The Moment of Truth

With unnerving frequency throughout the course of the rudder build to date, I’ve said to myself “here’s the moment of truth.” As the pile of practice rudders and jigs can attest, the truth of the moment is usually that I neglected to consider one factor or another. I lost track of how many discards there are, I stopped counting at 7…Fortunately, we’ve had a string of successful moments of truth in the past 2 weeks, and things are progressing nicely. The crux of the project was gluing the two faces of the rudder together- getting all the bolt holes and edges to line up nicely, keeping the epoxy out of said holes, and clamping everything together, all within the working time of a batch of epoxy. I’m happy to report that everything went great! Epoxy doesn’t like cold weather, so Ryan agreed to turn the dining room into a temporary workspace, we cranked the heat, and got to work. Here’s about 45 minutes broken down to 20 seconds.

The next step is to attach resin-soaked balsa on each side to finish out the thickness of the rudder. Balsa is extremely light weight, and when saturated with resin should add considerable strength and be rot-resistant. Then the whole thing will be encapsulated in fiberglass.

I considered doing a long taper to the trailing edge for a more optimized hydrodynamic shape, but ultimately decided against it for a number of reasons. One is, the hull speed of the boat is about 5.75 knots, a racer she is not. Lifting NACA foils probably improve efficiency of modern blade type rudders, but the Ariel is old school, with the rudder attached to the back of the full length keel. It seems to me that putting a foil shape on the rudder would be like putting a whale tail on my mini-van.

Ladies and Gents, I got my eyes on the prize now, hoping to have the rudder finished up by the end of the month, get the chain-plates to the fabricator soon afterwards, set-up the new rigging, sand and paint the deck, rough-out the interior, and go sailing by summer! I’ve been telling everyone who asks sometime in May or June, so I guess I better make it happen. Until next time!

One thought on “The Moment of Truth

  1. The Winter of ’13/’14 was spent studying NACA foil theory during a rudder rebuild project for our Mirage 24. It was fascinating.
    Old school’s a good thing when you’re out in a blow. There’s something to be said about ‘tried and true’ ‘go with what you know’, ‘don’t mess with success’ and all that. She may not be a racer but will be a lot more comfortable to sail with her classic lines.

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