Up a Creek – Without a Rudder!!

The bullet-proof RC Laser has long invited sailors to be more careless about collisions.  But one type collision can disable an RC Laser.

If one boat’s bow crosses the aft deck of another boat it may hit the top of the rudder, unhooking it – which leads to ejecting the non-floating rudder  %$^&*#@!

For years we have heard – “my rudder just fell out even though it was snapped in!” But we all know that if both hooks are securely snapped into place, the rudder simply cannot “fall out”.  Nod your head, Yes!

But then one day in my own fleet, I collided with another boat, my bow crossing his aft deck.  I didn’t think much of it until I looked back and saw the other boat just sitting there.  Turns out, his rudder was gone.   Then I saw a similar incident about a month later – right before my eyes!!!  Then someone else claimed exactly the same story to me on the phone!

OK, OK, it is extremely rare but I have personally seen it happen! So here is the solution I recommend and use myself.  We installed safety pins on all our fleet boats and haven’t had a loss of a rudder since – for any reason.

A picture is worth a 1000 words, so here are two.  These clips are readily available in most hardware stores.  Drill an appropriate sized hole in the rudder center post, near enough to the top so the keeper pin you use can slide through and snap in place.  Also, tie the pin to something – I use the tiller or a steering rod.  That way, you won’t lose the pin when you store your boat.

As I mentioned, rudders don’t float, so save yourself the grief of losing one and the cost of buying a new one!  Do it today.