Today I set out to align my rudders on my Nacra 6.0 na. I had to do this since I broke my tiller bar twice. Yeah, twice…….. FYI……never jump on the boat from behind, because you will end up breaking the tiller bar. I broke it the second time when trying to drag the boat down to the water with the rudders on the boat.
FYI……never jump on the boat from behind, because you will end up breaking the tiller bar. I broke it the second time when trying to drag the boat down to the water with the rudders on the boat.
The objective here is to make the rudders 100% straight with the boat. I accomplished this by myself by doing the following:
1. Measure center to center distance of the rudder mounting brackets (Gudgeons). Why ? because by design, the mounting brackets are mounted perfectly center of the pontoons, and the rudders are attached to these mounting brackets which are equal in shape and form so by measureing the center to center distance of the mounting brackets, you will have perfect starting point.
2. Mount the rudders to the boat with tiller cross bar and put the rudders in full down postion. I did this when the boat was on the trailer and I had to back the trailer up on some ramps that I bought from Wal-mart to change the oil in my truck. This gave me the height I needed to put the rudders completely down.
3. At this point, if you have someone to help you, all you have to do is stretch a tape between the two rudders and adjust the distance between the rudders using the tiller crossbar adjustable end cap. This is what I have on my Nacra, but on my Hobie it is just a set screw that I have to release and the inter peace will slide out. Move the tiller bar in or out (make it longer or shorter) as needed to make back edge of the rudders the same distance that you measured in step one. A tip when using a measuring tape is to “cut and inch”. The end of the tape has a metal clip for hooking on a board or such, and it gets in the way when doing this type of detail work, what you want to do is go to the first inch and use that as the starting point. Then all you have to do is add a inch to your measurement and it will be perfect and the person holding the tape will be able to see the line where they need to hold it.
If you don’t have someone to help ( like me in this case ) you need to make a template out of wood so you can have something you can measure the distance with since no one person can hold a tape on one end and measure on the other. I made my template by using a 1″ X 1 1/2″ X 8′ board. You will need at least two boards when drilling the holes. You put both boards side by side tightly together. Then you measure one inch from the end and drill a hole right where the two boards meet. The goal here is to end up with half a hole on the edge of the board that we are going to use as a template. I am just putting both boards together to make the drilling of this half hole easy. Then measure from the center of that hole the distance that you measure in step one. Once again, drill the hole right where the two boards meet. Once you are done, seperate the boards and you will now have one board with two half holes on the edge.
Walk over to the boat and place the notch (half hole) of one side of the template on the back edge of the rudder, then see if you can put the other notch on the other end of the template on the back edge of the second rudder, making sure to hold the template as level as possible. Take note of the position and them make adjustment to the tiller crossbar adjustable end cap as needed. Continue this until you are able to put the back edge of the rudders into the notch’s of the template and move slide the template up and down the back edge while keeping the template level with out any resistance. To double check your measurement, do the same to the front side of the rudders. You may find that you have to re-adjust just a bit. The goal is to have both the back and the front of the rudders slide into the notch’s with out any resistance. Once you get them to this point they are aligned. Hopefully in the future you will be able to find someone to hold the end of the tape to fine tune it down to the thousands of an inch. But, until that time, this method will work perfectly.
4. Take the boat out on the water and see if you notice a difference. I took mine out this weekend and it was like night and day. I honestly did not realize how out of alignment my rudders were until I aligned them. I no longer have any pull on the rudders, and I know this sounds crazy, but I did not even feel them and the wind was at 20 knots. They just sliced through the water and it made my turning oh so much easier. Aligning the rudders is so easy to do and it really makes a difference.
You can read full article with photos at http://sailinglouisiana.com/?cat=11