For 33 years, the leeboards and rudder aboard the sailing charter Orion have done an excellent job. With a bit of maintenance they might even make it to 40 years. Nevertheless, skipper Wouter Egas has decided to replace them completely.

Tough job at the sailing ship

Maintenance jobs like these tend to take longer than anticipated; on the portside board some wood needs to be replaced, and both leeboards need repairs on the steel fittings. All in all this is a job that would take at least a month. And since Orion will keep sailing throughout the winter, without rudder or leeboards this would be impossible.

A faster ship

The new leeboards will be wider and have a rounder profile to increase lift and enable the Orion to sail faster when close-hauled. The new rudder will be more rigid and its profile will be improved as well, for more speed and faster steering.


The pieces will be made from afzelia wood by Piet Blaauw shipwrights in Stavoren. Afzelia is a dense, red wood with very little shrinkage; no less than three cubic metres will be needed for the whole job, to be finished next spring.


The video shows the wood being sawn from a trunk that is at least 125 years old, with a diameter of more than 1 metre.

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