Rudder Replacement

Rudder Replacement- click here to add to this discussion RE: Rudder Replacement

From: Sandy Sellers, Sledhunter Date: 21 August 2002
Subject: Rudder Replacement

Does anyone have or know of a source or sources for rudders?


From: Bill Huseby, Sting Date: Tue Dec 31, 2002
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

I was wondering how much interest there is in acquiring a really light and speedy rudder for your Soverel 33. I own Sting, and due to some nasty circumstances I had the opportunity to design and build two new carbon fiber rudders (and shafts). One is on my boat and the other went to Dean Briggs on Stop Making Sense. If there was enough interest, I would build a few more. Here are the particulars:

Over the years I have had four different rudders on my boat and this one is by far the best one yet. The stall characteristics are a dream. Just before it stalls, for instance on a tight spinnaker reach when you should probably not have the kite up, the helm telegraphs the impending doom with enough time to let the trimmer react accordingly. It also tracks straighter than any other rudder I have experienced.

Because I was 950 miles from land when I lost my "standard" steel shafted rudder I was particularly careful with the design of the shaft. As a result, I designed the carbon fiber shaft to withstand the forces generated going twice as fast as the "standard" steel shaft. I own an engineering consulting business so the analysis was the fun part. You can go to the web page if you are interested in what I do for a living: www.sigmadzn.com

To get the fit right I would need a few measurement from your particular boat. The bearing tubes are all slightly different so a bit of customization would need to be done. This is no big deal but would require that the boat be out of the water with out the rudder so that good measurements could be taken.

The cost would be very dependent on how many I built. Roughly speaking, it would cost right around what a new racing main would cost. I would only be interested if there were more than two folks that would want one. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me directly or through this user group. I have attached a couple of pictures for your information.

Sigma Rudder
gif Image click to open GIF Image
pdf Image click to open Adobe PDF Image


From: Dean Briggs, Stop Making Sense Date: Wed Jan 1, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

I totally agree with all Bill has said and then some. You have no idea until you try it.


From: Mark McCarthy, Slàinte Date: Thu Jan 2, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

Carbon fiber sounds good, however, a bit expensive for my budget this year. Have ben talking to a friend of mine who makes blades as well, used to build production blades for 505's. Looking for a new blade.

Does anyone out in the group have plans for what the rudder post and internal rudder supports looks like? Want to have a new Stainless Steel post made by a SS welder, however, need a detailed set of plans to do so.

[see Rudder Post & Internal Rudder Supports]


From: Peter d'Anjou, x-Gryphon Date: Thu Jan 2, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

When I morphed the old rectangular rudder on hull 31 to elliptical shape using epoxy, pvc core, and glass cloth I weighed the finished product out at 42 pounds, so a carbon one is about 50% lighter.  While lighter is desirable I think it is important to stay within the shape characteristics of the class rules.


From: Jerry Kedziora, x-ZOT Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

Prior to owning ZOT which is a Tarten built boat I used to own and race International 210's and Tarten Tens. One design. When I had to recore my Tarten Ten I wanted to use foam rather than balsa As the core material. I could not because than the boat would NOT conform to class rules. When I redid the keel and rudder on my 210 I had to be remeasured.

My point is that I have a real problem with the carbon fiber rudders. If boats are allowed to make this change what's next? If I were to loose my rig and was able to get a deal on a carbon fiber rig Is the general census that this would be OK? [ see Rules - currently only Aluminum is allowed ] If you need to lighten your boat than race with two cases of beer not three.


From: Norm Dean, Whacko Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

About 12 years ago, Whacko had severe problems with lower rudder bearing oxidation.  We were going through a bearing per year or so ($500).  It was suggested that we either use glass or Titanium for the shaft.  We also had blistering problems and tried to correct without success.  

We replaced our rudder 9 years ago keeping official class elliptical shape - but using the carbon glass shaft.  The overall weight advantage was  12 lbs.  Since that time, we have not had any bearing problems and have not noticed any additional speed advantage.   If weight difference is an issue, correction weights could be added.  Of course, we could also begin weighing all boats prior to official events.  It all depends on how tight the class wants to regulate the boats.  

We have also listed the glass rudder on our PHRF certificate without penalty.  

I believe we as a class should review any shape changes.  It may be possible to try new shapes on an "experimental" basis only.   As to the rig, since it is no longer possible to get the original section, several boats have had to replace their masts with sections that are "different."  Some stiffer, some lighter.   Bill Heintz actually preferred Deviation's old mast to their replacement.  Deviation continues to be "very" fast on the race course.  [ This is Ballenger spar, an original supplier for PCX Soverel 33's, section 6038 - which I don't mind., the Kenyon MORC 4060 is available from Rig-Rite. ]

We want to encourage racing the Soverel 33, even though there are differences.  Again, we can discuss differences as a class and make adjustments if necessary.


