How to Use a Becker Rudder

by Alexis Writing

The importance of a rudder cannot be understated; although relatively small, these crucial machines are responsible for the movements of ships through treacherous waters, guiding that would be impossibly perilous without accurate steering. Becker rudders are known for being relatively easy to maneuver while allowing for the lowest possible fuel consumption; they are also durable in ice, have the smallest size of steering gear and offer their ship captains the highest securing against flexural vibration. As with any rudder, however, the Becker rudder cannot be used safely without prior knowledge of how best to operate it.

Step 1

Keep angles below 35 degrees when operating at full speed, or accelerating to the point of full speed, for maximum lateral force. At this point the flap of the trailing edge of the main rudder blade should be at about 70 degrees from admidships, twice that of the main rudder blades. These angles allow you to establish effective water flow on the rudder’s suction side. Angles greater than 35 degrees result in a lack of side force on the ship, with the additional inconvenience of an added turbulent water stream.

Step 2

Use angles of 45 degrees or greater when maneuvering a Becker rudder on a ship while still in a harbor during the process of berthing or unberthing. At this speed and under this rudder guidance, the flap angles should be at 90 degrees or greater; as at slower speeds this allows for the Becker rudder to be used as a stern thruster, which aids in the ship’s maneuverability in tighter spaces, such as a harbor.

Step 3

Use angles of 10 degrees or less (20 degrees for the flap) when running astern. While using larger angles should not prove too dangerous with the Becker rudder system in these conditions, the smaller angles will allow for the greatest water flow to the propeller. Greater angles could potentially negatively affect the water flow to the propeller system.

Step 4

Use minimum ahead propeller pitch for maximum water flow to the rudder. This pitch speed will enable a proper amount of water to flow around the rudder blade, guaranteeing the safety of the rudder system.

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