Etap sinks, or not
There was a post on the general forum about Etap going bankrupt. Today I took apart my Etap 26 rudder to inspect for corrosion of the aluminum shaft. The shaft is badly corroded between the hull and the top of the blade, slightly below the water line. I cut all the way around the blade with a dremel tool using an abrasive blade designed for cutting plastics. The blade worked very nice. One 1-1/2" diameter x 0.050" thick blade cut the whole 10 feet, and only wore down about 1/8". Then I split the two halves open. I thought others might find what I found interesting.
The rudder had water in it, due to a gash in the trailing edge, which the previous owner had not fixed properly. However the water was only in the voids around the shaft and such. The foam Etap used was NOT water logged. This is an interesting fact because this boat has been on a mooring continuously for the past 24 years! So those people who wondered about a damaged Etap sinking from water logged foam, forget it!
The only corrosion I found was at the gap between the blade and the hull. Everywhere else on the shaft and inside the rudder all of the aluminum was as bright and shiny as the day it was built! I think I know what caused the corrosion at the gap, bottom paint containing copper. Most bottom paints contain copper, and you can't use a normal bottom paint on an aluminum hull, sail drive, or aluminum rudder shaft! I'm going to grind out the corrosion and weld the shaft back up. It is a good weldable grade of aluminum because the reinforcing bars in the rudder are welded to the shaft.
There was also a discussion recently about installing a bilge pump, getting out the last bit of water, keeping it from back siphoning etc. There was a discussion recently on the Etap owners forum too, about bilge pumps. Etap doesn't install them, and a guy wanted to install one. The discussion revolved around how that was hard to do in an Etap, and how most people just have a bucket and a sponge. The sponge handles the usual water that get in. If you actually got holed, you'd use the bucket to bail out, after you fixed the hole, because the boat didn't sink! It's funny how different the discussion was, when you are talking about a boat that doesn't sink!