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Old 07-07-2013
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Re: Spade rudders vs blue water passage making

Interesting stuff! Especially for someone with an "old" 1977, Bob Perry designed spade rudder on an amazingly well balanced little boat, the I-28. I have never sailed a boat with a nicer helm. That said, with the boat on the hard I will be dropping the rudder for a cutless bearing replacement. Time to do a shaft inspection, too!! I have already repaired the skin of this boat's rudder. When I got the boat the entire surface of the rudder was spyder cracked. I assumed it had filled with water and frozen. It had been on the hard for several years in New England. The cracks were evenly distributed. I drilled some holes and drained a lot of water. I ground down the cracks, not through the skin, filled them with an epoxy resin and tediously teased into place fg mat, then added a layer of fg mat in epoxy resin over the entire skin. I carefully sanded and faired the entire surface leaving a continuous epoxy/mat layer surface covering.

The stuff that drained out of the rudder the first year was septic. I was going to drill out some large plugs for inspection at that time but decided to see how things looked after a season of coastal sailing. I did inject foam into the holes I had drilled using a long feed tube placing the foam deep in the holes. I used a long 3/8 bit and drilled up from the bottom edge of the rudder as well as some holes up high. I repeated the hole drilling and foam injections for a couple of years and quit after no drainage or apparent "wasted" core showed up. No signs of the original surface cracks have ever appeared. I closed the holes with epoxy paste each time. It has worked so far!

Now I guess it is time for an exploratory dissection since I can take the rudder into my shop and a careful look. Where should I expect to find signs of failure as I inspect the rudder shaft?

Bob, have you ever heard of one of your I-28s loosing a rudder? Any suggestions?

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