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avd155 07-03-2012 06:42 PM

Extending Rudder Shaft
I am hoping to do away with the rudder stuffing box.

My idea is to fiberglass in an extended rudder tube. The tube would run from the existing rudder shaft tube, to the underside of the cockpit and would be fully water-tight. I would like to make this modification, because it's the only reason I need to access the below cockpit area and I am hoping to fill the area below the cockpit with flotation foam. Further, no stuffing box is one less point of failure and leaks. Additionally, the entire tiller head base and rudder shaft would be greatly strengthened.

Here's an image of the plan - The red lines indicate where the shaft tube will be extended. (Please excuse the old image as well as being slightly out of focus; it was the best image I had at this time. Also, I tried to attach an image of my plans, however it wouldn't allow me to upload.)

I don't really see why this plan wouldn't work. I'm wondering if I'm missing something. For example, perhaps the the stuffing box provides some kind of lubrication required for turning the rudder?

deniseO30 07-03-2012 07:00 PM

Re: Extending Rudder Shaft
Flexing up and down and side to could be a possible reason not to. Suggestion.. give up on the foam idea.. it won't stop you from sinking. The tube could be made with graphite impregnated epoxy. Ck west systems site for the information.

CalebD 07-03-2012 10:25 PM

Re: Extending Rudder Shaft
My opinion is not to over think this. New 'stuffing' for your box costs under $20 and only need to be re-done every 5 - 10 years or so. It can be replaced with the boat in the water in most cases.

Here is a great tutorial about old school stuffing boxes: Re-Packing A Traditional Stuffing Box Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at

We only have a stuffing box for our engine drive shaft but it is the same principle and is a tried and true technology used worldwide.

That said, our rudder shaft is encased in a tube as you propose.

JimsCAL 07-04-2012 09:40 AM

Re: Extending Rudder Shaft
What you propose is very common on boats with tillers. Boats with wheels need the rudder stuffing box due to the quadrant and cables for the steering system.

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