I lost the rudder on my Hunter
25 about halfway between Key West
and Havana. The shaft broke much as yours did. The construction looks similar. The shaft was a thinwall stainless steel tube filled with a dense polyurethane
foam. The hard filling kept the tube walls from buckling under bending stress. Unfortunately, the stainless steel corroded and when the wall of the tube was weak enough it broke. The foam filling didn't provide any strength once the wall was torn and the rudder quickly broke off and floated away.
I was able to lay a course to Key West
with sail trim. When I got there I built a temporary rudder around a galvanized steel pipe. I wrapped it with fiberglass
to build it up to the diameter I needed. I filled it with foam to keep water
out during the installation
, and a fabricated a rudder blade from plywood
, foam, and fiberglass
. That was in 1993 and I never needed to finish the "permanent" rudder which still resides, partially completed, in my garage.
I removed the old rudder shaft and installed the new one with the boat in the water
. Since the rudder blade was buoyant I had to use my weight to force it deep enough into the water to align the shaft with the rudder tube on the boat. I've forgotten how I managed to avoid getting pinched between the top of the rudder and the hull
. There's a potential risk of injury if that happens.
I don't know if my experience would scale up to your boat, but my cost for replacing the rudder was under $100.