Improving Baldrick

When I first envisioned Baldrick it was as a terminal trawler with a wheelhouse. I had spend many years cruising around Tasman Bay and the Marlborough Sounds in our thirty foot keeler. I was very used to going everywhere at five knots, in fact as a cruising artist I preferred it. When it came to deciding where the helm should be I decided it should be in the wheelhouse.

After a year or so cruising around I realised that I really missed being out in the cockpit watching everything going past. The problem I found was that if I left the helm for more than a minute or so Baldrick gradually drifted off course. The obvious solution was a second steering position in the cockpit.

Having dual controls was too complex and expensive, and not suitable for a small craft less than 20 foot long. I thought about a tiller pilot, and this could have worked. Not too expensive and could be remotely operated anywhere in the boat. Not too complicated to install although it would need to have power brought to it. It would also need to be disconnected and brought inside out of the weather.

The final solution I settled on was to make and install an auxillary rudder. This cost almost nothing as I had all the materials to hand. I did have to buy a set of rudder pintles but that was all. Now I can stand or sit in the cockpit with the motor running in gear, fixed to steer ahead, and instead steer the boat with the auxillary rudder.

It also has the advantage that when docking, putting the motor out of gear, i can still steer the boat alongside the dock, and being in the cockpit can grab the bollards with a boat hook. Very satisfactory.

Of course, now winter is here and the boat is laid up for the next few months. Never mind, we can look forward to an even better season next summer with an improved Baldrick, the “Artist’s” boat.