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In the somewhat frantic run-up getting my little boat ready for the Sea of Cortez, I decided to replace the rudderhead. The old one was corroded pretty badly, and quite sloppy.

Side by side

A previous owner had jerry-rigged the old rudderhead’s bottom pivot with some aluminum bar stock, rivets and a reasonably thought-out turning block for the rudder downhaul.
It’s held together well enough for lake sailing, but I thought that this was one repair I should make before tides and swells have their way with me.
Unfortunately, the new tiller attachment point differs from the old rudderhead, and this makes the tiller pilot’s ram attachment point a few inches too low. The little fluxgate compass in the unit wants to be as level as possible, so I’ll be engineering a small stop for the tiller/rudderhead interface to raise the tiller up to its previous height. I really should make a brand new tiller of laminated woods, but that can wait. I’m certainly not looking forward to worrying about wood finishes on my boat, not one little bit.

The new spreaders came in last week, and while removing the old ones, I noticed that the new spreaders were slightly shorter than the existing ones, so I spent half a morning readjusting the shrouds’ tension.

Finished the solar installation (technically), and will display running and steaming lights tonight to push the battery to its expected deficits. I’ll do this for a couple of days and nights. I reused the rail clamps I’d built out of some leftover Trex, a type of plastic wood, and just propped the panel up against a vertical rail with some scrap wood.


And here’s the finished installation.


The new Standard Horizon Explorer GPS GX1700 VHF radio (there’s a mouthful) should be here later this week, along with a new fuse panel to handle the tiller pilot’s amperage needs.

It seems the temperatures along Mexico’s coast are running 7-10 degrees cooler than Tucson. Nice.



  1. Hey Tom!
    A friend just loaned me a book you should read, if you haven’t already. Two Against Cape Horn by Hal Roth, copyright 1978, ISBN 039303223. Crazy sailiing stuff!
    He has written some other books that she also recommended.
    Happy sailing!!

    • Thanks, Cindy! Cape Horn has taken out a few boats…Hope all is well up there, and say “Hi” to Dave!

  2. Boat projects are lookin good Tom! Now that we’re going to Rocky Point maybe that would be a good place to splash for a blue water test sail. Good talking to you today and we’ll see ya in a month.

    • Must…overcome…fear.

      And heat. See you guys soon!

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