Skat Rudder & Centerboard Hardware
by Tidmarsh Major

In building and outfitting Skat, I used brass and bronze hardware for rigging, mostly for a traditional look, but also for ease of machining parts that I chose to build rather than buy.  The plans call for a one inch thick rudder head, and bronze pintles and gudgeons in that size are more expensive than what I believed appropriate for a relatively cheap boat, so as with the blocks, I decided to build my own rudder hardware.

For pintles and gudgeons, I based my design on an illustation in H.H. Payson's Build the New Instant Boats.  Payson shows two L-shaped pintles on the rudder and transom connected by a brass rod. I simplified the design some by making a single C-shaped pintle for the rudder and for the transom. I used 1/8" flat brass and 1/4" brass rod. 

First, I cut two 1-inch wide strips of brass 12 inches long, and drew a semicircle at each end.

Then I cut both blanks at the same time using a jigsaw, a metal cutting blade, and lots of cutting oil. I smoothed the cut ends with a file and more cutting oil

Then I took the blanks, drilled holes for the pintle at top and bottom and 4 through-bolts to mount on the transom and 4 countersunk woodscrews for the rudder, and bent them side-by side in a vise so that they would align when mounted on transom and rudder. I wanted the rudder gudgeon to sit on top of the transom gudgeon so that the weight of the rudder would be supported by both ends of the gudgeon. I considered bending the rudder gudgeon to fit inside the transom gudgeon so that it would not bounce up and down, but I thought that such an arrangement would be harder to mount.

Next, I cut a pintle and pivot pins for the centerboard, tiller, and kick-up rudder from 1/4" brass rod. I cut threads on the pivot pins for 1/4" jam nuts. I drilled a small hole at the bottom of the pintle for a hitch pin to keep the pintle from coming loose while sailing (and sinking, leaving me rudderless) and also to keep the rudder from bouncing up and down.

Next, I assembled the pintles and gudgeons (you can see the hitch pin installed).

Finally, I mounted the gudgeons to the transom using 1/4" bolts and to the centerborad using #12 wood screws. You can just see in the photograph the edge of a small disk of PTFE I sandwiched between the kick-up rudder and rudder head to allow for smoother raising and lowering of the rudder.

I also had to come up with a system for raising lowering the centerboard. My first idea was to set a sheave in the aft edge of the centerboard case cover and mount another on the foreward starboard corner of the cover. I could then run a line up from the centerboards, over the aft sheave, around the forward sheave, and back to a cleat on the aft starboard edge of the centerboard case.

I decided that such a system was overly complicated, and instead I just drilled a couple of holes through the centerboard for a pin to hold it completely up and halfway down. I attached a lanyard with a monkey's fist at the end to the aft edge of the centerboard for raising and lowering. I bent a loop in a piece of 1/4" brass rod for the holding pin, and I attached it to the centerboard case cover at the sheave for the original sheave.

If you look closely, you can also see that I have a lining of 3/16" HDPE inside the centerboard case. The idea was to lower firction on the board when raising and lowering the board as with the rudder and to minimize wear on the inside of the centoerboard case (the centerboard is much easier to paint than the inside of the case). I cut two pieces to fit inside the case and drilled a hole through them for the centerboard pin, which also holds the linings in place.

And last, I have added a garboard drain just aft of the centerboard case to keep water from collecting in the boat while on the trailer and to allow hosing out and cleaning the cockpit. Although it is not exactly either centerboard or rudder hardware, it is in the general vicinity of the centerboard case, so I;ve included it here. I used a 2" Forstner bit to countersink the flange on the plug, and then drilled the rest of the wat through the hull with a 1" paddle bit. I painted the inside of the hole, and then mounted the drain with #8 screws and lots of adhesive caulk for bedding compound.

Tidmarsh Major
Tuscaloosa, Ala.