I've got a few questions for those with any insights, but let me explain the situation: When I first pulled the boat out of the water this year, I found it odd that the leaky/damaged spots on my rudder were exactly symmetric on the port/stbd side - see for yourself:
When I started cutting into it (with an oscillating tool) I was surprised to find stainless steel nuts and bolts under the damaged weeping areas!! It is not in the foam-cored portion, but at the thick lower and leading edge of the rudder:
So my thought is this - this hardware is not original, but some previous owner made some sort of poor make-shift repair with the hardware. Then over time, the bolts worked cracks into the rudder due to differing rates of thermal expansion between the epoxy (or vinylester?) and the stainless.
1. Is my assumption above correct that this is a poorly executed repair and not original?
2. Is it okay to cut out and remove the hardware, or does it serve a valid purpose?
3. How best to repair this area? My inclination is to go and clean it out, fill it with epoxy thickened with colloidal silica and put a layer of glass and epoxy over both areas for strength. Does that sound about right?
Thanks all, and happy new year!