In 1961 0r 2 I launched my first ff 550 – fflalanger which is an aboriginal name for flying fox. Every article I read in yachting magazines referred to the really excessive weather helm. I had been sailing a 12 ft dinghy with a swing down rudder. I quickly found out what happened when it was not down completely- uncontrollable & heavy helm. I knew that to fix the problem it needed some of the blade forward of the pivot point. This lead to shifting the shaft to the rear of the blade & angling the shaft forward at the top. I got it right the first time.
During our first ffi-v meeting at Sandringham YC one ff owner had put a vertical spade rudder on his ff & wanted to adopt it as our standard but I was able to argue that my solution was the way to go as we would stay within the ff rules as laid down in the UK at that time. I argued that we had to stay within these rules as one day we or you may travel to compete, this brought on a bit of laughter but has proved to be true.
In all the ff s that I have built the shaft angle has remained the same & is now used around the world.
I built one for John Calvert Jones who went to England & I believe that in the week between racing an English ff appeared on the 2nd week with a balanced rudder. John had a cold moulded ff built in Adelaide- only 3 ever built off this mould.
Bill Shand Australia