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03-23-2013 07:14 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box


After looking at the cutaway profile in the screen shot, I suspect that the leakage must be coming from one of two locations: around the shaft through the packing nut, because it can't be locked in place due to the lock nut being embedded in the "gunk"; or, as Faster hypothesizes, possibly up and through that mound of gunk itself, along the outside of the packing gland assembly, which may either be installed in a solid glass rudder-stock carrier tube through the hull lay-up or a conventional packing gland arrangement which relies upon a rubber tube secured to the outside of the rudder-stock carrier tube with double hose clamps and likewise secured to the packing gland assembly itself. In this case, I suspect the arrangement is the former--the packing gland assembly fitted into the end of the rudder-stock carrier tube. If the means of securing the packing gland assembly to the rudder-stock tube fails, it can/will leak and water will well up, along the sides of the packing gland assembly. From the discoloration on the packing gland nut due to corrosion, I am confident there is leakage at that point, although, whether it is the sole leak or just one of two, remains to be discovered. That it has been leaking, and sometimes more rapidly than others is also evidenced by the rust/corrosion in the lower half of the U-joint assembly which could be suspect itself. That assembly is likely held in place on the rudder stock with one or two set screws which, by now, may have given themselves up to rust, but it will definitely need be freed from the rudder-stock to replace the packing flax in the gland.

For what it's worth, I would start by simply freeing the locking nut and tightening and locking the packing gland nut in place. That may solve the problem and you're done. If not, get back to us and we'll give you some more advise regarding a lobotomy for the rudder stock carrier assembly. That may necessitate you cutting an access port in the sole of the cockpit or in the bulkhead on the aft end of the port quarter berth to get access to the hull under the cockpit. In either case, you've got some work cut out for you.

Good luck...
03-23-2013 05:31 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

First you need to determine (if you can) if the leak is coming in around the rudder stock/shaft, or if it's leaking alongside the stuffing box tube past the fiberglass patchwork.

If it's the former I see no need to grind glass except to free up the lock nut. It's certainly not necessary if a simple repack is in order.

If it's leaking past the patchwork glass that's another issue altogether. Are you able to determine what's what on that score?

Your biggest obstacle to a simple repack is the need to remove the Universal joint to get enough clearance to back the nut out and replace the packing.. looking at that arrangement it's easy believe that it's never been properly done. Very tight clearances on all counts, it won't be an easy job, no matter where the problem actually lies...

Pretty boat, btw!, and yes, Welcome to Sailnet.
03-23-2013 04:59 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Hi Denise
Thank you
I thought about that too but then that makes the stuffing box even more encased and tough to access should I need to repack it. I think there's no avoiding grinding away the fiberglass. arghh.
03-23-2013 04:06 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Here are specs and line diagrams of your Greenwich 24': GREENWICH 24 sailboat specifications and details on

Yes, this kind of work can be a real PITA because of the confined working space. I don't envy you that.
There does not appear to be a shaft log hose below your stuffing box. The shaft log hose is a black hose made by the Buck Algonquin company that helps keep the stuffing box located. It also adds some flexibility to the installation. There may be no space in your set up for a hose like this as I can't really see the rudder shaft above the stuffing box. Even a small section of this hose would raise the stuffing box above the floor/hull just enough to make it more accessible.

Allied built sturdy boats, by the way.

Good luck.
03-23-2013 03:48 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Karen, I've never seen a rudder stuffing box so close to the hull bottom. Is it possible the PO cut off the tube and just tried to epoxy the SB into the "mound" of stuff showing in the photo?

Oh! welcome to Sailnet!
03-23-2013 03:37 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Thanks svHyLyte,
I was afraid of that. I was preparing to have to do that but hoping not to. The area is very difficult to get to as it's under the cockpit and only accessible through a lazarette. While I'm not looking forward to the project, I am looking forward to a dry(ish) boat.
Thanks again.
03-23-2013 01:30 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

The failure is the rudder stock stuffing box. The problem is that the former owner obviously didn't know what he/she was doing and apparently laid in additional glass below the shaft log, and in the process embedded the locking nut in the added material. What you need to do is use a dremel tool to carefully grind away the build-up and free the locking nut to the shaft log. Then, tighten the upper portion of the log until the dripping is all but gone and, holding it steady, tighten the locking nut against it from below. Problem solved. See image and attached snap of your situation below.

03-23-2013 01:18 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

If the boat's still on the hard I'd follow the instructions in the link and redo the packing now, much easier and safer.

No reason to have to worry about a lot of water in the bilge all the time- takes away from the joy of the moment. Of course if you're out of the water now it's going to be difficult to find/confirm the actual source. But with no keel bolts and limited thru-hulls the possibilities are few barring structural damage..
03-23-2013 01:13 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Girl is there a puddle of water around the rudder shaft and tube? Big "channel lock" type pliers may work to tighten the gland. BUT! use 2 wrenches. you don't want to twist the gland off the tube.
03-23-2013 01:11 PM
Re: Fiberglass buildup around rudder stuffing box

Thanks for your reply. It's wet because I took the pic after I sprayed it with Blaster to remove some of the rust. I'll try what you suggest. Should I spray water up the rudder shaft from below to see if it comes in?
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