Upgrading Rudder Heads

by Don Snell

In one of the Albums under Photos you can see that non-factory rudder heads can be made.  The materials used are either marine grade plywood and solid wood or aluminum plate.  Both systems use aluminum tubing available from boat shops that supply or manufacture biminis or dodgers or your regular canvas or upholstery businesses.  The nice thing about this tubing is the fit of the different size tubes.  The smaller tube fits snugly inside the larger diameter tube.  'Delrin' is a nylon or plastic material that can easily be drilled, cut or machined and is very strong.


I got my piece from a machine shop in our area.  The cut aluminum plate was done at a metal supply business.  You will need to provide a sketch with dimensions.  Their draftsman can finish it in the computer as these are cut using computer aided cutting machines(water jet).  These examples are by no means the only designs that work and you may find other ways of creating these pieces.  I found that the cast aluminum rudder heads are getting scarce and they are usually very heavy unless modified.  The wooden example is the lightest followed by the aluminum plate example, both are much lighter than the factory rudder heads and tubes.  These have been built with through the hull downhauls but can be made like the factory heads.  I have used small harken sheaves to run the uphaul shock cord over which reduces chafe.