How to Fair Your Rudder Blade

How To - Code Flags


Rick Smith was kind enough to share his experiences in fairing the rudder blade on his Mutineer "Spirit" and his Buccaneer "Spirit II". While the writeup demonstrates the process for these designs, owners of other Chrysler boats can use this process as well, as this process is universal for all rudder fairing efforts (and perhaps for fairing the centerboard/daggerboard as well).


Tools:

Procedure:

  1. Put 36 grit paper on the body file or 2X4 (staple it on the top). Clamp the board to a sawhorse or table so the trailing edge is facing up. Sand from top to bottom with the long axis of the sandpaper laying on the long axis of the blade. Sand enough to take out any high or low spots. Broken or sharp, deep areas should be filled first. Keep the overall top to bottom curve.
  2. Turn the board over and sand the leading edge using a rolling motion from side to side as well as top to bottom to retain the basic radius in this area. You will make an "X" pattern.
  3. Lay the blade on a steady, flat table.
  4. Set the compass to 3". Hold the compass perpendicular to the leading edge of the blade so the point rides along the leading edge and the pencil marks a line on the side of the board. The line should extend from the top of the board where it exits the rudder head or the bottom of the boat all the way down the board until it runs off the back of the board. You will see a long gentle curve. Turn the board over and mark the other side. Make sure you are on the leading edge.
  5. Now set the compass to 5". Hold the compass perpendicular to the trailing edge and mark it on both sides.
  6. The lines will intersect near the bottom.
  7. Taper the trailing edge from the 5" line to the edge until it flattens out and the edge starts to taper. DO NOT shape much into the area near the bottom where the lines cross. This are has to be finessed once overall fairing is complete. Turn the board over and take the second side down to this point. Alternate from side to side to keep the edge centered in the board. The trailing edge should finish about " in thickness, and the after surface square to the fore/aft axis. The actual profile should be a very gentle, almost "flat" curve from the 5" line to the edge.
  8. Taper the trailing edge from the 5" line to the edge until it flattens out and the edge starts to taper. DO NOT shape much into the area near the bottom where the lines cross. This are has to be finessed once overall fairing is complete. Turn the board over and take the second side down to this point. Alternate from side to side to keep the edge centered in the board. The trailing edge should finish about " in thickness, and the after surface square to the fore/aft axis. The actual profile should be a very gentle, almost "flat" curve from the 5" line to the edge.
  9. Blend from the 3" line to the 5" line to connect the areas. Also work the tip into a gently blended area. Mainly it needs thinning.
  10. Fill any voids or low spots. Sand with 100 grit. Fill any voids. Sand with 220 paper, progressively use finer paper. Always use a sanding block to keep the surfaces flat.
  11. Prime, sand, prime, sand until sand scratches are gone. Paint it!


Many thanks to Rick Smith for taking the time to write this "how to" tutorial! Rick sails his 1986 Buccaneer "Spirit II" in Tennessee, and is a regular contributor to both the Yahoo! Groups Mutineer and Buccaneer discussion forums. If you would like to ask him any questions about this process, send an e-mail message to RSmithSail@aol.com.


This page last updated on Saturday, July 7, 2001.