Rudder Failure Waiting to happen.
My rudder had a crack in the leading edge. The rudder was also somewhat loose on the shaft. There was also an attempt repair by a previous owner what needed attention.
It appeared that a previous owner had used a hole saw to drill (5) 1.5" holes into one side of the rudder. They then filled these holes with thickened epoxy with not quite enough hardener, so they were a little soft. I am not sure what they were going for here. I drilled these out using a forstner bit. I drilled to the half way point where I hit metal. My thinking was that I could remove the old repair and then set out on my own attempt to close the crack and finish the repair. I dug out all the material in the crack and filled it with epoxy and then thickened epoxy. I then clamped it shut and left it over night. My plan was to add glass over the crack for strength. The next day I removed the clamps and all was well. But not for long. I came back a few hours later and the crack had opened back up. I guess I waited to long to add the glass. By this time I was pretty disappointed with myself and decided it was going to need a more aggressive repair.
My next attempt was to remove this section of the rudder and clean it and re-bond it. So using a skill saw I made a straight cut tot he depth of the inner plate. The top portion of the rudder lifted off. I started to clean the metal off and look for something to use as a core material. but That is when I discovered the crack where the plate attached to the post. The crack is the complete length of the weld.
Since you have now gone this far, I would be cutting the whole side off the rudder, inspecting / repairing the entire internal framework, and then reglassing it back together, finishing with several coats of waterproof / barrier coat of some sort. I would also add a large, wide ring of 5200 where the rudder post goes into the rudder, as there is sliight movement / flex here, and it will eventually let water in. I think a good inch or two of 5200 on the rudder top and post (adhered well t oclean, sanded surfaces) will keep water out for a long time!
I would take all paint off the lower attachment point as well, and inspect / repair it ( both on the rudder and the keel where it attaches)
good luck! You will be able to have confidence in your rudder when you are done.
I'd say the metal repair would be pretty easy with getting it welded and even beefed up. is it bronze? The shell of the old can be used and then you could inject new foam if everything is clamped and supported so it can't swell when the foam expands. I think that's how it's done in the Factory.. but with real molds I'm sure. then when all cured completly grind the old glass shell and cover with new cloth and epoxy fill. OR? buy a new one from a rudder mfg
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