Name: Bob Abelin
This rudder discussion is quite interesting and I do think there are clearly some issues with regards to rudders that should be resolved in the class. However from a practical standpoint, I'm not sure it makes a big difference what size or shape of your rudder is. There are probably performance differences in all the rudder shapes but there is so much variability in the SanJuans in general that it would be hard to quantify what difference a particular rudder shape would make. These boats have large differences in rig location, rig stiffness, shroud location, keel shape, keel location, keel stiffness, sails, rudders, weight, hull stiffness, keel gaskets, then there is the differences between the MK I, II, and III. I think it is clear that some boats truly faster than others, but it would be really tough to pin that on any one particular thing.
I would also imagine that rudder performance would vary considerably depending on the wind and sea conditions, so a rudder that is fast in low wind and flat water may not be as fast in a breeze. In our club we have boats that have stock rudders, NCAA rudders, kick-up rudders, and the even the fat oversized rudders, and I'm not convinced there is a noticeable difference in speeds between most of the boats. Unless your rudder is clearly messed up or does not fit within the class specs, I wouldn't be too worried about it. That being said, if you want a good performing rudder make sure it is in good shape. In order to preform well your rudder should have no low spots, no rough areas, no dings on the trailing edge, it should be clean and it should have a smooth finish. The finish on your rudder is far more important than the finish your your keel. If your rudder doesn't look good then take the time to re-finish it before you spend cash on a new one.
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