Mutineer 15
Class Association
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The Rudder Assembly Project

Many rudder assemblies have been lost to the bottom of lakes, rivers and sounds over the years.  The original Chrysler "Safety Catch" is pretty much useless.  If you currently depend on this safety catch, we recommend you rig a line from your boat to the rudderhead.

If you have lost your rudder assembly to Davy Jones' Locker, you basically have 4 choices:

1. Purchase a Nickels rudder assembly.

2. Purchase an Ida Sailor rudder assembly.

3. Buy an entire boat for the rudder assembly.

4. Build your own rudder assembly. 

The pros/cons and costs of each choice are detailed in the links to the right. 

The choice you make will be influenced by how you sail.  For example, if you intend to participate in a Mutineer National Championship, you may want to purchase a Nickels rudder assembly with a finished rudder.

Ultimately the choice is up to you.  You may choose to build your own resulting in significant savings over a new Nickels or Ida Sailor rudder assembly.  Or you may be lucky and find an old boat that still has the rudder assembly. 

A bit of Rudder Assembly History

The original Chrysler rudderhead was made of mahogany.

The picture above is an original Chrysler rudder assembly that was in service over 37 years! 


A rudder assembly that was fashioned after the original.  Can you identify the owners of those legs?


Original Chrysler rudder assembly.

Chrysler ramped up production with cast aluminum gudgeons and rudder heads some time in late 1972 or early 1973.  The cast rudderheads were weak in high stress areas resulting in stress cracks and failure.  Cast aluminum cannot be welded, so a failure results in a new rudderhead.  The gudgeons were subject to wear resulting in holes almost twice the size of the pintles.
TMI continued with the Chrysler rudder assembly.

Wellcraft started production with the same Chrysler cast aluminum rudder assembly.  But in 1983 they designed a new rudder assembly.  They switched to aluminum plates for the rudder cheeks.  The gudgeons were moved to the rudderhead and the pintles to the transom.  Starwind included a laminated wood tiller that really looked good.

Gloucester Yachts continued using the Wellcraft rudder assembly design although the tiller was upgraded.  These same rudder assemblies were used on Gloucester and Cardinal Buccaneers although the laminated tiller was longer.

Gloucester Mutineer Rudder Assembly

Nickels moved the gudgeons back to the transom and pintles back to the rudderhead and that is the last change.

Nickels rudder assembly mounted on a Chrysler Mutineer.

Enthusiasts have used different materials to fabricate rudders and rudder heads.  Here is an example of a rudder made from white oak.

What makes this rudder interesting is that it is actually two boards - trailing edge 2 1/2", leading edge 7 1/2" held together with 4 screws in the trailing edge and I assume glue.