attached with screws. Perhaps you could use
a pair of stainless tangs. Stainless or bronze would be preferable to the
iron, which rusts. There is a hole through the extended part of each piece
and a hole of the same size in the end of the aluminum tube that forms the
pushrod. I use a clevis pin through the three pieces to hold the rod in
place and allow it to pivot as the rudder swings up and down. The lower end
of the tube should be filled with epoxy to above where the hole is drilled
so there would be less tendency for the hole to elongate and perhaps tear
out. (The mop handle I used originally was short lived.)

Near the top of the upper rudder or on the tiller you need an eye or a
strap to retain the push rod. That should be a loose fit to accommodate the
change in angle of the rod as the rudder swings. I'm now using a large
eyebolt screwed in to the back of the rudder stock. Originally I used a
strip of aluminum bent to form a U-shape and screwed to the tiller, but
that prevented removing the tiller.

I depend on the rudder blade bolt to hold the rudder down, but I suppose
one could rig a bungee or line on the rod to maintain a downward push on
the rudder. With the rudder bolt tight enough to hold the rudder down, it
takes a substantial push or pull to lower or raise the rudder, and the
aluminum tube I've used (about 1/2 or 5/8 inch diameter) sometimes gets a
little bowed and needs straigtening. Dick Freshley in Washington used a
solid rod instead of a tube, and that might be a better idea, but I was
trying to minimize the weight (and also the diameter, since the bottom end
of the rod is underwater).

The photos I used on the web page are of Tom Grimes' boat, and his
installation is slightly different from mine, although the basic idea is
the same. The pushrod on my boat is connected lower on the rudder blade,
which provides a little better leverage, I think; and I used a gearshift
knob instead of a tee-handle at the top, which I thought would be less
likely to foul the mainsheet when coming about. My boat and Tom's are
first- and second-generation gunter rigs, respectively, and have the
old-style elliptical rudder blade, so you might have to make some
accommodation for the newer style rudder and tiller.

Harry Gordon
P14 #234, Manatee
Mountain View, CA