From: Ian Duff, Invisible Cities Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

I'm with Jerry and Peter. Carbon allows greater strength at comparable weight, which would conform to the spirit of one-design class rules while increasing the safety margin at sea. A new rudder, lighter and "maybe" following the original shape moves away from one-design. I realize that these boats are old enough to have had modifications such that "one-design" is a variable term. However, while grand fathering these modifications in an effort to promote a return to one-design racing, let's not move toward new modifications. Not that I've participated in any S33 one-design events, but I'd like to think that we're promoting a return to one design, and not moving to level rating. I'd suggest any future carbon rudders be made as close to current shape and weight (either square-tip/Soverel or round-tip/Tartan), and any benefit derived from use of carbon be in the form of increased strength, and not reduced weight.


From: Paul Jeka, Santana Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

Last month Santana participated in the Lauderdale to Palm Beach race. After a front blew through and we were about 12 miles out in the stream, I often though how much more confidence I would have with new rudder/bearings back there. I'm all for the original shape/specs, just would like to have the option to modernize for safety.


From: James Gallacher, Celeritas Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

A few years back the Express 37's introduced a new rudder because it was too easy to spin out. They did compensate for the carbon by adding weight in the rudder. I have sailed on the express since (and before) the change and the helm is way more responsive. The helm feels stiffer (more like a race car than a jalopy for comparison sake). It’s a touch deeper – they’d get hammered for it IMS, but not PHRF, which tends to be slow to react. [ The NEW Express 37 rudder is: 18" deeper, thinner (narrower max. width), has a shorter average chord length, and weights about 45# compared to the 115# for the old one. In order to satisfy PHRF, they use either dumb-bells, a lead collar, extra-batteries, or the equivalent weight in extra equipment in that area. They all weighed their rudders, took the average, and that was the compensation. ]

If you don’t think putting a stiffer stick in a good helmsman's hands isn't an unfair advantage compared to the standard configuration then you’re nuts. You feel more in the helm and in turn can make the boat react faster. If you make this change then you should compensate for it by adding weight to the rudder – not the floor over the keel. Otherwise, I believe this should be illegal. I agree with Jerry that these changes should be discouraged (I hope I'm not putting words in your mouth) if the class plans to keep promoting one-design.


From: Jerry Kedziora, x-ZOT Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

I think James put it best. If we want to retain the idea of one design than the boats Including the foils should be the same shape and weight. I agree that the weight should be added to the rudder. I also think as a practical point; that part of the responsiveness Of the boat is crew weight placement. I think we need to be very careful on how we handle this. I don't want the Soverel fleet turning into the same one-design as let's say the J-29's with four different configurations. That ain't one design.


From: Norm Dean, Whacko Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

When we had the problems with our rudder, we looked at the Mumm shape but wanted to stay with original Soverel shape for one design.   I wonder how much difference a newer shape would make in speed and lift.


From: Bill Heintz, Deviation Date: Fri, Thu Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

When putting a set of Class Rules together the intent and spirit of the rules were to make it all-inclusive to the active boats: Impartial (free of favoritism or bias), Equitable (just to all parties), and in the Best Interests of all concerned in each given issue. Essentially, what is "Fair."

The greatest problem with the Soverel 33 is that they were built over the course of seven (7) years with four (4) different builders. The builders primary goal was make the boats to suit the market, the goal of one-design was secondary. The rules were developed eleven (11) years after the last boat was complete. The differences in the versions of the J-29 are quite black & white as compared to the subtle differences in the Soverel 33:

The rules concerning the Soverel 33 Rudder are stated at: Rudders

In essence:

[III.C.1.] the rudder may be either rectangular (hulls prior to 1985) or elliptical in shape.

[III.C.2.] repairs, minor fairing and sanding rudder, which do not alter the weight, profile or sectional shape are allowed. It is not clearly stated what the "official" weight, profile, or section shape of the rudder is though.

The Sigma Design, I believe, is the same profile and section shape as the earlier Soverel design. What is the "official" Rudder weight? Short of weighing everyone's rudder I believe it would be difficult to determine. (Like every thing else the Tartan Rudder is a tad heavier.)

So what is most "Fair" and consistent with the rules? Possibly, if your boat is weighs more than minimum hull weight, 5,800 lbs. [III.A.] then if you change your rudder, (whether by Sigma, Guck, Waterat, or other) you should maintain your boat at or above that same minimum hull weight.

What else can you do? Do you say "boat W your rudder weighs 30 lbs. so you can replace it with one like that, boat S yours should be 40 lbs., and boat D you have to make one 75 lbs!" [hypothetical example]

I'm open to other opinions on this idea, bear in mind, the Tartan built "Grand Touring" model Soverel 33 reportedly weighs close to 6,800 lbs. The difference in rudder weight is less than 5% of the hull weight differential. Also, we MUST consider that the majority of our races will be PHRF, as opposed to at most three or four One-Design regattas per boat.


