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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction
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Old 09-30-2011
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Rudder construction

I have a 1887 Catalina 25 that I am redoing a lot of items on and yesterday I was looking at the rudder and discovered a loose bolt (forward hole was worn) in the bottom rudder post fitting. I have purchased larger SS bolts to redo. I plan to reseal it with clear silicone as I assemble it. Is the rudder solid fiberglass? I cannot tell from looking at the holes and I have not drilled them out yet. Is there a better way to get this done?

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Old 09-30-2011
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I am not familiar with the Catalina rudder but I doubt it is solid fiberglass. Probably cored with foam and glassed over as with most rudders.

But don't use silicone, lousy on deck and worse in the water. Better to use 3M 4200 or Sika 291.
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Old 09-30-2011
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The 22 had a wood core
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Second the 'no clear silicone'... try not to use anything that smells like vinegar on a boat.
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Old 10-01-2011
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I take your advise, but am wondering why silicone is not recommended. I did drill out the holes for the larger bolts and it appears that they are solid fiberglass in that area.
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You can contact Catalina if you really want some details on the construction of the Cat 25 rudder. Most rudders for boats of that size (and larger) consist of an aluminum or stainless shaft, a metal grid welded to the shaft, foam interior, and a fiberglass skin.
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Silicone doesn't seal well over time. When it has to be redone nothing will stick to the place where the silicone was as there is a residue left behind - sanding would be required remove it. Even new silicone won't stick to it well.

Silicone was touted as a miracle product in the past but now we know better.

The only place it should be used on a boat is for sealing acrylic/polycarbonate ports and even then something like Dow 795 which is not the same as marine store silicone.

5200 is the other product to stay away from as it makes removal difficult, often pulling gelcoat off with it.
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