Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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On the other hand, you should be thankful tht you only lost a rudder and did not sink the boat. All too often, skegs provide a false sense of security. The small profile and working area within the skeg means that it is very hard to get properly laminated glass in the skeg. As a result skegs are often not as strong as they might seem.
The confined work area results in the skegs being built in one of two ways, either as a separately fabricated element that is then glassed onto the hull or as an integral part of the hull (which is by far the most common), either of which have strength limitations.
Built as a separate element, it is hard to get a proper structural connection between the skeg and the hull. If damaged the skeg would be largely sacrificial but if the connection fails, also would transmit much of the load to the substantially reduced in strength rudder post typical of a skeg hung rudder, (meaning that even with a skeg fashioned independent of the hull you might be replacing a skeg and a rudder.)
The intergral skeg is by far a harder solution to build well. Not only is it hard to properly laminate within the skeg cavity but the skeg generally needs supplimental internal framing to distribute the loads that would be applied to the hull in the kind of impact that you are describing. Few manufacturers include the kind of transverse framing and sealer membrane that would be necessary for the skeg to withstand that kind of impact. As is more often the case,and as it was with a boat that I looked at some years ago for someone buying as salvage from an insurance company, that kind of impact causes the aft end of the skeg to sheer upward through the hull, slicing the skin and allowing the boat to sink, while still bending the rudder post as well.
Properly constructed the top of the skeg should be glassed solidly closed, with a thickened glass area extending out into the hull beyond the area of the fillet of the skeg, and there should be a generous athwartship frame or bulkhead at the aft end of the skeg.
In any event, I am genuinely glad to hear that no one was hurt and, although saddened to hear that your sailing season had been shortened, glad to hear that at least your boat was not lost all together.