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ranes 10-21-2008 04:06 PM

Rudder Overhaul
I had my rudder shat fail this weekend on the bay. The shaft failed right at the top of the rudder ( typical failure spot from exposure to the elements). I was able to retrieve the rudder (well Tow Boat US passed it on the way in). The shaft is steel pipe. I need to build or have this one re-built. Does anyone have any sources in the Annapolis area for this kind of work. If anyone has built a rudder assembly please let me know how I can go about doing it. The Islander 37MS is way out of production and Foss wants 2K to 4K to mold a replacement. I am looking for options. Dreamcatcher is dry, I can take all winter if needed to solve this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

JHJensen 10-21-2008 04:54 PM

Try talking to Tommy at:
Tommy Solomon
P.O. Box 1177
Edgewater, Md. 21037
Tommy at

Read his projects section and you will get a good feel for him also give him a call.

I have heard nothing but good things about him. I also like his ethics.

JHJensen 10-21-2008 05:09 PM

Also look at this thread on Sailnet... good for info and if you are skilled enough some good matter what you do you want to do a complete repair and in the process correct any other issues with your steering.. look at the whole system not just the rudder blade as your boat is older there may be other things in the wings waiting to happen.

www dot sailnet dot com/forums/gear-maintenance/11723-building-rudder-newport-30-a.html

JHJensen 10-21-2008 05:09 PM

Here is the link... I think I am legal now.

ranes 10-27-2008 02:44 PM

Thank you
Thanks for the advice I will look him up. I did read how to lay up a rudder and I may try this. I found a good source for rudder shafts.

121Guy 10-27-2008 03:30 PM

Rudder Option
Hi Ranes,

Forgive the waste of time if you already did this but....when you talked to Foss did you give them dimensions on the rudder? Shaft diameter length and thickness of blade etc? Although your rudder may be out of production perhaps they may have a production rudder available that is close that may only need slight modifications to make work. I know of a guy that had a rudder fail on his 34 foot production boat and the maker wanted 4K for a replacement. What he did was but a Hunter 37.5 rudder from Foss and as the rudder post was the right diameter and orientation, he modified the blade profile to match his old one.

Good luck!

121 Guy

brak 12-16-2008 05:20 PM


Originally Posted by JHJensen (Post 388077)
Try talking to Tommy at:
Tommy Solomon
P.O. Box 1177
Edgewater, Md. 21037
Tommy at

Read his projects section and you will get a good feel for him also give him a call.

I have heard nothing but good things about him. I also like his ethics.

I just had him do a project on my boat. I also selected him based on all the raving reviews on his site and presumably high ethics. Unfortunately, the work was performed poorly, he ended up redoing the job. However he is charging me twice (for the initial poor work and for the repair). The final result is still marginal. I also certainly did not appreciate working with him as a professional. He has a short temper, extremely difficult to communicate with, does not listen to the customer, is not particularly honest and in general is an archetypal bad contractor. I will certainly not retain his services again. YMMV.

For all those interested, I do plan to post our email communication as well as pictures of his work to a web site, when I get the time, to provide some background.

sailingdog 12-16-2008 05:25 PM

Always good to hear both sides about a vendor.

hellosailor 12-16-2008 05:30 PM

My friend's rudder failed and Foss (then still in Florida) offered to modify a similar stock rudder to replace it.
Extensive delays, missed dates, phone calls unanswered, AND the rudder they shipped did not match the specified dimensions, so it had to go back to them and the whole cycle started again.
I have no idea if Foss relocated to CA or if someone bought them out, but I'd hire a Kentucky Whittler to hand carve a rudder before I'd send anyone else to Foss. They came highly recommended, but totally fell down on the job, multiple times, with no apology or compensation.

The Goudgeon/West Systems (epoxy) folks mentioned someone up in Maine who does custom CAD contouring of foam blocks, then builds them up into rudders. You might try contacting them for a referral.

brak 02-05-2009 02:43 PM

Sorry to pull this thread back from the neverland, but I've got an interesting side note. Today I received an email from mr. Tommy Solomon where he demanded that I remove my post or else "his attorney will take over" (I am not sure what this means, I suppose he's threatening me with a lawsuit).

I think this certainly falls in nicely with the rest of the impression that I've got. As they say, "your mileage may vary" but my personal experience so far is going from bad to worse.

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