Replacing Rudder

Discussion in 'Main Morgan 38 Sailboat Forum' started by matt_fahey, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. matt_fahey

    matt_fahey Matt Fahey

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    Had a bit of a blow in Long Island Sound in late September. As a result, Shepherd's Star broke free of its mooring (the underwater 1-3/4" line had been frayed through) and started to head for a local breakwater. Thankfully, Sea Tow was right there, grabbed the boat, and brought it safely to their dock. Thankfully, no damage. Two weeks later, I was able to return it to the mooring field. This time, the harbormaster set me on a "keg" mooring, with 5/8" chain - a very secure set-up, or so I thought.
    Unfortunately, the swivel between the heavy "bottom chain" and the top chain failed. This time, the boat was run up on some nearby rocks.
    I've been told by a diver the rudder has significant damage. At this time, I still haven't hauled the boat (which will happen next week), but I'm thinking it's time to replace it. While it's out, I'm told I should also inspect/repair the gudgeons and replace the rudder bearing as well. Has anyone done that? is it worth it? Has anyone replaced the old-school system of stuffing box with a dripless rudder shaft seal?
    In a weird way, I'm looking forward to this work, as the rudder's age had always made me nervous - while it had never given me any problems (aside from a slow "leak" when in heavy seas, or when underway with the motor running), I was always worried that something, somewhere, would fail.
     
  2. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Matt
    Has the skeg been damaged along with the rudder?

    Jim
     
  3. svpilgrim

    svpilgrim Jeff Lovett

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    Also.... Is the shaft bent? Or is the damage to the fiberglass portion of the rudder. Or both?
     
  4. matt_fahey

    matt_fahey Matt Fahey

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    I don't know yet if the skeg has been damaged. All I know is what the diver told me - "the bottom of the rudder is badly damaged, and split, enough where I could put my fist into the hole. You also have some damage to the keel, low down on the port side". So he could mean the skeg, or the true keel. It could be cosmetic, or it could be structural (particularly if it's the skeg).
    I'll find out more once the boat is pulled for the season on Monday. I doubt the rudder shaft is bent, since I just got back from bringing the boat (at a very slow pace!) to its winter home. I didn't notice anything peculiar with respect to the steering (it turned freely, to the appropriate stops, and the boat responded normally), so I'm hoping that most of the non-rudder damage is cosmetic. Based on the location of the skeg, there's a good chance it suffered no damage whatsoever. There was no leaking into the bilge. Engine and prop were fine as well.
    After talking to the yard guy about replacing the rudder, I'm having second thoughts. First, he made it sound like the yard would need to do the work replacing the rudder. Ka-ching, ka-ching. Second, he was every optimistic that the rudder could be repaired at a reasonable rate, particularly if it was only the fiberglass that got damaged. And since the boat was operating in a normal fashion, I'll see what shows up on Monday. Thankfully, the waters were very calm on the 30 minute trip over.
     
  5. stnick

    stnick lee nicholas

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    Sounds like the Harbor Masters Mooring failed ! Does he not assume some responsibility ?
    I hope you can get it repaired easy. A good glass guy is worth talking to . Whats your insurance guy say ?
     
  6. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Matt
    Is you boat a 382 with the smaller rudder or a 383/384 with the larger rudder? A number of years ago I replaced my 382 rudder with a 384 unit from Foss Foam (352-529-1104) in Florida. I have never found there to be any difference in the performance between the two. The reason for the replacement was due to a significant amount of rust weeping from the rudder at the gudgeon. I figured the SS grid that is welded to the rudder shaft were badly rusted and could someday fail allowing the shaft to turn without moving the rudder. The new rudder, back then, was in the neighborhood of $1200 delivered to my boatyard. Removing the rudder and reinstalling it is not a difficult job. Depending on if the yard will allow you to do the work yourself. They either hold the boat up in the slings while you drop the rudder or allow you to dig a hole, (Appox. 12 to 16"), to let the shaft clear out of the boat.

    Jim
     
  7. svpilgrim

    svpilgrim Jeff Lovett

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    Matt,

    Definitely a good signs that you are able to make way without issues (albeit at slow pace) and that you are not taking on water. Please share what you discover once the boat is hauled.

    I agree with Jim that a replacement 383/384 rudder from Foss is a good option. I have worked with Foss on a replacement Bristol 38.8 rudder. I second Jim's endorsement of the company.

    Per prepping the boat for the project. I currently have Pilgrim blocked on two 10X10* + one 2X10 stacked. (*I think they are 10X10 I can check today) This provides enough clearance to remove and install the rudder without digging a hole or paying for additional time in the slings.
     
  8. matt_fahey

    matt_fahey Matt Fahey

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    So the boat's been pulled and I got a good look at the damage. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse. Pics of both the keel and the rudder are attached. First, the rudder, which is clearly split amongst the seam...
     

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  9. matt_fahey

    matt_fahey Matt Fahey

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    And now there keel, with the damage on the port side... I still don't have an estimate of the cost of repairs. Unfortunately, the yard won't let me replace the rudder myself, so if I decide to replace it, I'll have to pay for the workers... though I could certainly reduce the cost by first stripping off the autopilot, quadrant, gudgeons, and stuffing box.
     

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  10. matt_fahey

    matt_fahey Matt Fahey

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    I'll also add that these boats were built like tanks! Some of the more delicate racing machines in the harbor would have suffered far greater damage...
     
  11. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Matt
    Where along the keel on the port side is the damage? Aft at the holding tank? Can't tell from the photo. The rudder looks like the easiest solution would be a new one.

