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Catalina 275 Rudder float or sink?

Nov 21, 2020
Catalina 275 Sport Sydney, Australia
Hopped onto Cinnamon for a nice Sunday race this morning and straight away noticed that there was a nut and washer sitting on the deck at the base of tiller and the bolt half hanging out the other side. Sadly the tiller was no longer attached to the neck of the rudder and the rudder was gone with just an hole looking down into the ocean.

A quick swim around the region of the mooring swing in the half that was shallow enough to see yielded no sign of the rudder.

Having no idea whether the rudder floats or sinks in salt water (or any water) i also had an explore around the shoreline without any luck.

Anyone know whether the rudder floats or sinks so i know where to focus my efforts?

Anyone got a spare they can sell me?

Tip for all - make sure the bolt attaching the tiller to the rudder neck is tight and locked.
Nov 27, 2019
C&C 30. MK1 715 Lake Norman
So sorry for your problem!
The fact that the rudder is gone indicates that it sank. Depending on current, it could travel some distance.

Good luck in your search
Jun 6, 2016
Catalina 275 Wilmette, IL
I would have to assume if the rudder floated, the rudder would not want to drop out, unless you have significant chop. If it sank, it may not go straight down but kind of fly off like a wing. I.E., drop a quarter into a glass of water and it doesn't go straight down. I'd get a scuba tank and do a thorough search. Once on the bottom, it should stay there. Good luck.
Nov 21, 2020
Catalina 275 Sport Sydney, Australia
Thanks SteveLKN and Codybear - your thoughts pretty much match mine.
It is definitely choppy enough for a slightly buoyant rudder to work its way out - apart from weather driven waves we have the Manly Ferry going by a few dozen times a day.
I do think there is a better chance it just sank so more swimming called for.
Aug 21, 2020
Catalina 275 Coffs Harbour
Oh no, that sounds like incredible bad luck. Hope you manage to find it. I'm going to check that bolt on mine right now!
Jul 24, 2018
Catalina 275 36 Sydney Harbour
Based on combined weight of the rudder post & web structure with solid glass skins either side v the foam filler my money is also that it's somewhere on the bottom and with relatively benign tidal currents on the Harbour perhaps not too far away. I'll message you contact details for a local diver I used to retrieve a severed mooring line who (for $300) will more than likely find it in less than 15 mins on a clear day.

Small mercy it didn't drop off in front of the aforementioned Manly Ferry... or anywhere else off your mooring for that matter (!)
Nov 21, 2020
Catalina 275 Sport Sydney, Australia
A happy end to the story and confirmation that the rudder definitely sinks.
Had the guy doing the hull clean have a look around and they eventually located the rudder in about 5m of water 20m from the back of the boat. A surprising distance away it must glide quite well.
They helped me reinstall it too and she is all good to go again.
With Catalina not being communicative a huge relief.
Jun 6, 2016
Catalina 275 Wilmette, IL
It appears my quarter dropped into a glass of water analogy was spot on. I won many, many beers dropping quarters into a pitcher of water targeting a shot glass at the bottom. Everyone would miss, but I figured out a way to cheat. Stack four quarters and drop them flat. Almost guaranteed to win two to four beers with a buck. Anyway, congratulations on making your C275 whole again.


Dec 3, 2016
Catalina 275S Annapolis, MD
Congratulations on your rudder recovery!

I have a different rudder issue. I'm having my boat hauled next week to free up my jammed rudder. I'll likely need to drop it an inch or so to free it up. Is the through top bolt the only thing holding the top fitting to the rudder post, or is the rudder post also threaded and the topped fitting screwed on?

The lesson I learned was to be more careful when reversing, not to use too much power and to keep a firm hold on the tiller. Last Friday I did neither and the rudder swung over and jammed against the bottom.
Nov 21, 2020
Catalina 275 Sport Sydney, Australia
Oh yes I have had that happen without the nasty lesson.

There is a straight stainless tube that runs from the top of the blade up through the hull to the tiller - a plain tube with holes either side at the top to take the tiller bolt. No threading on the tube at all. As such if you pull the bolt through the tiller out the rudder is free to drop straight out. There is a nylon sleeve that acts as a bush for the tube in the through-hole.

Hope the tube isnt bent and good luck.
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