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Owen Clarke Design are highly experienced in the hull and appendage design of yachts requiring twin rudder steering systems with over forty different two rudder designs on the water, the first launched in 1993. We are experts in the custom design of sailboat steering system components and the engineering design of rudders with both composite and metal stocks. Complex twin rudder steering systems including lifting and kick up rudder systems for monohulls and multihulls are a specialty where solutions can be evolved using custom and/or proprietary bearings and parts. We have also towing tank tested almost twenty different twin rudder hull models and run thousands of CFD solutions for this appendage type. We apply this knowledge both on our own new designs but also make it available to other owners and designers.

Credit: JRenedo/

The how and why of twin rudder design is very much mis-understood by many in the sailing world, including designers who do not have a background in Mini Transat, Class 40, IMOCA or Volvo design. We often see yachts that benefit nothing from the more complex and costly twin rudder systems. They follow a trend; marketing without understanding the science. Some yachts only require simple solutions; others more expensive modifications. In some cases, owners have on our advice reverted back to a single rudder to rectify the problems they experienced. As hydro-dynamcists and sailors we fully understand the theory and the practice of flow on foils. Accordingly, we are often called on to fault find and resolve problems on sailboats with twin and single rudders. In the last three years OC have also designed new single rudders for 3 grand prix racing yachts from other leading design offices.

For owners researching a new design; if a twin rudder installation is the right solution for your project then the next question is whether to have a fixed, lifting or kick up system? Historically, steering and rudder failure remains one of the common reasons not to finish a Vendee Globe or trans-oceanic race. OC have always understood this across the range of our designs from the beginning. Kingfisher, our first IMOCA Open 60 had lifting rudders, Longbow the Class 40 illustrated at the top of this page has a kick up solution. The 3D CAD image is one of our IMOCA 60 fixed rudder system designs. All these options have pros and cons but the disadvantages can be mitigated whether you’re racing offshore or passage making in sea ice. For a cruising or racing yacht program, first we listen to you. Then together we can discuss your particular project circumstances and make the best choice. The correct solution is not always immediately evident.

With new designs and consultancy work we apply our sailing and technical experience to advise owners. If the problem is complex and we are not sure of the answers, we will always revert to engineering tools; CFD to refine the understanding of flow and FEA to mitigate against the possibility of failure. OC work with boatyards and steering suppliers such as JEFA, Edson and JP3 on our designs that can be fitted with standard cost-effective systems. Where this is not the best solution OC design custom parts for wheel and tiller steering for both single and twin rudder yachts. Steering, particularly tillers must be integrated with the whole design because of the impact on cockpit ergonomics. Simple is light and cost effective, so a V tiller such as shown would only be the solution if other requirements demand it. We know that because it works on one boat it doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice for another. At least on racing designs we like to start simple and stay simple if possible.

To discuss your particular requirements and request a quote: CONTACT US

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