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Rudder chip repair?

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Scandium, Mar 12, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

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  1. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis
    Any input on the best way to repair this loose piece damage on the rudder (seaward 23)? By the waterline where 1 of the 3 bolts attach. The piece on the left is loose enough to wiggle slightly. PO tried...something? Looks like gluing it on was the intent. I assume best is cut it off and redo fiberglass? Or can I just slather on a chunk of epoxy? Not sure how i'd get the shape right though (a lot of sanding..?), but I suppose it doesn't have to be perfect.

    I contacted a FG repair place nearby, but assume I'll have to do this myself due to cost.
     

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  2. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    If you plan on fiberglassing it, an angle grinder with a sanding disc of some sort can shape it very quickly. Sometimes too quickly!
     


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  3. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,287 posts, 1,487 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    The wrong answer is to just put raw epoxy on it and say your prayers. Epoxy (and polyester) resin alone is very brittle, it needs something to bind to, like fiberglass cloth to have any strength.

    First take careful measurements to make sure you can put the gudgeon back in the right place.

    Next you will want to grind out all the old fiberglass around the damage. Grind back until it is solid and with a 12:1 bevel. Once it is cleaned up, begin to rebuild the rudder shell with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. Until you get it built back up. Then sand and fair and paint or gelcoat to protect the epoxy.

    Check the West Systems website and the Boatworks Today youtube channel for more info on epoxy repairs.

    An angle grinder will be your best friend while grinding out the damage, but it will be very messy.

    Also check to see how wet the rudder core is. You can sound it with a plastic hammer or screwdriver handle. If the sound is not sharp and crisp, the rudder probably has water in it. You can also drill a smalll ¼" hole in the bottom of the rudder and stand it up. If there is water in the core, it will begin to leak out.
     


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  4. isaksp00

    isaksp00

    Joined Apr 27, 2010
    1,034 posts, 81 likes
    Hunter 23
    US Lake Wallenpaupack
    +1 to dlochner. The only thing I'd add is that once you build up the shell with layers of cloth and epoxy, you can use epoxy with something like fairing thickener (a powder you can get from West Systems) to make a paste like peanut butter. Use that to build up the shape slightly above the rudder's profile, then use a light sander like a palm or mouse to smooth and shape it.
     


  5. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis
    Thanks! Good tips.
    I've already spent too much time on boatworks today videos;) I've ordered some epoxy for other fixes, but sounds like I'll need some cloth as well. I have some 105, 206, and 406 on the way, it was hard figuring out which of the fillers was right for what..

    The bottom of the rudder is worn down and needs fixing, so drilling hole there should be fine.
    The whole damage isn't huge, about 3 inches long total so getting it out shouldn't be too bad (remember it's just a 23 ft boat). My dremel might be best, I'd be afraid of accidentally going too deep with an angle grinder. Certainly an exciting start to boatownership..
     


    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  6. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    I had similar concerns when I rebuilt my centerboard. The two things I learned are just dive in and do it and if its made of fiberglass it can ground to nothing and rebuilt. A flexible sanding disc and backing pad helped a lot
     


  7. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis
    Never mind. I took more apart last night.
    All three bolt holes were filled with some soft caulk which was saturated with water. Pulling it out I found the core, which I think is wood in the center, some foam along one edge? It was soaked! and falling out or very soft most places I could get to it. Now, if I could only remove and fill in the rotten core.. But the fiberglass outer shell is cracked all the way from the 1st to 2nd bolt hole, on both sides. I does seem ok from 2-3, but I'm skeptical. The force of the pintle attachment on the hollow core has deformed the fiberglass in the whole area.

    So I'm not sure how, or if, one would fix this. Assume something like drying out, cutting off everything couple inches to either side then trying to lay new fiberglass over the whole area? There will be a lot of force around the bolts so will have to be strong, and anything that's just epoxy I imagine would crack. But also worry about adhesion to the rudder. Even if the new part is very strong I can see how that whole thing just rips away from the rest of the rudder. Not to mention I don't know how long it might take to dry out this whole thing, I put two window fans on it for now. I just bought the boat; I'd like to use it this season.. This is beyond what I'd do as my first FG project, so am in talks with a local repair place so we'll see what quote they give. I'm guessing more than a new one.

