I read this article from Sail Magazine Rudder Awareness - Sail Magazine
Does the Crealock rudder have a grease fitting on the rudder tube? How is the rudder constucted? Type of bearing, stock, etc?
This is one of those questions that drive me crazy because it reminds me, just when I start to relax, that there is ALWAYS something to worry about on a boat!
I've got a Crealock 37. My hunch is that the rudder arrangement is, more or less, as strong as one can get in a production boat of this size.
On my boat, the rudder system's overall integrity is very reliant on the skeg. That's because I have wheel steering, meaning that the rudder tube does not extend well above the waterline as would be the case in an ideal setup. (I think the tiller version has this tube. Someone reading this can confirm or correct me on this.) The rudder stock is supported by the skeg. Thus the condition of the skeg is just as important as the condition of the rudder itself. I think both the skeg and rudder have steel reinforcement inside, but I don't think this extends the full length of the skeg (I say this only because I once saw a picture of a PS that was grounded and the skeg was broken halfway down, with no sign of steel reinforcing at that point -- probably explaining the break). So all the advice in that article about checking for water ingress and the like seems to apply to the skeg as much as to the rudder, i.e., more things to worry about and work on during haulout (as if my lists weren't long enough each time already).
I don't know about the bending load of the rudder stock. It looks to be extremely strong, so I am guessing that it is NOT like the spade rudder designs, which are intended to bend easily to protect the hull.
There are no grease fittings, but the manual recommends greasing the bushings (if my recollection is correct). I have never noticed any problems at all with these bushings on my decade-old boat, but surely they will need to be replaced eventually.