Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!
Hmm, good points to think on - I had assumed it was a an aftermarket repair due to the fact that the "recesses" the bolts are in are roughly and irregularly shaped and a different color than the surrounding material. The basic structure is white while the area over the bolts is a gray-ish blackish color.
So, maybe the gray material is a previous owner's repair over the original hardware.
I suspect you all are right and it might be best to leave the hardware in place - I'll just put a lot of effort into making it very, very clean to ensure a good solid bond.
I was thinking of cutting in deeper to see what, if anything, the hardware is attached to, but now I think I'll skip that seeing as it may just weaken the rudder.
As always, thank you for your help!
I'll post final pictures when the repair is complete.