    I've seen some rudders for 22-24 ft boats for $400-600, but none mention Seaward. Problem of uncommon boat I guess. I'll contact some custom makers and see. Only I've found is Rudder craft with their kick-up rudder for $900 (but it looks a lot smaller?). Though it comes with a $200 tiller I don't need as I have two. Not sure they'd sell me one without.
     


  8. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,287 posts, 1,487 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Or build your own rudder.

     


  9. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis

    Thats cool, wow.
    Yeah just $300+ of epoxy, 200 hrs of my time and maybe I'd get a crappy rudder that would break first time I pick it up, haha.
    I've emailed few custom makers and the repair place. But if I'm getting a new one anyway the Rudder craft kick up version for $1000 looks like a good option. Keeping it out of the water is nice, and people say it has good feel/performance. Just doesn't look as cool as the giant stock rudder that extends all the way to the cockpit though:) I imagine a custom maker (not local) would need mine as a template, and shipping it must cost couple hundred..
     


  10. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,287 posts, 1,487 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY


  11. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    My first significant fiberglass project was rebuilding the tip of my centerboard. I have a bunch of pics if you're interested in seeing what's involved. It took me about three weeks due to non-fiberglass related issues. It would go significantly faster now. I dont regret doing the project because of what I learned.
     


  12. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis
    Thanks for the tip. Yes I emailed them, and www.csi-composites.com in RI. But like I said problem is neither is within convenient distance from me so shipping a rudder (possibly twice) is going to be expensive.

    I did message Hake/seaward (now IP) asking if they have plans or anything I could use to have a new one made. We'll see.
     


  13. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis
    Sure, welcome to post some in this thread if you want.

    Not sure how to approach this, as it involve filling in a 3-4 inch (?) wide hole in the middle of the rudder. I.e. getting adhesion on both sides.
    Just of the top of my head; cut out ~2" either side of bolts, or however much rot I find. Cover on backside and lay FG+epoxy through the whole area (But how to make sure it attaches to the lower/top parts of the remaining rudder?) Gelcoat, sand etc to try to recreate the shape. Drill new bolt holes. How hard could it be...?

    oh, and the other issue is ensuring that the whole core is dried out. Could take months? if ever.. And I was hoping to launch the boat in <5 weeks
     


  14. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,287 posts, 1,487 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Don't have time now, will write later. I repaired a very damaged Flying Scot centerboard. Had to build up the edges. Have some photos and caveats.
     


  15. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis
    That'd be awesome, thanks. Take your time.
    Highly, highly unlikely I'll do it, but would be fun project. At best after I already get a new one, just to try it and to have a backup. I've done some semi-complex woodworking around the house before, but literary never touched fiberglass cloth, and got my first boat 4 days ago..
     


  16. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,551 posts, 365 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    In addition to the Sail Life example above there's also a good set of videos from Boatworks Today. The approach he showed might even be more applicable to your situation. First in the series is at
     


  17. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,287 posts, 1,487 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Working with resins and fiberglass is not all that difficult, a little messy at times, but not particularly challenging. And if you screw up, get out the grinder and do it again.

    The CB on my Scot had been severely damaged by some prior owner. And then poorly repaired. It appears that the CB had come in contact with a rock on multiple occasions. The repair consisted of a ¼" bronze or brass rod bent to the shape of the rudder and then filled with thickened resin. Eventually, it all chipped away. This first picture shows the damage after some time spent gloriously sanding away bottom paint and whatever to assess the damage. You can also see that the glass was not well saturated with resin as it white.

    DSC_0338.jpg DSC_0351.jpg

    Once all the failed repair was removed, it was time to start building up the end of the CB. Simply adding thickened epoxy would be a bad choice as another chance meeting with a rock would likely damage it. In this photo you can see the damage on the leading edge after the old repair was removed. The board below it is covered in wax paper and shimmed up to provide support for the new glass being laid up. The line on the board shows where the edge should be.

