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Rudder problems on a First32s5
Thanks to every answer on these and other forums. My rudder is OK again.
As suggested, I asked Beneteau (France) and in less than 24 hours I had the drawings on my e-mail box; that’s what I call good service. As Jeff pointed out, the rudder simply “hangs” from the block that joints it to the tiller. It’s still unclear why it did not drop down totally … perhaps it really “likes to be where it is” :-). Obviously it’s all MY fault. When, some weeks ago, I changed the block –something I would recommend to all F32s5 owners, the new design is far better than the old one- I was convinced something keeps the rudder on, so I did not take any special action to prevent it dropping down. I even greased the pole routinely and I did not press it firmly, so … in fact I was sailing with nothing sustaing the rudder!! A couple of hours before the rudder dropped down those few inches, I was finishing a 75 miles race, sailing at +7knots with the genoa -with the spi pole- on the other side of the main (how do you call that kind of sailing? in Spanish it’s called “donkey ears”) and we passed near some skulls … mmm … 30 meters? Not more. Not a good time to lose the rudder!! I’m a lucky man!
Well, once verified that nothing was broken, it was time to put the rudder in it’s place. At first we thought hauling the boat … mmm … “by no means can you thing of a rudder being light” and obviously outside water it would be worse. How about a diving friend pushing it up? … mmm … not easy. And then the simplest and best idea. Since the rudder is still tied up with those ropes used to be sure we did not lose it completely, why not to pull it up? Using two winches and moving the pole clock and anti-clock wise again and again, slowly again the winches, slowly again moving the pole, … and finally it begin to come up. In short, a less than 20 min. work … but you need to know how it works before attempting to do anything.
Now the block is firmly pressed and it will not move anymore.
In the last few months I have repaired the mast –including aluminum weld, not an easy thing- changed a toe rail – the hell of a job, man!!!!- and almost lost the rudder. I hope my annual problems quota is over … but I will continue to keep vigilant, just in case :-)