adjusting rudder blade angle

I understand that it is legal to redrill the rudder blade so the forward edge is more nearly vertical, and that this will reduce weather helm when heeled over. Does it also reduce pointing ability? If it is a good idea, where should the new hole be drilled?


I understand that this was once popular.

I understand that this was once popular. Greg Fisher, from North Sails, refers to it in his tuning guide. In reading some stuff from the top Scot racers, they seem to agree that the boat goes faster if you adjust the main trim to lessen the weather helm, reducing the drag on the rudder. I have limited experience, but it seems that they are right. Tightening the vang, and easing the mainsheet slightly, will flatten the boat and reduce the weather helm and rudder drag. I fixed my vang to have more purchase, so I could trim it from the rail, and that has made the boat go faster. Phil Scheetz FS 4086

Phil Scheetz

Flying Scot 5919

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club

Adjusting the rudder blade angle does not reduce weather helm.

Adjusting the rudder blade angle does not reduce weather helm. If you move the blade to a more vertical angle, you move the center of resistance in the blade closer to the rudder pivot point. This increases the leverage the tiller has over the resistance of the blade and you feel less pull on the tiller. The rudder is only the transmitter of weather helm. Adjusting the blade angle does nothing to affect the root cause. In the Scot, weather helm is usually caused by heeling too much. In most cases, the best way to reduce helm is to sail the boat flat. We have also found that pulling the draft forward in the main with the cunningham can help balance the helm. You can also adjust helm by moving the mast rake, adjusting the centerboard or shifting the crew weight. I have always felt that sailing with the blade angle at a more vertical position makes it easier to sail with a lot of weather helm without realizing it. With the standard angle, you feel that big tug on the tiller and you know to ease the main to reduce the drag of the rudder. With a more vertical blade, you can drag the rudder with a lot less pressure on the tiller and sail along blissfully ignorant of how much the drag of the rudder is slowing the boat.

One more tip: If you have a light crew and have strong wind and

One more tip: If you have a light crew and have strong wind and can not seem to get rid of excessive heeling and helm going upwind then check to make sure that the rudder is all the way down and pull up on the centerboard, perhaps maximum two inches on the centerboard roller. This will reduce the helm, especially in the puffs when the boat heels and the loss in centerboard area is miniscule. Gabor