From: Todd Aven, Phoenix Date: Fri, Jan 3, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

I think a fair-minded sportsman would have no difficulty recognizing that a carbon fiber replacement that weighed 50% less contravenes the rule, regardless of what is considered the 'nominal' weight. The right thing to do would be to add compensatory weight inside the rudder body and/or shaft.


From: Erik Will, BushWacker Date: Sat, Jan 4, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

My stock spade rudder weighs 69 Lbs. I agree with Jerry (Zot). I don't like getting away from the original design. I am in agreement with the owners present at the annual meeting that stressed working toward larger fleets and more one design events for Soverel 33s. I don't think modifying boats is in keeping with that goal. The only thing that is not stock on our boat (other than the 3in. forestay extension) is the one ton ambulance we stuck on the front to get to and support more one design events.


From: Robin Ricca, Phoenix Date: Sat, Jan 4, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

I raced onboard Saucy Girl at Larchmont NOODS [2002 Soverel 33 Nationals] before I purchased her. Also on Deviation and Santana some over the summer. I met you folks there and so many other nice Soverel 33 sailor's. I must tell you, a big piece of my decision to purchase a Soverel 33 was how everyone cooperated and made all feel like a family, a true ODR group of sailors. Santana, Deviation, Saucy Girl and Whacko clearly influenced Robin and several of our crew members that I should  purchase a Soverel 33, instead of a J-35 and other sailboats this skipper was bidding on. The website and co-operation among this group of sailor's is refreshing. You all may take us to school in our first year on LIS, but our crew is very excited about joining such a great group of sailors and sailboats. You guy's have FUN !

I am new to this group and was not at the S33 annual meeting. I have raced on numerous ODR sailboats such as Key West twice in the J-29's, on an Express 37, some J-24's, etc,. I presently race on Sirena, an IMS Tripp 43 out of Stamford, CT. and Vamp a J-44 out American YC.

I do agree with your statement to ultimately keep the fleet of S33's as close as possible. I have spent so much time on the Web Site in the last three months gaining information to repair x-Saucy Girl [now Big Daddy ]. Phoenix [name at the time] sustained big damage, but when I am done with her I promise she will be like a new sailboat. Phoenix will be painted next week and is coming along extremely well.

In the past three months I have learned these Soverel 33's are very different in certain areas. Bill Heintz point about the S33's being much closer to ODR compared to the J-29's is valid. They as you know have four (4) different rating and designs. But, we are different as he stated by the four original manufacturers. Bill and I have noticed significant differences between even Phoenix (Tarten # 70) and Deviation (Tarten # 89). Here between only the 20 Tarten built sailboats, we find a significant difference between the weight and construction of the house area. Phoenix is much lighter in the house area, particularly at the ports. [much more similar to the Soverel built boats]

Keeping the Soverel 33's close is Class 101 stuff. Anyone who disagrees with that concept is defeating the purpose of building a better S33 Association Group. I have had more than one professional sailor make this statement to me while I was researching the purchase of Phoenix: The Soverel 33's are not a ODR Group at all, they are level racing at best. Why anyone would want to make the Soverel 33's be viewed as not trying to get closer to ODR, I can not understand. Let us think of the group first always, not ourselves or an individual S33.


From: Bill Heintz, Deviation Date: Sat, Jan 4, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

I spoke to Bill Huseby on Friday (3 Jan. '03) and he confirmed that the Rudder he is offering is the same Size and Profile and uses the same NACA 0012 section as Mark Soverel's elliptical design. It is my impression that this rudder is, for all intents and purposes, a "One-Design Rudder." We should embrace Bill Huseby's offer.

Over the past few years there have been numerous requests for information on getting replacement rudders with no good, reliable or dependable source. I do not believe it is cost effective to simply replace your existing rudder unless you have a compelling reason to do so: either from grounding, excessive blistering, de-lamination, fracture, bent shaft, etc. Case in point, Bushwacker is in no apparent disadvantage from using the Original Spade / Squared-off design.

If the WEIGHT your primary issue with this offer, then it would more be "fair" to first start by weighing individual Rudders or individual Boats? This topic of weighing Boats was discussed in 2000 and tabled for many good reasons.


From: Randy Richter, Pressure Drop Date: Tue, Jan 7, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

In response to James Gallacher comments that PHRF is slow to react.  As a handicapper for PHRF of the Chesapeake, any unreported rudder change would most likely find that you would be suspended from PHRF of the Chesapeake (meaning no certificate = no racing). [we had a similar case a few years ago on LIS, and the individual was banned from ALL racing for two years]  The IMS data based on the work Jim Teeters has done on rudder depth and the resulting adjustment to the IMS has been widely published (see recent Seahorse).  I believe that we would adjust the rating appropriately based on what we have learned.  

