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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-01-2009 05:07 PM
GaryHLucas I owned a 2976 Hunter 27 in the early 80s. It had terrible weather helm, as did every other Hunter 27 that I spoke to the owners about. However I thought the rudder post was ben and got dimensions from the manufacturer. That confirmed that it was in fact bent back about 4 inches. All those other 27s? Most of them were bent worse than mine! That's Barnegat Bay, NJ.

I pulled it off and straightened it by hanging it in a hydraulic press with nylon slings and pressing on the leading edge. I got it back to factory specs, but it split along the edges where the two halves were put together so I had to retape the edges with fiberglass.

Recently I split the rudder on my Etap 26, because the aluminum rudder post was badly corroded between the hull and the rudder blade. However once splitting the rudder I found NO corrosion at all inside. The foam core which was exposed to the water for 25 years was also quite dry, much to my surprise! I concluded that the corrosion was due to the yards painting the rudder post every time it was hauled with copper bottom paint. A real no-no on an aluminum shaft!

Spliting the rudder was easy using a 4-1/2 grinder with a 1/16" thick cutting wheel for metal. It took me about an hour total. I then pried off one side that was not bonded with glass cloth to the rudder post and some bars welded to it. A few minutes with the grinder and I had the shaft out. At that point straightening it becomes easy.

On the Hunter 27 I worried about the post getting bent again, because it was quite thin. So I inserted a smaller heavy wall stainless pipe inside the tube. It fit a little loose but the tube will deflect just a little then the pipe will pick up the load. If I were to do it again I'd do what someone else suggested, pour epoxy down the inside of the pipe. It would rise up the outside and fill the gap between the pipe and tube and essentially make it one piece.

By the way, then I worried about tearing the fiberglass rudder tube right out of the hull. So I went back and glassed the whole area around the tube under the cockpit.

Gary H. Lucas
10-31-2009 05:42 PM
Northeaster I would hazard a guess that is is not a solid post (ie 2.5" thick) unless it's a very large, sturdy boat.

As Rik asked.. What year, manufacturer, model is it, as that would give us (or others who own similar boats) something to go by?

I would likely ask someone, like an engineer, or machine shop, how much they feel it will be weakened, by bending it back. I am no engineer, but I would expect to find that the more it was bent, and the more it needs to be bent back, the weaker it would become. I know from trying to break / bend copper/ metal bar or pipe for example... you can bend it a bit each way and it takes many, many cycles before it will break. But, if you put a few 30 - 45 degree bends on it, it will break easily.

If it's a slight bend, (ie <10 degrees or so) I would think it would still be plenty strong after straightening. Of course, if you ground again, or hit a semi-submerged container, all best are off, but even a new one would likely break then!
10-31-2009 04:46 PM

Hey fella,

thanks for the advice/suggestions. The boat was run aground and pulle off, somehow either during the grounding, or offing, she was bent.


10-31-2009 01:30 PM
deniseO30 I watched some people bend the rudder back into position on a C30 with the boat out of the water and the rudder still on the boat! Come alongs, ropes, lots of sweat and discussion they got it back into position! I've no idea how much damage or stress they put on the rudder tube however. (one doesn't ask such questions when people are doing such things)

bottle, do you think a shop could do that with bent at the base stanchions?
10-31-2009 09:35 AM
rikhall What boat is it (length, model and make)?

10-31-2009 08:59 AM
klem Why was it bent? Was this something from a previous owner, did you hit something or did it just happen out of the blue? The reason I ask is that if you can't explain why it happened, it might have been too weak before it got bent.
10-31-2009 08:04 AM
Yorksailor I saw one repaired by straightening and then filling with epoxy---home job--- otherwise I would replace with heavier gauge tube.
10-31-2009 07:27 AM
karlhead Body shops that do frame straightening can also fix it.
10-31-2009 07:14 AM
bottleinamessage I had a 30' Catalina that I hit something and bent the post. New rudder quote was like $2K! My wife sewed a "rudder catch bag" with two dock lines attached. I dropped the rudder at the dock into the bag , but I forgot to put drain holes in the bag and had a very hard time getting it onto the dock! LOL!

Took it to a machine shop and they blocked the shaft and with a hydraulic press, slowly broght it back true. Had a slight bulge where the bend had been (maybe .020 or so) so they polished that out. Charged me $60. Did it while I waited.

Worked just fine.
10-31-2009 06:48 AM
paulk Sounds like you need a new one. Straightening stainless will not make it any stronger.
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