The Quest for Better Handling

I was recently asked to post some pictures of the modified rudder and stern thruster that I added to Tolly Roger last year. I thought it might make a good addition to the blog.

The Rudder was sent to La Conner  Maritime Services for the modification. They have a template and pattern for these rudders. As you can see in the picture, about 3″ was added to the bottom and the aft section is filled in to give the entire surface somewhere around 25% more area.

The result from this modification is a noticeable improved steering control at slower speeds in forward gear. I do not think that this larger rudder modification makes any difference in reverse.
At the same time the prop was cleaned up and re-pitched to 16″. Both these modifications were done after reading the various posts on the Tolly Forum as well as talking to owners of 26’s.

Next was the Sideshift Stern Thruster.

The Sideshift ST340 was chosen primarily because I wanted to complete  the installation myself. This method of bolting it to the swim grid appealed to me as it seemed less invasive and lowered the overall cost. I’d say it was harder to run the control wires from the 2 locations than to install the actual thruster.

original mounting

The first installation was mounted directly under the swim grid. If you look closely you will see a spacer was installed to lower the unit so that the props are 5″ below the water line.
This position needed to be changed when the new swim step was installed at Oceanaire (as it is about 7″ higher).  The second location is bolted directly through the transom and secured on the inside with a mounting block glassed in.

Second Mounting Location

The results of this modification are simply excellent. I highly recommend it. It makes slow speed moves and docking so much easier.

final installation

The electrical side of the installation was pretty straight forward and presented little problem. I used the house batteries to power the unit and ran a control to each helm station. Luckily, I had an old unused hole in the transom (old transducer wires) to run the cables and vent through. Very easy!

Thruster Control Box

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