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Thread: Rudder Head Assembly and Rig-Rite Inc

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Chesapeake Bay

    Rudder Head Assembly and Rig-Rite Inc

    Hey all,

    My tiller has a bit of play in it, it always has, and I'm considering trying to fix it. As far as I can tell there's a bit of movement both between the straps that attach the tiller to the rudder head, and between the rudder head and the rudder stock itself. Has anyone dealt with this before? Any idea what the diameter of the rudder stock is? Rig Rite Inc has some cast bronze replacement parts that look promising, anyone have experience with them? Thanks!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    San Francisco
    There are other threads on this topic, but as I have recently completed this process here it is:

    1) There may be slop in the rudderstock to rudder connection, especially if it is original. We replaced the rudderstock. It is 1" diameter bronze. Built a new rudder in the process, but you might not have to. Steering was better, but we still had slop.
    2) Slop between the tiller straps and head: can be fixed by upsizing the through-bolt.
    3) Slop between the tiller head and rudder stock: likely requires a new key, as the keyway is worn, McMaster-Carr sells "oversized" key stock, just slightly larger than spec, worked a charm, cut it yourself with a hacksaw: Oversized 18-8 Stainless Steel Machine Key Stock, 1/4" x 1/4", 12" Long costs $4.50
    4) If the tiller head does not clamp down around the rudderstock tightly, you may get wiggle which I imagine will soon wear your keyway further. Use bronze shim-stock to cut a rectangular shim and wrap it around the rudderstock (leaving a gap for the key). McMaster also sells this, I bought the smallest bit i could: Shim Stock Sheet, 510 Bronze, 6" Wide x 25" Long, 0.0160" Thick, cost me $26. I now have 6"x23" of it left, seems like enough to shim the tiller heads of 12 more ariels/commanders. Happy to snip some off with a scissors and mail it to you.

    i doubt you need a new bronze tiller-head fitting, the old ones are lovely, bronze is soft and might have stretched a bit after 50 years

    A lot of work but its worth it


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