    Jim
     
  12. wild382

    wild382 John

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    That was my question too...Matt if you get a chance I'd appreciate it if you could get more keel pictures showing the hollow area. I like to have them to show yards where we might haul out proof to be careful. We always make sure we are there when they set the boat...
     
  13. svpilgrim

    svpilgrim Jeff Lovett

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    Matt,

    You leaning towards repairing or replacing the rudder?

    If repairing, then you can allow the yard remove the rudder per their mandate, then take rudder elsewhere do do the repair work.

    If repairing, then closely inspect the seam along the leading edge of the rudder with extra attention the area around the gudgeon. If the rudder impacted hard enough to damage the aft section then it is likely the impact also separated the seam forward as the force was transmitted through the rudder. The M382 rudders (not sure about later versions) were molded in two halves and then joined. While rebuilding Pilgrim's rudder (Photo Album) I discovered that the aft lower edge of the rudder had been damaged in a grounding or accident.


    I also discovered cracks beginning at the exposed rudder shaft and radiating outward along the seam



    I repaired the fwd damage by applying a generous wrap of 1708 cloth around the forward edge of the rudder.


    The aft damage was repaired similarly in conjunction with the rudder modifications.


    Looking back on the rudder project... it was alot of messy work. Think I would begin by pricing out a Foss replacement rudder. I have completed Pilgrim's rudder repairs. Many additional photos are available in my google Pilgrim Rudder Repairs and Modification Photo Album. If you have question about the project please let me know.
     
  14. svpilgrim

    svpilgrim Jeff Lovett

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    Two more questions...

    Any damage to skeg?

    Based on the keel image you provided above looks like the yard blocked Shepard's Star on or adjacent to the keel damage. How far forward is the damage? Is it to the hollow area of the keel or the solid portion?
     
  15. matt_fahey

    matt_fahey Matt Fahey

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    The skeg did have some damage, but it doesn't look bad. The paint was scraped off, and you can see the resin straight through in strong sunlight. I'll take a picture next time I'm at the boat.

    The damage to the keel is only on the solid part. Still haven't had a chance to talk to the repair guy at the yard, for an estimate...
     
  16. tyree

    tyree New Member

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    I recently made a new rudder for my 1980 382, Albatross. Thanks for all the helpful info on the site to get a modified design. I hired a naval engineer that primarily designs metal high latitude sailing vessels to approve and improve the design and provide proper foil profile cut outs etc. On our maiden sailing voyage last weekend we sailed from masonboro inlet near wilmington nc out 50 miles to the frying pan shoals tower then back in to holden beach inlet. 100 miles in 12 hours with 15-20 on or just forward of the beam. The addition of the balanced portion in front of the skeg plus about 25% more surface area made it feel like a completely different boat. its so responsive now and effortless to steer it took me a while to get used to. Also installed a darglow featherstream prop, new rolly tasker mainsail and all new standing rigging among many other things ive been working on the past 2 years on the hard. For any of you considering a new rudder i'd highly recommend modifying the existing design. What a sail! Testing a little further afield next to savannah and back to wilmington. Thanks again to everyone posting on the site! I attached some pics of the project. IMG_20190414_193114.jpg IMG_20190414_135418.jpg Screenshot (Mar 19, 2020 18_32_59).png

    Tyler
     

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  17. john english

    john english Member

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    You confirm what Carl Scumaker (Express 27, 37, etc.) designed for my boat over 20 years ago. It transformed the boat. A narrower profile and extends the rudder down 1 foot. Brewer's rudder was for the 5ft draft mine is the optional after thought 6ft. Congratulaions for taking a bold approach!
     
  18. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Tyree

    I like the forward part of the rudder that will create something of a balance to the helm. Should made steering quite a bit easier. Would you think there needs to be something to protect the lower part from catching pot lines coming off the skeg?

    Jim
     
  19. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    John English in the Bay area has a similar modification. Tell us some more about the rudder construction please. Is that a mock up or the actual interior of the rudder? Is it mild steel or stainless? Is the rudder foam filled or some other construction? re you using the original gudgeon or did you build a new one?
     
  20. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    Another question for John English: Did you modify your original rudder or have a whole new rudder built when you made your changes? Did you use the same gudgeon or beef that up as well? Thanks. Some years ago one of our members added horizontal end plates on his rudder which is also supposed to help efficiency (or, at least lift) by reducing water flow from one side of the rudder to another--sort of like upright wing tips on planes. I just got a brand new 383 rudder from Foss Foam for my 6' draft 382. I earlier modified my 382 rudder to look like a 383.
     
  21. john english

    john english Member

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    The rudder post was a new piece of Aquamet22 with welded dowels and paddles at 90 degrees. The biggest difference is that the rudder post is longer and extends upwards to just below the aft lazarette hatch. I installed a 1/4 x 6 inch aluminum C channnel fore and aft to the bulkhead and the cockpit just below the hatch opening and that supports a Tides Marine rudder bearing. The former bronze stuffing box which was not a bearing in any sense was replaced by a Tides Marine stuffing box. For a lower bearing I followed the West epoxy rudder post bearing repair method by waxing the rudder post blocking off where it exits the lower bronze casting, driling lower and upper holes and injecting an epoxy and coloidal silica mix that formed an actual sleeve bearing. Thus providing both upper and lower supports that greatly reduce or possibly eliminate the lateral forces on the lower rudder gudgeon. The downside is that I can no longer crawl into the aft lazarette and with the ruder being 12 inches deeper and the post 12 inches longer the boat has to be in the slings for removal and reinstallation. It was 25 pounds lighter and the stern waterline came up an inch. The design in that era was for a tall balanced elipse.
     

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