Rudder damage - urgent advice needed - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Exclamation Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

This is a real pain.... We are about to purchase a really nice Bristol 38.8 and the previous owner hit bottom with her coming down from the yard where she was painted. Kudos to him that he immediately told us about it and had the boat hauled. It looks like she came down on a wave and impacted vertically rather than hitting it forward. There are a couple of scrapes on the keel that don't look serious but the worst damage is to the rudder.
The rudder alignment is fine and you can easily move the rudder from stop to stop by hand so there does not appear to be major structural damage (tough boat) but the bottom edge is crushed. The integrity of the core is certainly compromised.
We now have a few largely unpleasant choices:
1. Walk away - don't want to do that. She is otherwise a lovely boat with lots of new stuff.
2. Delay the purchase until the rudder is dried out and repaired - losing a lot more of the season.
3. Take the boat as-is with a credit to repair it next spring after the winter haul- out.

The last one is tempting because we get sailing sooner, the rudder will dry out better during the winter haul-out and the total repair cost will be lower (the seller is a nice guy). However this option has some hair on it:
1. Will keeping it in the water do more damage?
2. Is there a risk of water in the rudder freezing during the haul-out, doing more damage?
3. How do we establish the likely cost of repair as the yard where that would be done is a long way from where the boat is?

I guess the bottom line is I really don't know what the implications of water in the rudder core are. The selling broker is playing it down but he is the selling broker.... We are getting a surveyor to look at it today but I always appreciate your advice if anyone is up and about in time.

Thanks a lot

Graham and Janaki
Bristol 38.8

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post #2 of 23 Old 06-28-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Water incursion into a cored rudder is never something to ignore. Modern rudders rely on a skeleton of stainess steel, covered with polyurethane foam, wrapped in fiberglass. Once the fiberglss skin is breached, water can migrate to the stainless steel structure. Stainless is notorious for rusting when it is in contact with saltwater that is stagnent and not subject to aeration - e.g. crevice corrosion. If the stainless skeleton of the rudder is compromised...well it might fail just when you need it most. If you really want this boat, bite the bullet and have the rudder repaired professionally.

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post #3 of 23 Old 06-28-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

what does a replacement rudder cost for that boat? Might be the best repair and quickest way back into the water. And given the potential for more serious damage, would not even consider purchasing without a professional survey at this point.
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-28-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Rudders are an easy fix, most older rudders have some form of water ingress I would say 4 days out of the water, day one lift and cut back the damage to sound material feather glass for new lay up.( about 3 hrs.) day 2 If there is no moisture glue and shape new foam or balsa(my choice) lay up the glass 3 - 4 layers end of day spread on filler. (4 hrs) day 3 fair rudder, put on barrier coat at end of day. (2-3hrs) Day 4 2 coats anti foul and splash 2hrs. Total 10 - 11 hrs of hands on labor. [I] would use the down time waiting for the epoxy to cure putting on some fresh anti foul.

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post #5 of 23 Old 06-28-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

EZ FIX. You will be happier knowing you fixed it. I would knock at least thousand off the price of the boat, nice guy or not he F'd up, needs to pay for it. Pay your self 40 dollars an hour to fix it as well.
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-28-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Forget option 3. Will only result in more damage. As long as the rudder was sound before, a repair is not a big deal.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Thanks guys, the surveyor agrees. It's back on the stands for repair and I'm gritting my teeth... Life is long - lots of time to sail.

Graham and Janaki
Bristol 38.8

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post #8 of 23 Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

So. I have a 1986 Tanzer 27 hauled out two weeks ago. Water is still running out along the seam of the rudder. It sounds like I need to open it up to check core???? How do I look inside for structural integrity and if open how do I go about repairing it? I was going to fibreglass the seams and stop water entering but now I realize the damage inside might cause it to fail.

I read a post here about one person who cut it open with a circular saw.

Any thoughts?
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post #9 of 23 Old 11-02-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
Rudders are an easy fix, most older rudders have some form of water ingress I would say 4 days out of the water, day one lift and cut back the damage to sound material feather glass for new lay up.( about 3 hrs.) day 2 If there is no moisture glue and shape new foam or balsa(my choice) lay up the glass 3 - 4 layers end of day spread on filler. (4 hrs) day 3 fair rudder, put on barrier coat at end of day. (2-3hrs) Day 4 2 coats anti foul and splash 2hrs. Total 10 - 11 hrs of hands on labor. [I] would use the down time waiting for the epoxy to cure putting on some fresh anti foul.
Yep. Look at the West System website for instructions if you haven't done this kind of patch before: 12:1 feather, big pc. of glass first, then smaller as you build up layers. It should dry quickly. Most of the foam is closed-cell and holds little to no moisture.

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post #10 of 23 Old 11-02-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

I popped my rudder open coming into Key Largo at low tide about ten years ago and some time later the port side of the two laminations fell off. I hauled out and dropped the rudder. We used structural foam to replace the inside and new fiberglass to form the new starboard side. The new rudder was made strong and I feel it is far better than the original from the manufacturer. Your attention to the repair will likely result in a structure better than what was formerly there.


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