Something like a foil - the Bill Board

I have read many articles about creating foils. I have also spent many happy hours with plane, rasp, templates, and sander trying to create something that resembles one. After all of those fun filled hours, I gave up. Yeah I tend to sharpen the leading and trailing edges of my boards and they work fine in my PDRacer. But I have always yearned for that something that might give me the speed edge I might need to become the world PDRacer speed champion.

Then it came to me. I am a Puddle Ducker at heart. "Sawdust and Spray". I love that line. So on my way back from the First Midsouth Puddle Duck Championship race I came up with the perfect answer, and here it is.

pieces for the rudder

Since all good duckers have lots of 1/4 inch plywood around the basic material had to be plywood. I started by cutting 2 pieces 12" by 48" and 2 pieces 4 inches by 46 1/2". The reason for the two smaller pieces to be shorter will be discussed later. Here is what that looks like.

close up of pieces

After cutting out the pieces I was going to glue them together with Titebond 2 glue which I tend to use most of the time. I grabbed the bottle and it was empty. What to do? What else. Grab the PL. So I stacked the two small pieces together with ample glue between them and placed them in the middle of one of the larger pieces.

glue pieces together

And then added more glue and the other large piece to form an 'H' and clamped them together.

clamp on parts gluing together

spring clamps holding the rudder

Then I applied a generous bead of PL down each of the open edges and applied lots of clamps.

looking at the end of the rudder

I allowed this to dry overnight and removed the clamps.

testing the weight of the rudder

Does it look like a foil? Probably not. The next question I had was "How strong would it be". Here is a picture of the board with 65 pounds setting on it.

You will notice that it is slightly deflected. I later put 105 pounds on it (my wife wouldn't let me take a picture) and it did not bend much more, nor was there any sounds that would indicate cracking. From that I determined that it would be more than up to the task of rudder or lee board.

cleaning up the edge with circular saw

Because I did not do an excellent job of cutting the boards out originally I decided to trim the edges a little. I clamped a board on and ran a saw down the edge.

I really included this picture to show off my fancy heavy duty skill saw.

rudder looking better

Then I spent a couple of quality minutes with my belt sander and came away with edges that looked like this.

even better looking rudder

Sorry for the quality but my camera doesn't focus well this close. So I painted the edge to see if it would show up better.

Again not a foil but for a total build time of less than an hour, less glue dry time, I have a very strong, light weight board. My scale said it weight 5 pounds. I suppose that is somewhat less than a 1 x 12 and a lot less work to shape.

But what about the ends?

My original intent was to trim some 1 by material to plug the ends. That is why I cut the inner pieces 3/4 inch short on each end. Now I am not sure about that. More to come.

Won't it Float?

Yes, so let's add weight. I think I am going to plug the end with PL. I know you can't make a smooth surface with that so maybe I will slap another piece of 1/4 ply over the bottom and shape it. Probably not. I will just fill the end with PL and call it a day. For weight I am going to pour sand in the top until I get the balance I want and top that with more PL or maybe some spray foam and then PL. I suppose you could pour just about anything in there.

Now for the fun part. What about water ballast. How many PDRacers can boast of having a water ballasted board. Not many I should guess. Unfortunately if I were going to do that I would have had to coat the inside with epoxy or other sealer. I was in a hurry to try this so I didn't do that. I will for my finished product and will probably fill the end with thickened epoxy also.

How will you attach it?

Since the center is solid I don't see any problem with drilling through it and using a bolt for a pivot on a lee board or kick-up rudder. Since I want a true dagger board for my new PDRacer I will make my next unit with a handle added to the center pieces and make them longer. Also making them longer and using them as an attach point for a fixed rudder would work very well. I think you could bolt pintles to the sides and it would be very sturdy.

In closing

If this doesn't make you just want to run to the shop and start sawing away I can't imagine what will. To my mind this is the perfect fit for the PDRacer. I would welcome your thoughts and comments.

"Sawdust and Spray"