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Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

I'd recommend against any sort of removable drain plug. That's only adding a possible new course for water ingress.

Plug the holes with thickened epoxy before doing the glass work and drill new holes next year if you decide to check on things.
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Old 11-07-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Crevice corrosion is indeed an unpredictable monster. When we bought our Tartan 37 in 1995, we knew that the rudder was saturated but structurally still sound. I put off the rebuild for several years but would drill a weep hole everytime we hauled out so it wouldn't freeze over the winter. In the spring, I would epoxy the weep hole back. This went on until three years ago when I finally bit the bullet and opened her up. What I found was that the foam was totally saturated (expected) and that the stainless steel skelaton was in pristine condition with absolutely no signs of corrosion which made my repairs a breeze.
My cousin's Tartan 30, one year older than my 37, needed a rudder rebuild since hers failed. When I opened hers up, the stainless rudder post was pitted and the tabbing had corroded off. For this repair, I order all new stainless and had a local welding shop weld it back to the exact configuration adding one additional tab for added strength.
Long story short is that you really can't predict the crevice corrosion until you open things up.
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Old 11-07-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

I kinda like the drain hole idea as long as it's done correctly and is flush. If the boat sits out of the water for months at a time, you'll probably pull the plug whereas if you need to drill a hole and patch, you'd probably be less likely to do it. I'd probably be hesitant to drill a hole every year and make work for myself.

If you really suspect there is corrosion, maybe you can remove a fairly large plug to get a good look. I'd probably be tempted to drill a 2" hole somewhere where I could get a good look at where the shaft connects to the framing. Then you'd also be able to see whether the foam is saturated. If the foam is saturated, it's probably inferior material and really needs to come out and be replaced by better, more modern closed cell foam. It will never dry out if it's saturated by just drilling a drain hole. Anyway, sounds like you need to get a better look at what's under the glass.
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rudder failure?

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