I am concerned that the recent “buzz” on the discussion group is what mods are acceptable, if the thrust here is to promote one design racing this is not the way to get there.  Changing rudder shape or keel shape (both plan form and section) and materials are not being done to make the boat go slower.  Either the class rules allow such mods or they don’t.  If rules don’t offer this clarity, then it is time to redo the rules.  Nobody wants to go to a regatta with a boat that is not optimized.


From: Paul Jeka, Santana Date: Tue, Jan 7, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

Definitely the "Stock" foil shape, cord length and depth of rudders should remain as designed. Fairing and replacement of rudders and posts should be allowed using the appropriate materials. I remember the rudder rebuild that was performed on hull # 4 which happened to be delivered with a Soverel 30 rudder (Stalled all over the place). The new elliptical Soverel templates were used with a foam core. So much foam ... she might have even floated !!!! Still weighed out around 45 lbs....So there will be weight variations from boat to boat...Let's keep the rudders as stock as possible but safe.

Note Soverel 33 One Design Rules
Section C. Hull
"The Soverel 33 shall be built to existing specifications as sanctioned by the association. No major changes may be made to the form or structure of the hull,keel or rudder."
1. Rudder:"In Hulls prior to 1985 the stock rudder was rectangular and subsequently elliptical in shape. The rudder may be either of these two shapes."

Done ! If this changes just let all of us know.


From: Bill Huseby, Sting Date: Wed, Jan 8 & Fri, Jan 10, 2003
Subject: RE: Rudder Replacement

[from 1/8/03] I have received a good amount of interest in having new rudders built. Can you please send me the "drawings" that exist (if there are any) that constitute a "class profile and section". I want to make sure that what I have designed abides by the "rules". It appears that my offer of making rudders has been interpreted as a deliberate deviation from the "standard" configuration in the attempt to make the boat go faster. I assure you that is not the case.

[from 1/11/03] I'm very excited about all the discussion regarding rudders for the Soverel 33. I have dug through my files for information and have a "print" that I got from Mark Soverel back in 1996 when I designed the carbon fiber rudder that I currently have. It is a bit vague as what was all the "insight" I got from Mark during my discussions with him.

Original Soverel 33 Rudder Details
pdf Image click to open Adobe PDF Image

It appears that my offer to make carbon fiber rudders for folks was interpreted as a change that would move the boat away from being a "one design" class. That is certainly not my intention. The profile I used for my rudder was derived from the "original" profile for the rudder that came from Pacific Boats as well as the information I got from Mark Soverel. The Section is a NACA 0012 which is a pretty standard shape for rudders and what I believe was the original intention.

I have also included a couple of pictures of rudders for information. The first is a picture of my "original" rudder after it broke about 40 miles away from Hawaii on one of the return trips. The other is a picture showing what the replacement looked like before shape was added. This one later broke when I was 950 mile from Hawaii during the race from San Francisco in 1996. That same year, the borrowed rudder I was using for the delivery home also broke off about half way between Hawaii and the mainland (both broke just below the lower bearing). All three rudders that broke were "standard" rudders made from 2.5 inch diameter stainless steel (300 series) with a nominal wall thickness of .175".

Original Broken RudderReplacement Rudder
click to open image

Based on my own experience sailing the Soverel 33 WITH OUT a rudder coupled with my engineering background, I believe the rudder as originally designed is less than adequate for anything more than day sailing in calm waters. Being that I enjoy ocean racing, I set out to design a rudder that I felt was strong enough to withstand the loads that might come with big waves, big wind and screaming fun. I looked at a steel shaft and determined that a rudder that meet my criteria would weigh in excess of 100 pounds! In addition, it would be harder to shape since I would not be able to easily machine the shape in using a CNC. I never thought about changing the shape from what I had because the elliptical profile, area, amount of balance and section all seemed to work just fine.

The rudder I have on Sting, and the one I am offering to build, IS "standard" in every regard EXCEPT it is stronger (i.e. safer), faired more precisely than most and weighs about 25 lbs less than a steel shafted one. On the issue of weight, there is a nice one inch hole accessible from the top into which an owner could easily but lead weights to bring the rudder up to some weight when the class determined what that is. If you are still interested in having me build you a rudder here are some more particulars about cost. If two are ordered then the cost is $3,700 each, 3 are $3,500 each and 4 are $3,400. I would need 1/2 the payment up front and the other 1/2 to ship it. I would like to get them finished by April 1st.

If you want to be put on the "list" just send me an e-mail with your intent. I would also be happy to answer any other questions folks might have.


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