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I’ve found the “spitfire rod” system to be a bit “Heath-Robinson” as the rod comes unscrewed, it doesn’t always let go when you hit an obstruction, hitting an obstruction damages the rod, the rod catches on my rope bag at the stern, it often damages the rudder tip and it allows too much play in the rudder.
So I’ve copied an idea which I came across when sailing a Weta in the UK – the bungee auto-kickup system. No rod, no screws and it kicks up automatically every time.
Very simple – just wrap a tight loop of heavy duty (8-10mm) bungee around the rudder and rudder stock below the top pintle (the easiest way to install it and get the right amount of tension is to wrap the bungee under the top pintle and then over the rudder stock three times – then tilt up the rudder and slide each loop over the horn of the blade.
Slide all three loops against the bottom pintle after launching to prevent the rudder rising at speed – it needs to have enough tension to hold the rudder firmly against the stock. If it hits sand or an obstruction the rudder tilts but goes straight down again afterwards, to leave it in the up position slide the bungee against the top pintle and lift the blade so that the bungee rests on the “horn” at the top of the rudder to keep it clear of the water.
NOTE: Do not tie any additional shock cord over or under the rudder stock as this might prevent the rudder rising or cause it to rise too easily.
The only downside is you may need to hold the rudder down when sailing in shallow water but it’s fairly easy if you sit on the stern while steering with one hand and push the rudder down with the other.
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