3rd Rudder for a Grand Banks

rdders3The third rudder is, to some, like an extra teat! However, there are folks who like cruising along the coast apart from the waterway. For them good sea manners are essential. This is a new and innovative upgrade for your Grand Banks.


rdders2Improving the GB42, 46, 49 Classics’ sea manners is taking a new turn thanks to Chris Willits. By virtue of his efforts his classic GB46 “Sarah” handles much better under autopilot in coastal sea conditions.

The first step was to study existing rudders on three GB’s at Dickerson Harbor in late 2014 – a 1989 GB46, 2004 GB46 and a 2006 GB47. These three had the same area in square feet of rudder size but in three different shapes.

The next step was consulting with a naval architect to arrive at new performance and design parameters.  The final step, installation, resulted in a good fit with the existing steering and autopilot configuration.

rddersChris reports Sarah runs very well under autopilot at se in more varied conditions. Sarah is a tenth or two faster at 1600 rpm and I can assume that the fuel consumption will drop slightly.  The turning radius is shorter and the backing down capability is better – making docking and slow speed turns more effective.

A big thanks to Chris Willits for his efforts to improve his GB46 and I was pleased to have been a part of this improvement.

John Shannahan

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