Rudder Kicked Up

Recently my wife and I got caught in unexpected high winds (?25-30 Knots). This is more than we like. We did our usual drill: she used the jib to keep the boat going forward; I used a combination of easing the main and pinching up to avoid too much heeling. With all our sail controls tight to flatten the main, we were making good (and we thought safe) progress homeward. Suddenly I was unable to steer and was blown over. After recovering from the blow-down/capsize/swamping, I found the rudder had kicked up.

Previously I have just used the wing nut on the rudder pivot to keep the rudder down. Flying Scot sells a shear pin which can be inserted into a hole drilled through the rudder and rudder head. The dis-advantage of this is that it makes it hard to raise the rudder in shallow water or when the boat is docked.

I know there is a rudder lift kit which uses shock cord to lower the rudder. Is there enough downward force in this rig to keep the rudder down in high-wind conditions (including when the the boat is on plane?)

Comments from high-wind sailors would be terrific.

Frank K.

Thanks so much for your advice. I do like to keep the rudder blade up when the boat is on the dock so that there is less stress on the whole tiller-to-rudder mechanism. When you are not sailing, how do you go about de-tensioning the bungee? How tight do you keep the wing nut on the rudder pivot bolt? Does all the resistance to kick-up come from the shock cord or does friction from the wing nut still help to keep the blade down and working?

Thanks again.

Thanks to you both for advice. It sounds like the this kit is the way to go.

Frank K.