Lead bulb on Rudder

It may be useful to have a considerable weight at the bottom of the rudder, in order to balance the boat. This is particularly useful in a double-diagonal hull, where it allows the main bulb to be pushed forward into a position that allows a deeper keel. The weight would be in the shape of a bulb, but smaller. It would be entirely within the box, and therefore not subject to the 6mm limitation on width. However, I am concerned about rule c.3, “During an event, ballast shall not be changed, moved or rotated relative to the hull”. Any comments?

I think it would be very interesting to see the real life results of somebody attempting this.
At first thought, I am thinking the extra drag would not be worth it.
But I have read many posts with pitch pole issues on footys.

Hi Walt,

Putting weight in the rudder is good idea, I did the same to help LWL balance under sailing conditions on one of my IACC 120’s and getting as much weight as low as possible helps righting moment …which is always good thing.

Is having a bulb on the keel or rudder really nessacary for a footy ? I can imagine you would have bigger benefit with less drag if you could iintergrate the weight inside either of the foil profiles. (no bulb at all)

Changing keel & rudder positioning will no doubt affect the boats helm balance so you would need to be careful there.

Finally is changing a rudder considered under footy rules, as changing ballast ?

Cheers Alan

I am not a Footy owner, but I was a qualified sailing judge for many years. So remember, my opinion has no status, but just my thoughts from reading the documents and how I would rule if I were at a Footy regatta and someone made a protest on this issue.

Reading the class rules and the ERS, my opinion is that this proposal is quite clearly in contravention to the class rules.

The class rules say ‘open’ unless specifically forbidden. Class rule C3 states that moving ballast is forbidden.

The ERS distinguishes between ballast and corrector weights, and even recognizes that ballast may be in the rudder. But the class rule over-rides ERS as it is directly mentioned.


Hi Walt - I agree with John in that a ballasted rudder is out because it is “…rotated relative to the hull.” Putting a small bulb on a fixed skeg in front of the rudder would be legal but you would lose the balance aspect and have to go with a larger barn door type rudder to compensate. Drag would go up but the weight distribution might solve some other problems.

Curiosity speaking here: What if you made the entire rudder out of lead? i.e. Just make a “heavy” rudder? Would it still be considered ballast?

A big thank you for all the thougtful replies, and suggestions for work-arounds. My intent had been to put a 3-ounce bulb on the rudder of the Keel-Forwrd Footy, which would be an invitation to protests. A solid lead rudder could add the desired weight, but not deep enough to be helpful. So now I go charging off (slowly) in a different direction.