Rudder Crack - help! - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-10-2007
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Rudder Crack - help!

Upon launching our boat this spring, we noticed a crack that has worked it way almost completly through our rudder on our 1986 Jeanneau Tonic 23 at the point of the bolts. The rudder is made of laminated wood (marine plywood??) It does not appear to be repairable, nor is it usable in this condition. This boat has been out of production for YEARS and they have a left-over rudder at the manufacturer in FRANCE for about $2700. Needless to say, we are looking for a less expensive option, preferably of a material other than wood - but are looking for suggestions.

We would consider making a rudder if complete instructions were to be had, or if anyone knows of a reasonable manufacturer. We live in Pittsburgh, PA.
Thanks you in advance!
D&L
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$2,700 is a rip off. These boats sell for $5-6,000. Can you post a pic of the rudder?

Last edited by Sabre66; 05-10-2007 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 05-10-2007
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The only real rudder supplier in the US appears to be Foss Foam and frankly, unless they have original rudders in stock (not likely for a wooden rudder built in France) I wouldn't gamble on them. I've heard very mixed reviews.

Wood is fairly simple to repair or replace, the question is how is the rudder affixed to the boat? Pintles? Or a rudder post? "Flat" profile, or a foil shape?
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Why can't you repair the wooden rudder using epoxy???
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I have a photo but I can't figure out how to add it to this post. (Sorry, new to this.) It is a foil design and is attached by two pins, one at the top and one near the bottom of the stern. The crack is at the bottom bolt point where it attaches to the stern pin and is perpendicular to the length, almost all the way across. The bolt plate hid most of the crack.

We like the idea of a repair but didn't realize epoxy would be strong enough. Would you suggest placing bolts above and below the crack or maybe a metal plate or something to reinforce or will layers of epoxy be enough?

We appreciate the information from such experienced sailors/boaters, which we are NOT.
D & L
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If you can post the photo to Flickr.com and then put a link to it here... it would help alot. Without seeing the actual damage... it is hard to say whether epoxy or epoxy and bolts will be enough to fix the problem.
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Old 05-10-2007
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Take the rudder off the boat. Take all the fittings off the rudder. I am assuming that you told us that the crack runs horizontally across the rudder.

Draw a straight line across the rudder, on top of the crack and saw it neatly in half. Do not sand the cut smooth. Now get some 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch diameter HARDWOOD dowels about 3 inches long - you want them to be about a third of the thickness of your rudder. (You might have to use smaller diameters as you get toward the back).

Drill STRAIGHT holes 1 1/2 inches deep, a tiny little bit - like 1/32 of an inch - bigger than the width of your dowels vertically into one half of the rudder. Shave down some pencils or something similar, and shove them into the holes that you just drilled. They need to stick out a little bit - about 1/16 of an inch.

Now CAREFULLY butt the two pieces of your rudder up together, so that your pencils mark the spots on the other half of your rudder where you need to drill corresponding holes. Take the pencils out and again drill STRAIGHT holes about 1 3/4 inches deep. Fill the holes in both pieces of the rudder with epoxy and cover both raw edges of the saw cut with a fair amount of epoxy.

Shove the dowels into the holes in one side of the rudder, and then put the other half of the rudder on top of them and push (or hammer if necessary) until they meet and your rudder is in one piece again.

Now clamp it with LOTS of clamps, putting something thick and perfectly straight in between the jaws of the clamps and the rudder so that the rudder ends up perfectly straight vertically. Now take some rope, and wrap it TIGHTLY around the rudder to hold the top and the bottom of the rudder together. Don't squeeze ALL of the epoxy out of the joint, leave a little bit in there - it is stronger than the wood.

When you are done, fill in any dings or holes with epoxy mixed with sawdust - should be the same consistency as LePage's Plastic Wood, sand it smooth, coat it with 7 or 8 coats of epoxy sealer (S1 low viscosity is very good for this) put the fittings back on, put it on the boat and go sailing.

Last edited by Sailormann; 05-10-2007 at 10:06 PM.
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Looking at info on the jeanneau owners site, which it appears you have listed yourself as an owner there, the pics I can find of a tonic, make it appear as it it is a typical gudgen pintle attachment. In which case, making a new rudder out of wood would be pretty simple having made a rudder or two or three in the past. Granted not that big, most were for 8-12' boats, but step-dad built a 21' boat and that rudder was not any harder than my smaller boats rudders other than size.

You could use marine plywood encased in fiberglass, or a solid Mahagany rudder makes a nice look too. Altho that takes a bit of gluing peices together.

You might also post a message on the owners forum and see if by some chance someone has an extra they can sell or ship you. Being as 12-14 folks here in the US are listed, emailing some of those folks might be a good idea also.

The owner operator Malcolm, helped one other member whom posts here and on there with a rudder replacement, when he could not get any info out of Jeanneau. I think he knows what strings to pull. But the money they are asking for, seems a bit high!

marty
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Old 05-11-2007
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This is how you post pics.http://www.sailnet.com/forums/genera...-pictures.html
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If the rudder is split horizontally, sailormann's repair technique isn't too bad... but I would laminate a layer or two of glass over the repaired area of the rudder to reinforce it...and to help keep water from getting into the original damaged area.
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