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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 (10mm) bungee around the rudder and rudder stock above the bottom pivot ( you may have to make your loop first and slide it up the rudder). It needs to have enough tension to hold the rudder firmly against the stock. If you sail in strong winds you might want a double loop.
Slid to the bottom of the stock, the bungee holds the rudder firmly in place but if it hits sand or an obstruction the rudder tilts, the bungee slides to the top and pulls against the “horn” at the top of the rudder to bring it clear of the water.
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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