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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Rudder damage - urgent advice needed
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Thread: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-07-2012 09:30 AM
smurphny
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.
11-07-2012 08:28 AM
ehmanta
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.
11-06-2012 09:35 PM
SloopJonB
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.
11-06-2012 09:17 PM
grant64
Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

You are correct smurphny - I have no experience here and may be getting in over my head. Think I will sand down to fibreglass and lay fibreglass strips with epoxy along the edges. I have drilled holes and I have the rudder hanging in a heated room with the hope that it will dry and there is no structural damage. I will sail one season and at the end remove drain hole plug ( which I will make) - if no water comes out, great. If water comes out then I will consider next move - separate sides or buy new rudder. Maybe separate sides and if I find the job too much, purchase new one.
Thanks SloopJonB - will follow your advice for preparing rudder for glass.

Thanks all for feedback - at least I have a plan of action.
11-03-2012 02:31 PM
SloopJonB
Re: Rudder repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by grant64 View Post
1. To split a rudder do you simply take a cutting saw and run around the edges?
You can slit it with a cutoff wheel in a small grinder or grind it down until the seam opens.

Quote:
Stem part of rudder has obvious seam but leading edge is not so distinct and it seems more difficult to keep a nice straight cut. How do you join back together?
You join it back together with fiberglass "tape" - you can buy glass fabric in rolls of various widths.

Quote:
If I elect to simply run a length fibreglass tape along the aft stem seam and the forward leading edge seam what do I do to prepare - there is a layer of Interprotect and then antifouling - do I sand these down to fibreglass? If I do that I go through gel coat? And if I do that do I have to reapply gelcoat or just Interprotect again? Just not sure how to prepare surface ans what ramifications are. Have searched internet and Sailnet but no description found.
You grind or sand back to clean glass - no paint, coatings or gelcoat. This is critical since you are going to be creating a secondary bond which inherently has less strength that a primary, chemical bond. Use epoxy resins - they "grip" much better than other resins in this situation and they are far more waterproof. You don't need to reapply gelcoat afterwards.

In fact, when working on old boats, I'd recommend forgetting that anything other than epoxy even exists.

I second Smurph's comments - if I was you I'd so some reading up on laminating, tools & materials and make some practice laminations before cutting your rudder apart. Glass work is pretty simple but there are some important things you need to know beforehand. There are lots of books with this info in them.

Check out Lackeysailing.com - he shows all aspects of boat restoration by documenting the boats he rebuilds - it's a great site.
11-03-2012 11:05 AM
smurphny
Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Rudders are constructed in so many different ways that unless you know exactly what's inside, be careful. You could wind up with an expensive mess on your hands, replacing the whole thing when it's not necessary. Do some research as to how your particular rudder is constructed and how others have gone about this type procedure. Sometimes you can actually find photos posted by someone who has done exactly the same thing. I would think you'd be able to check for internal corrosion by drilling a few well-placed, easily plugged holes.

It sounds like you have no experience doing this type thing and may be getting in over your head.
11-03-2012 10:29 AM
grant64
Re: Rudder repair

1. To split a rudder do you simply take a cutting saw and run around the edges?
Stem part of rudder has obvious seam but leading edge is not so distinct and it seems more difficult to keep a nice straight cut. How do you join back together?

2. If I elect to simply run a length fibreglass tape along the aft stem seam and the forward leading edge seam what do I do to prepare - there is a layer of Interprotect and then antifouling - do I sand these down to fibreglass? If I do that I go through gel coat? And if I do that do I have to reapply gelcoat or just Interprotect again? Just not sure how to prepare surface ans what ramifications are. Have searched internet and Sailnet but no description found.
11-03-2012 09:38 AM
smurphny
Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

The conditions that cause corrosion problems for almost any metal seem to be so variable as to make predicting what might be weakened almost unpredictable. One thing for sure is that once any current is present, different potentials will cause electrolysis. That is interesting about the aluminum shaft. Aluminum really disintigrates quickly once any current gets to it near other metals.
I replaced the bronze rods that hold my old wood rudder together last year with the same. They have been there since 1967 and had some surface scaling but were still solid underneath after 45 years. I was able to unthread the nuts and disassemble the rudder pretty easily. IMO silicone bronze is still the toughest material over the long term in a marine environment. The large 1-1/2" SB thru-hull that was used for the head, with a little wire brush work, looks like new as well with no sign of any corrosion.
11-03-2012 08:16 AM
CaptainForce
Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
12:1 "feather" simply means to grind it back on a taper...................
That is, 12" wide for 1" deep.
I would recommend epoxy other than the Bondo mentioned above and, to make the cure complete, run a tab of fiberglass cloth over the seam between the port & starboard laminations.
11-03-2012 12:16 AM
SloopJonB
Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryHLucas View Post
I would be willing to bet that all rudders with a bronze, stainless, aluminum, carbon, you name it shaft have water in them. I don't believe it is possible without extreme cost to keep it from happening.
Owning both houses and boats in a rain forest I am confident in saying that over time you can never entirely keep water out - of anything. You can only trap it in.
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