    The second photo shows the edge after several layers of glass and mat were in place. There are 2 schools of thought here. One says start with small pieces and build up to larger and larger overlapping pieces. Another school says start with big pieces and then smaller and smaller. I went with the first option. The mistake I made here was using mat with epoxy resin. The glue that holds the mat together is styrene based and does not absorb epoxy resin all that well. Polyester resins work well with mat. For this application, it probably doesn't matter a lot, but I would do it differently in the future.

    DSC_0366.jpg DSC_0369.jpg

    The lower half of the CB was then covered with a layer of 2 of glass. To make life easier I just let the glass hang off the end and trimmed it when it was partially cured. It was a bit faster to do it this way than trying to fiddle with the cloth to get it perfect or to wait until it was fully cured and spend more quality time with the sander. Once the first side was glassed, I flipped the board over and built up the lower edge with epoxy thickened with a high density filler and then encapsulated it in more fiberglass cloth. From that point on, it was a matter of adding fairing compound, sanding, more fairing compound and sanding until I got the shape I wanted.

    DSC_0389.jpg DSC_0387.jpg

    Once it was faired, I painted it with Interlux 2000 to give it a nice hard epoxy surface and then I got distracted by life and a new boat, and it is still in the basement waiting for final touches.

    For your rudder, cut the damaged area out and then feather back the fiberglass to a 12:1 ratio on both sides. Cut a block of hardwood like white oak to fit in the area that you cut out. Take a piece of wood cover in plastic wrap, wax paper, or packing tape and tape it to the side of the rudder. This will provide support for the wood block. Flip the rudder over. Glue the wood filler block in place with thickened epoxy. and then glass it in. When it is cured, flip the rudder over and do the other side. I would think about using just 1 layer of glass on each side at first and then set the rudder on edge and build up the edge by wrapping glass from one side to the other and build up the area. Then sand, fair, sand, fair, etc. On this repair I would recommend starting with a small patch first, just large enough to hold the block in place when it is flipped over and then begin with a large patch and work towards the smallest to fill in the area.

    DSC_0356.jpg

    None of this is particularly difficult and a whole lot cheaper than buying a new rudder. The one other concern is the wet core. Go to the West System site and read the section on repairing wet deck cores, basically it is the same process for a wet rudder core. I did that on a rudder before I had a digital camera, so there is no record.

    If you have read this far, you can get a discount on Total Boat products by using the discount code found in the Descriptions of recent Boatworks Today videos. You get a discount and Andy gets a small percentage of what you buy. Everyone wins.
     


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  18. isaksp00

    isaksp00

    Joined Apr 27, 2010
    1,034 posts, 81 likes
    Hunter 23
    US Lake Wallenpaupack
    How much wood is in your core vs foam? My H23 rudder is all foam as far as I know.
     


  19. Scandium

    Scandium

    Joined Aug 16, 2018
    33 posts, 7 likes
    Seaward 23
    US Annapolis
    Thanks for the writeup!
    You're right it's probably not that hard, just a bit time-consuming. But the above is my concern too. I think the "repair" was done by the owner before the guy I bought it from, and he had it for 4 years, and in the water most of the year. So I suspect the whole core is saturated with water and could take forever to dry out. I put it in the basement with fans on it, but it made the whole place smell like a wharf so had to take it out in the garage. I'll try to cut out some of the worst damage and see how it looks, maybe drill some test holes too. But if the wood (or whatever it is) is rotten away say 12" away from the area what do I do..? Turns into a massive repair at that point. I'll have to do some inspecting and see what I find.
     


  20. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    149 posts, 28 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    There is a boatworks video where he rebuilt a foam cored rudder. He cut a large hole on one side, pulled out most if not all of the foam and then filled it back in. You can also use your existing rudder to make a mold of some sort if you want to build a new rudder. I'm guessing making a new one would be easier and faster
     




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