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Rudder Drop Anarchy


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My 30-ft boat’s rudder had a very small hole in the trailing edge that leaked rusty water.

I drilled holes in the side and bottom this spring and about 2 pints of water came out.

Before splashing nothing felt wiggly or in any way compromised, but I don’t think this is a good item to take chances with.

How do I know if dropping the rudder and taking it apart is required, or if I’m being premature and unnecessarily dainty about it?

342A6084-FE52-4106-B6EE-5E9AAD5FF04C.jpeg

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The answer is... Nobody knows the state of the metal work inside the rudder.. If you sail where you might drown through loss of rudder, I'd have that thing off immediately...

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55 minutes ago, Gabe_nyc said:

My 30-ft boat’s rudder had a very small hole in the trailing edge that leaked rusty water.

I drilled holes in the side and bottom this spring and about 2 pints of water came out.

Before splashing nothing felt wiggly or in any way compromised, but I don’t think this is a good item to take chances with.

How do I know if dropping the rudder and taking it apart is required, or if I’m being premature and unnecessarily dainty about it?

342A6084-FE52-4106-B6EE-5E9AAD5FF04C.jpeg

Hard to say 

if you go to the boatyard  with your drill and drill a hole in the first ten rudders you see there is a good chance that everyone of them bleeds water 

if your boats duty cycle includes ocean passages you would be wise to  investigate further 

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2 hours ago, slug zitski said:

if you go to the boatyard  with your drill and drill a hole in the first ten rudders you see there is a good chance that everyone of them bleeds water

Thank you. That’s a great idea! 

I will try this later today and will report results back here.

I suspect that no more than 7 in 10 will bleed water, but there really is no substitute for empirical evidence!

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2 hours ago, slug zitski said:

if your boats duty cycle includes ocean passages you would be wise to  investigate further 

No ocean passages or intemperate weather. The worst would be Hell Gate which is .... not a great place to lose a rudder even if only 100 yards from dry land.

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Although many rudders have a bit of water in them, 2 pints seem like a lot. That looks to be a relatively large unsupported spade rudder. Reading between the lines it also seems that your boat will already be on the hard for the season. All this would prompt me to pull it now and investigate further rather than waiting until spring and have something go bad and lose a summer of sailing, or worse. There are many descriptions here and elsewhere of DYI rudder repairs, it appears to be a big job but do-able by a motivated owner. 

 

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Mark out the stock and tangs with some chalk.  You should be able to map these with a metal detector or moisture meter.  Take a small hole saw to the rudder in way of the intersection of a tang(s) with the stock and see the state of the welds.  The chances are that the main point of water ingress is where the stock enters the blade.   If the stock welds are shot or the core is waterlogged I suspect that it will be time to engage a professional.

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You don't need a drill, just a moisture meter. Almost every FRP rudder with a metal stock will be waterlogged within a few years of launch. There is simply no way to keep the water out. The fact that the water coming out is rusty, suggests that mild steel was used for the tangs, unfortunately a common practice with some builders and and time periods. If not going offshore, I might wait till it starts to wiggle before diving into it, even if you rebuild the armature with 316 stainless and reskin, it will again have water in it by year 2 or 3 .

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This guy (Phil) is one of the best in the business.  https://cci.one/site/ottawa/?doing_wp_cron=1634046973.6943280696868896484375

Might be some issues w/border, customs, etc due to C 19.  If I recall, I shipped him my rudder, he stripped it and rebuilt it and it came back as "repaired" or something which got it back to USA with no duty.  

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  • 1 month later...

Finished product looks good, but: I guess you are using the original post and tangs. A bunch of tangs butt welded to the shaft has pretty low torque capacity. They should be triangulated, even better if something can be bonded to the skin, otherwise the tangs are just floating in a pool of soft foam. One of the reasons a carbon post is better, it can be firmly bonded to the skins. 

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Good advice, 

We’re particular about the foam we use. And have evolved over time, 50 years. 
I wouldn’t describe our armatures, as floating in a pool of foam. At fifteen pounds a square, the density would be closer to brick like. 

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