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Old 07-08-2010, 20:13   #1
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Challenge: Rudder Trouble - How to MAKE a New One (Yup, You Read that Right)

So our boat had rudder trouble. Dad had a new rudder made. Got a new spot on the ocean faster than expected, took rudder before it had been epoxied. Uh huh...rudder has been in the water 1 month and is coming apart!

Now they want to make another. Is it possible to do this, or do you really need professional help? If you can do it, how would you?

Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2010, 00:19   #2
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What kind of boat? i.e. it will be easier to make a rudder for a heavy cruising boat that is full keel or skeg hung than for a racing boat with a counter balance and light weight etc. But there is no reason to be able to think you can not do it. We smashed a rudder to bits in Lamu, Kenya. and had to rebuild it and put it in place while in the water. In actual fact we laid the boat on the beach and put the new rudder in between tides. I wasn't that great at glass work and was a bit skeptical about my abilities with wood etc so hired another cruiser to help me build the replacement. It was only suppose to be a temporary fix until we got back to civilization. But it worked so well we only just replaced it after 17 years of service.

All things considered. I guess the answer to your question is do you feel confident in your abilities to rebuild it. It is certainly doable.
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:07   #3
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Sure, you can make a rudder, but be honest about your limitations. Tools are the usual draw back to the novice, then knowing what to do jumps in to increase your bald spot diameter. As Sari Timur suggests, each application with be boat model specific, which some, much easier to make then others.

What boat do you have (year, make and model)? Can you post a few pictures? After replacing appendages all to often, I'm now sold on inert materials, rather then traditional wood, 'glass and pray methods, but this depends on your comfort level with these "other" materials.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:28   #4
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I will have to dig up the pictures dad has. Thanks for the tips, I will find the pics and post. It is a 25' Challenger sailboat from the 70's, very old indeed! It really needs a refit, but we are planning on buying a new boat in the next few months anyway, so I am not sure that it's worth the effort and expense. On the other hand, it might make some money when we sell if we fix it up.

Anyway, it does need a new rudder. I was leery after the one our pro made fell apart within a month in the water...and we have it in Vancouver, on the Fraser River just a few KM from the ocean so its not even in salt water!

What kind of materials do you mean by inert? What would you use? I think the rudder we had made was not big enough.

Thanks again, I will post photos asap!
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:25   #5
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Inert materials are things that aren't affected by submersion, like HDPE, 'glass, etc. He couldn't have been much of a pro if the replacement lasted only a month. I'd be seeing if they could do right by you with another one, but this time clearly spelled out as to construction, materials, insurance company inspection, etc.
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Old 08-08-2010, 13:41   #6
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Can you get the rudder off, dry it out and glass the exterior?

Or, is it too far gone?

regards,
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:23   #7
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Shaping isnt really that hard. What is hard is defining the shape, How far forward will the chord be? What width should should the chord be? Seriously, buy the time you research the answers your local boat builder will have the new one on the boat. If you get things wrong- even small things, it can drastically affect the performance of the boat. Consider this, your stuck in a 40knot squall, and you keep rounding up because you got the rake of the rudder wrong. There is a lee shore. Now are you pleased you saved the $$ and made it yourself.?
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:39   #8
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Actually shape isn't as important as most will have you think. If your boat is the one I think it is, it's a CCA form and the rudder is keel hung. You could hang a hunk of nearly anything down there and have fairly good preformance. Naturally, similar class boats will kick your transom, but you will not be wallowing in your own wake.

Post some images of your boat, maybe with an approximation of the rudder profile as you remember it. You can use a slab sided foil shape or go hog wild on an extra 10th of a knot with a 5 digit NACA. Persoanlly I wouldn't bother on an old CCA with much more then a slab (straight) sided foil, but again some will have you thinking it's all bee's knees kind of bull to have a 63 series section carved into it.
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