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  #1  
Old 03-12-2012
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Question about the rudder post

I have a 1975 Capital Yachts Newport 28. She's in good shape, I've done quite a bit of work on her in the five-going-on-six years I've owned her, and I'm pretty confident that things are for the most part shipshape. I've only daysailed her around the mid-and-upper Chesapeake Bay, so I don't have to worry about taking a beating in mid-ocean for days on end -- though I fully realize that a single broken cotter pin could run the fun even a hundred yards away from the slip.

So what's piqued my curiosity right now is the rudder post, or perhaps more accurately, whatever one calls the post the tiller is attached to. The point being, that I can lift it straight up out of the boat. It slides very smoothly, and I've never pulled it up more than a couple of inches. But I'm wondering if that should be possible at all? Below deck, the post is encased in fiberglass from the underside all the way down to the bottom, so there's nothing exposed there.

I assume that the rudder is actually attached to the hull by other means than hanging off the tiller (it wouldn't be so easy to lift otherwise). It's never shown the slightest tendency to come up during use. I'm just afraid to pull it all the way up for fear something might drop off the bottom of the boat if I do. I should have checked this out when she was on the hard for painting last year, but it didn't cross my mind then.

One other odd thing is that under power, water comes up through the tiller's deck fitting at a slow trickle. It's noticeable, but not a heavy flow, and it drains out the scuppers. It never does it except under way, so I'm thinking that the force of the prop wash against the rudder is somehow pushing water up that fiberglass tube.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 03-12-2012
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Re: Question about the rudder post

Normally called the rudder stock.. it's odd to be able to lift it "inches' as a rule. In boats like yours the stock is usually welded to an attached plate, around which the rudder blade is built. To be able to lift it 2 inches or more would imply that there's a 2" or greater gap between the hull and the top of the rudder blade (not impossible, however.)

The point is that eventually you should fetch up against the hull and the 'lift' should stop. The rudder (and stock) 'hangs' on the tiller head and any washers/pins/plates that are involved in attaching the tiller head to the stock.

As you can see in the pic below, it doesn't look like that much gap was meant to be there... you should be able to see if it exists on your boat.

The other possibility may be that the stock and it's plate are 'free to slide' up and down inside the rudder itself... that would not be the intended situation...

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Last edited by Faster; 03-12-2012 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 03-12-2012
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Re: Question about the rudder post

jaschrumpf,
Hello fellow Afourian.
I had to look up the specs on your Newport 28, '74: NEWPORT 28 sailboat on sailboatdata.com
I think you are right to be a bit concerned but my Tartan 27, '67 is a different design so I have no first hand advice based on a N 28 so take my comments for what they are worth.

I learned that on my boat the rudder shaft attaches to the stem head fitting (tiller connection) and uses a key and keyway slot to hold the stem head fitting - allowing us to steer with the tiller. It is likely that your boat also uses a keyed shaft that allows it to work.
What I don't quite understand is how your rudder shaft is able to be raised so easily out of the rudder. This makes me wonder how your spade rudder is kept attached to your boat. Obviously there is a way this could be engineered but I wonder how your rudder shaft 'locks' into the actual rudder, although I would bet that a keyed shaft is the answer and the rudder itself is captive to the keel by other means.
I learned about the keyed shaft in our rudder post because the key at the top (stem head fitting) had worn down and we had about 10 degrees of play in our tiller. It turned out that we needed a new key to make the steering tight again. It would have been a much worse fix for us if the play was located at the rudder/shaft interface.
I think your idea of pulling your rudder post while on the hard is a good one and you should inspect any keyways for wear at that time.
I'll guess that you kept your boat in the water this winter, you Chessie people are lucky.
Good luck.
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Re: Question about the rudder post

I was going to post( no pun intended) separately but if you dont mind I will join in on this thread. I had some minor problem last year with the steering on my Beneteau 311. It wasn't as positive as I would have liked. Anyway, I removed the floor and this revealed a quadrant that was incorrectly aligned and fairly slack lines. I contacted the makers (lewmar) to ask if this was ok and they said it could be possible but there should be a pin through the rudder post that kept the steering in alignment. This is not the case ; the quadrant is kept on the stock by compression and a key that is meant to stop it twisting on the stock. In short in my opinion a very suspect arrangement. I also discovered that one of the compression bolts had stripped which diminished the compression. Please take up the cockpit floor check the steering before it all goes wrong.
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Old 03-13-2012
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Re: Question about the rudder post

Well, there is no cockpit floor to take up. It's just solid fiberglass. I don't think there are any lines to be slack, either, as it's tiller steering, not a wheel.

Here are some pictures of the setup. The white tube is the tiller post encased in fiberglass. That's looking up at the bottom of the cockpit floor, and it runs straight down to the hull and is sealed just the same. The rudder picture shows the gap between rudder and hull, and I have tried to lift that before, and it is firmly in place.
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Question about the rudder post-rudder.jpg   Question about the rudder post-rudder_post.jpg  
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Re: Question about the rudder post

From your pics I do think that your prop could easily cause enough turbulence that it would force water to occasionally pop out of your rudder post/rudder tube.
I'm still mystified how your rudder post 'mates' with the the actual rudder to control it. I'd still bet that there is a key/keyway involved.
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Old 03-13-2012
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Re: Question about the rudder post

So you're saying you can't 'lift' the rudder against that gap shown? Yet your tiller head can be lifted inches? Something different here, I fear... it's possible your rudder post is hollow - and that the tiller and a smaller shaft drops into it, I suppose, but that would have to be seriously keyed to work well.

Is the boat out of the water now? If you can lift the tiller head that far, and the rudder doesn't come up with it then I don't see how it could hurt to see just exactly how far you can lift that out. Sounds like a very different setup....
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