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  #1  
Old 07-15-2002
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Rudder problems on a First32s5

I just discovered that the rudder pole on my Beneteau First32s5 went down for about 3cm. In its normal position, the upper part of the pole is aligned with the upper part of an aluminium block that joins it to the tiller, but now it is not.

At first, I thought that the pole was kept in
place using some mechanism just below the aluminium block, but it seems there is nothing there, just a teflon tube (in fact I would say a tube plus a whaser in a single piece) that keeps the pole from moving horizontally. The pole then goes down to a fiber plastic tube and crosses the hull and I can not see any part of the tube where something can be used to keep the pole. So it seems that the pole is kept by something outside the hull.

I take my boat off every year and I don''t remember
anything outside ... but perhaps I did not notice
it because I was not looking for it.

So, does anyone know what and where keeps the
pole+rudder from falling down?

The rudder moves softly, so it does not seem to be
anything broken !!, does anyone have any idea
about what went wrong?

Is there any way to get the technical drawings of
the boat where any single part can be seen?

Thanks

Enric
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Old 07-15-2002
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Rudder problems on a First32s5

I don''t recall the rudder post detail on the Beneteau 32s5 but I believe that you have a simple post hung rudder. These are usually suspended by a thrust block that is through bolted through the rudder post above the rudder bearings (or bushing as in your case). If the post has dropped I would strongly advise against using the boat as the rudder can drop out entirely and then you will need a new rudder.

I suggest that you contact Beneteau directly at www.BeneteauUSA.com My experience with Beneteau is that they have a very knowledgeable service department and that they return phone calls and email promptly and should be able to get you sorted out. It will probably mean hauling the boat out of the water to make the repair.

Jeff
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Rudder problems on a First32s5

Jeff,
thanks for your answer.
I''m not sure I understand it correctly ... because it seems unbelivable :-)
The tiller joins the pole rudder using an aluminium block that presses firmly the pole, but it seems too weak as a system to keep the whole pole+rudder.
It''s clear that probably the rudder has a neutral buoyancy (?) because it should be full of foam or something light, so perhaps the power needed to keep it is relatively small.
What makes me crazy about it is ... I took the tiller plus the aluminium block off and the rudder does not fall anymore. Obviously I attached it with some ropes (a very nice textil work I would say :-) ) to prevent loosing it ... but in fact it has not moved a single inch, even after being towed (with my engine on) for more than 60 miles (I did not want to let my boat on an inaccesible mooring and managed to come back home for repair).
So, I''m really confused. If you are right (and it seems very real) ... why does not fall any more?
All the signs show you are right: the rudder moves softly, there is no bolts visible anywhere ... and it will be a very esay repair: just pull the rudder up and fasten the aluminium block firmly, but I was trying to be sure about it.

Thanks again.

Enric
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Old 07-15-2002
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Rudder problems on a First32s5

I am not sure why the rudder has not slid any further but rudders are generally not neutral bouyancy. Typically they contain a pretty heavy weldment that transfers the loads from the rudder post to the blade. I have lifted rudders into place using a set of hose clamps around the rudder posts, blocks of wood and a small lever but it was a slow step by step process. Rudders are not light by any stretch of the imagination.

Jeff
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Rudder problems on a First32s5

It''s not uncommon for rudders to be positively buoyant. As one example, Evans Starzinger is presently replacing the rudder on his 47'' Van de Stadt aluminum cutter and, when he pulled the old rudder off, it would have floated away except for the lines attached to it.

Enric, you may luckily be experiencing a rudder that wants to stay where it is for the moment...but not when the wrong wave comes along. <g>

Jack
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Old 07-21-2002
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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 :-)

Enric
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Old 07-21-2002
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Rudder problems on a First32s5

I am delighted that you were able to self-rescue the rudder without hauling. One of the neat things that I actually enjoy about sailing is finding ingenious ways to make repairs with the limited tools and limited access that one has on board.

Best wishes for a season filled with good sailing and little need for ingenuity. 8^)

Regards
Jeff
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