The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2016.07.25 - Now I Need a New Rudder

I have a number of photos of Shoal Waters on my computer and I have set the computer to show them as background images on my secondary monitor, a new one each day. I was looking at today's photo and I realised that I' will have to build a new rudder. The photo is shown below on the left-hand side of the page and here you can quite clearly see that there is a skeg under the transom, about 5 inches high and the rudder cheeks extend to the bottom of the skeg.

A skeg, by the way is "a tapering or projecting after section of a vessel's keel.".

The pin upon which the lower part of the rudder hangs, know as a pintle, is on the waterline.

Now look at the photo I have taken of Naiad's transom for you to see on the righthand side of the page below. No skeg. And the pintle, which I have removed, is also on the waterline but on Naiad the waterline is about 4 inches below that of Shoal Waters.

The means that when Naiad is back in the water, her new waterline will be about the same as Shoal Waters' and the pintle will be under water. This is bad for one good reason. The idea behind pintles and the other part of the set called a gudgeon is that you can easily lift the rudder of and put it back on again. Well, not if the lower pintle is under water you can't, you need to be able to see both the upper and lower pintles.

So, says you, just move the pintle up to the new position. Except Naiad's lower pintle is fixed both to the transom and underneath to the keel. If you look carefully at Naiad's transom you can just see a slot in the keel where the lower pintle wrapped around the transom and into the keel. It is done this way to make the pintle construction lighter. If I cut the keel bit off and move the rest up to above the new waterline, it will not be strong enough to withstand normal usage.

Still, even if I did do this, I would also have to move the gudgeon up the rudder to match and that is another problem. You see, a prior owner made the rudder cheek pieces out of metal and not wood and the lower gudgeon seems to be welded onto the metal.

This is one of those times when you feel like everything conspires against you. I could cut off the lower gudgeon and buy a new one except that one with the correct gap between the arms no longer exists. I can buy bigger one and smaller ones but not ones the same size. I could bodge it but a rudder is a fairly essential thing to have on a boat and bodging it just doesn't fill me with a warm feeling of satisfaction. Quite the reverse, in fact.

I can salvage the rudder blade and some of the other parts of the existing rudder, but a new one will have to be made.

Oh well. Another item to add to the ever growing list.

Here you can quite clearly see the skeg on shoal Waters and the rudder cheeks extending below the bottom of the transom.

The is Naiad's transom. No skeg and the rudder cheeks do not extend below the transom.


This is what gudgeons and pintles look like off the boat. The shorter one goes at the top of the rudder and the pintle is on the rudder and the longer one goes at the bottom and the pintle is on the transom. The rudder itself goes between the straps as you can see from the Shoal Waters photo above.