SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware! Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-24-2015 04:58 AM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

I think that's the original method of manufacture. My San Juan 7.7 from 1979 had the same problem with failure of the filler around bolts that are joining to the two rudder halves. I ground out the old compound but left the bolts in. Then I filled with gflex epoxy, wrapped a layer of glass around the front of the rudder, and re-faired, then barrier coated the whole rudder. I also drained the water out of the rudder, filled it with expanding foam, and re-sealed the join where the post enters the rudder.
01-02-2014 08:21 AM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

The bolts are original and joined the rudder halves. Before removing them I would recommend talking to Gene Adams at Port Gardner Sailboats. Gene was a San Juan dealer and worked very closely with the Clarks and was a consultant to San Juan MFG when they bought the Clarks out. I believe he still builds rudders for some of the boats.

I discovered water in my rudder 5 yrs ago and figure it was getting in at the top, past the rudder post. I sealed that and it's been dry since. Of course, my boat's in SoCal and has never frozen.
01-02-2014 08:00 AM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

Hmm, good points to think on - I had assumed it was a an aftermarket repair due to the fact that the "recesses" the bolts are in are roughly and irregularly shaped and a different color than the surrounding material. The basic structure is white while the area over the bolts is a gray-ish blackish color.

So, maybe the gray material is a previous owner's repair over the original hardware.

I suspect you all are right and it might be best to leave the hardware in place - I'll just put a lot of effort into making it very, very clean to ensure a good solid bond.

I was thinking of cutting in deeper to see what, if anything, the hardware is attached to, but now I think I'll skip that seeing as it may just weaken the rudder.

As always, thank you for your help!

I'll post final pictures when the repair is complete.
01-02-2014 06:34 AM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

Inside the rudder would be a stainless steel backbone that he fiberglass is fashioned around. I agree with those who say to not remove the bolts as you may be creating more problems. The bolt further up the rudder is on the leading edge where the rudder shaft would be and the bottom bolts are where you would expect the bottom framework under the fiberglass skin to be. Inside rudders you have a framework that looks like a "b" with fiberglas around the lower rounded part.

Check for areas of water intrusion and seal to keep water out. This will eliminate freezing and further splitting.
01-02-2014 01:26 AM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

Is it possible that the bolts are also part of the rudder shaft attachment to the rudder skins? I would make sure the shaft is still tight and refill the the depressions with thickened epoxy and an over lapping layer of light glass cloth. then go sailing for another 10 years. it does look like the way it was made by Clark and would have been filled originally with polyester filler back in the 80's
01-01-2014 11:32 PM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

I agree with Faster, it could be original. I would leave the bolts in place.

Butyl would be a poor choice because it never cures, is oil based, and epoxy will not stick to it. I would just make sure the recesses are cleaned well of foreign matter, acetone is good for this. Fill the recesses with thickened epoxy and it should last many years. Stainless steel fasteners are used successfully when hardware bonding with epoxy so there should not be any difference in this case. I have not heard of epoxy separating from fasteners like this - probably just poor execution when the recesses were filled.

I have a few tools that have had epoxy on their metal handles for a few decades with no sign of separating.
01-01-2014 09:21 PM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

If, in the course of cutting away material around the bolts it looks like molded recesses for the bolts themselves, it may have been an original way of joining the two halves of the rudder, not wishing to rely 100% on adhesives or glass...

Too bad Clark isn't still in business.
01-01-2014 08:58 PM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

Insulating the steel between it and the epoxy (maybe with butyl tape) is a very interesting idea. I will think on that!

I didn't make it clear in my above post, but I planned on just cutting out the steel bolts entirely. They appear to be sandwiched in solid epoxy, it's not like it is joining anything that I can see. Since the rudder seems (overall) in fairly solid shape I thought at this point the hardware is redundant.

Has anyone seen anything like this before?
01-01-2014 08:42 PM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

Just a thought - why cover the bolts? Yes, it may effect the flow of water over the rudder, but the stainless would be happier exposed (as opposed to being in an anoxic environment) and you would not have to worry about the covering cracking.
01-01-2014 08:09 PM
Re: Symmetric Rudder damage and surprise hardware!

I think the hardware may be doing what it was intended to do, but the covering failed.
If it took ten years to fail, it may be worth doing it again, the same way, or with something insolating between the stainless and fiberglass.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome