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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1980s? Force five that I just bought to leArn to sail on. The rudder has a crack in it that I'm worried will spread. Right now it splits at the front bolt with the spring and runs vertically along half the rudder. What's the best way to fix this?

tHanks

Adam
 

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baDumbumbum
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Wooden rudder, or fiberglass? If FG, is it hollow, solid, or cored? Does the crack run down the edge, or down the wide part of the blade?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wooden rudder, mahogany I guess. The crack runs down the wide part about an inch back from the rudders edge closest to the boat. The guy who sold it to me said to use wood glue. Thanks for your help.
 

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I would guess that the most typical problem would be a separation of the starboard and port half of a laminated rudder. This should be tended to before you find yourself with limited or no steering when they fully separate. The best solution would be to remove the rudder; split the halves apart; remove and replace any of the compromised structural foam core; and fiberglass the two pieces back together with added tabbing of fiberglass cloth covering the seam. You are likely, with a job done well, have a stronger rudder than the original. Many manufacturers glue these laminates together without a fiberglassed wrap across the seam. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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My daughter has a Force 5. This dinghy rudder blade is made from a single mahogany board. My suggestion for repair is to:

1) cut it along the crack and glue the pieces back together with Gorilla Glue. A couple of long screws can hold the pieces together while the glue sets and also serve as "drift pins" reinforcing the completed repair.

or 2) make a new rudder blade from a piece of 3/4" mahogany. If you don't race the boat and don't have to worry about class rules you can use almost any kind of hardwood. I assume the rudder (and boat) are stored out of the water when not in use.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Okay, that's a perfectly typical failure with mahogany rudders. Sometimes it's a split down the grain; usually, the failure occurs at a glue line, and usually THAT is a symptom of water sneaking in thru some scuffing at the tip of the rudder.

As Heinzir says, you can rip and reglue. Use of close-contact adhesives like GG requires crisp, clean surfaces, tho -- I'd want to joint the surfaces before gluing. Contrary to some of their early ad claims, GG does NOT fill gaps with strength. And while I love PVA/aliphatic resin wood glues like Titebond2 and 3, I would not use them for below-waterline bonding, even on a daysailer. Absolute BEST choice here is epoxy. It does fill gaps with strength, and it isn't so picky about condition of the glued surfaces.If you can work epoxy into the split, that's the easy solution; if it's too tight, you can run a bandsaw, jigsaw, or handsaw down the crack, tape one face, and fill the saw kerf with epoxy.

I had the same problem with our Buccaneer mahogany rudder. One trick to help stop future splitting is to reinforce the leading edge and tip with glass tape. Grind down to bare wood, wrap the edge and tip with glass fabric or tape, and fair it in with more epoxy, possibly thickened. Build it up pretty good on the bottom, so banging the tip on a rock won't expose end grain. Then I skimmed the whole rudder blade with epoxy and finished with three coats of exterior polyurethane. Straight varnish over wood doesn't stand up to groundings like fiberglass will. Some people even inlay metal banding on their rudder tip! Good luck, & enjoy that boat. Only sailed on a F5 once, but it was a riot.
 
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