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Hunter 23.5 Rudder Downhaul Auto Release System

Discussion in 'Smaller Boats' started by evan709, Oct 15, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. evan709


    Joined Sep 14, 2015
    19 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 23.5
    US Montross
    Just finished a good season of sailing and now starting off-season projects. My rudder is heavy and sinks below the surface when set free, but doesn't go all the way down. My uphaul/downhaul lines were not routed correctly so I couldn't get the rudder all the way down (replacing line and routing properly now). I put up with some extra pressure on the rudder and did okay but now I want a good solution.

    The 23.5 has a horn cleat on the bottom of the tiller to tie off the uphaul/downhaul line. I don't want to tie it off in the down position because of the risk of damage if I hit something in shallow water. I've seen other threads about an auto-release cam cleat. (Here's a link to one. Here's a link to a modification on the H260 using the auto-release cam cleat.) I found one advertised with good diagrams on how it works and how to mount it, even on the bottom side of the tiller. (Here's a link to that.) If you mount it on the bottom, you need a band of elastic on the bow side of the cleat to keep the line horizontal so the cleat can do it's job if needed. Only other auto release cam cleat I could find was this one at West Marine.

    Looking to see if anyone has come up with a better solution than this for the 23.5. Also interested to hear from anyone who's used this solution with tips for installation or operation.

    Attached a picture of my rudder. Plenty of other posts asking about how to raise it all the way out of the water. PO put a hole through the top of the rudder. I ran some paracord from that to the rudder plates. Easy to pull all the way up now.

    Also attached a picture of my tiller. PO had an auto helm system which is why I think there's two sets of holes on the bottom side. Expecting I can use one of these for the auto-release cleat.


    Attached Files:

  2. rade0041


    Joined Mar 23, 2016
    38 posts, 10 likes
    Hunter 26
    US MN
    This is what I did with my H26. I put the auto release cleat on the side and that line goes through the slot and attaches where the downhaul attaches to the rudder. It works ok. I raise and lower the rudder a lot and it is not too difficult once you get used to it. 20171015_172452.jpg

  3. isaksp00


    Joined Apr 27, 2010
    892 posts, 48 likes
    Hunter 23
    US Lake Wallenpaupack
    My H23 has a cam style cleat (with the serrated jaws) that holds the downhaul line tight, mounted to the top of the aluminum rudder head. I did once touch a rock with the rudder down, while motoring at maybe 4 or 5 knots. The downhaul line pulled through the cam jaws, stripping the outer line covering from the core, in effect releasing it. This may be suitable for the 23.5 as well, as long as you use braided line.

  4. evan709


    Joined Sep 14, 2015
    19 posts, 0 likes
    Hunter 23.5
    US Montross
    Thanks for everyone's input. I went ahead and installed the auto release cam cleat as best I could to fit my boat. Pictures attached. My boat is a long distance from my workshop so I need to measure everything first, then take it home to work on. I put blue masking tape on the tiller so I could mark all the spots. (I had to do this twice because the first time I didn't have the cam cleat opened so I ended up putting it too close to the rudder in a spot where it can't open.) I put a fairlead in front of the cam cleat and another behind. This insures the line will run as required to and from the cam cleat. I had to replace the rudder uphaul line since this setup requires more line than the old horn cleat setup. Haven't had the opportunity to use it in the water yet, but I already feel more comfortable with this setup.

    Attached Files:

  5. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    6,355 posts, 485 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    cannot tell if the line is hitting any metal coming out from the rudder head assembly. Let me know if it isn't. You want to avoid any chafing. Thanks

  6. Chuck C.

    Chuck C.

    Joined May 17, 2017
    25 posts, 2 likes
    Hunter H260
    CA Prince George
    I realize you have finished the mod. but did you consider installing a sheer pin instead of the auto cam? Going to be doing some work on my 260 rudder this spring thinking about tie down options. Does anyone else have experience with using plasitic sheer pins? Do they sheer when they're supposed to?

  7. GGordonWoody


    Joined Jun 28, 2016
    316 posts, 63 likes
    Hunter 23.5
    US Paupack, PA
    We torque down the wing nut with a dog-legged clencher. Never confuse that with a dog-toothed clincher...

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017