Sometimes you just don’t realise how much pressure things are put under!
Saturday got off to a great start, I’d loaded the car up on Friday for an early start, checked the weather forecast:
- southerly 10-15 knots mid morning
- raising to 20 knots in the afternoon
- moderate swells
Challenging but doable if I take it easy. Got to St Heliers beach and set up. On Friday I’d purchased a kayak trolley which proved to be a great help launching and retrieving. Setting off went smoothly and we made a good pace until I looked back at the rudder and noticed something was amiss; it wasn’t all the way down and at a bit of an angle. Closer inspection revealed that it was coming loose of its fittings! I quickly let the sheet out and pulled the rudder up and tied it out of the way all the time drifting further out. Thinking I’d paddle steer back to shore I got set up and quickly discovered that I had not a clue as to the right technique to use!
Eventually, one capsize later and several other close calls, I got on a good reach and managed to point her towards Ladies Bay for an textbook landing. At Ladies Bay we took a break and took down the mast; I had tried to paddle back earlier, but the mast had too much of an affect on stability and nearly caused another capsize. After that it was a quick paddle back to St Heliers beach.
Back at the beach Nico joined in the fun
I had hoped to use the day to evaluate the canoe’s performance but alas that was not to happen. I did have a few observations though:
- Paddle steering is harder than it looks.
- As the swell increases, so does the amount of water splashing into the hull (also aided by me sitting in the aft bulkhead to better steer.
- Under sail the swell didn’t present any issues and I didn’t feel any loss of speed.
- Even against the wind, she paddles at a good pace.
Now to the serious business:
This is where the rudder failed. I built the mounting board out of 20mm treated ply covered in epoxy and then painted. To attached the hinge I rather optimistically used short screws instead of running a bolt all the way through. As you can see the pressure popped the screws straight out.
As you can see the pressure was enough to break the metal.
The other side, even the hinge pin is bent. The rudder is made out of oak and I added a layer of epoxy under it when I built it. So I’m guessing that’s the reason it held up better. But when I fix it will become the weak link so I’ll need to replace the screws with bolts as well.
This coming weeks job will be to rebuild. I think I’ll laminate more of the oak into a board and use that instead of plywood.