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Old 15-03-2016, 10:04   #1
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Rudder stock is probably bent

Would anyone be able to share advice on removing the port rudder on a FP Salina while it is in the water?
I think it's a case of removing the top assembly and then pushing the rudder stock down through the rudder column, ensuring there is a line on it to prevent it sinking.
I'm wondering how difficult this will be and whether there are any bolts to undo on the hull under the water and also how to check and potentially replace the ercolyte lower bearing.

What happened was that we were returning to our marina. While initially the channel is very wide for cruise ships, the dredged area abruptly narrows up, we didn't notice the stb buoy so we hit a sandbar at 3 or 4 knots. I then tried to reverse the boat which was awkward because I forgot to turn off the autopilot. I think the reversing must have bent the port rudder back on the sandbar. Although the rudder still turns it is very stiff.
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Old 15-03-2016, 10:55   #2
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

If its very stiff, you are going to have a hell of a time getting it to drop out. Most rudders won't sink, but a line is a good idea, or just do it in shallow water. I've never heard of ercolyte.
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Old 15-03-2016, 11:36   #3
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

Haul out, its a pain in the ass in the water....
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Old 15-03-2016, 14:41   #4
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

I've seen sense, it would be a relatively small saving if at all. I will haul it out and then I can see exactly what the problem is. I'll take pictures and post them. Ercolyte is what JP3 Bearings and International Boat Spares called it but it looks like nylon to me.


Any advise on getting to and straightening the stock? I believe I will have to split the rudder blade open to remove the stock and I anticipate that is going to require some specific tools.
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Old 16-03-2016, 09:56   #5
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

my steering became very stiff after running aground i was able to drop the rudder there is a bar at the top to tie a line to .we used scuba to pull the rudder and change the lower bearing. that was the problem in the water wound up cutting one side then it came out replaceing was then easy but with out scuba i would pull the boat and do on the lift.
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Old 16-03-2016, 10:00   #6
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

My bet is it will be cheaper to replace than attempt to straighten it. There are a few good companies in the US that do nothing but make replacement rudders. These are surprisingly affordable, usually less than $2,500 and more often <$1,500 plus shipping.
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Old 16-03-2016, 11:30   #7
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

Don't use nylon for the replacement bearing-it swells when wet. Delrin is better.
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Old 16-03-2016, 11:53   #8
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

Obviously I don't have a clue what your rudder stock is like, but it is common enough for bent propeller shafts to be straightened.

That's solid bar of course. If your rudder stock is tube it may well not be possible.

Good luck with it though.
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Old 16-03-2016, 12:12   #9
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

Firstly, even before you get setup to haul her out. Closely inspect the area around the bearings (top & bottom), & where the shaft enters the hull.
You're looking for any signs of deformation, & or damage to the structure. And given that you have a twin on the other side, it should be fairly easy to compare the two.

Also, be sure to use whatever tools that you have at your disposal. Both to check the shaft & bearings, as well as the laminate, & where everything sits in relation to it's neighboring parts.
Meaning measure (& log) the distances to X, Y, & Z. Degrees or distances off of plumb, along several different axis. And if you can borrow one, then use a run out dial gauge in order to measure the trueness of the rudder post, at a set distance above the lower bearing, & compare it to it's sister. Particularly while you have someone slowly turn the shaft. Plus, try this measurement at the top ends of the shafts also.

Not all of the measurements that you take will be the same, even accounting for the mirrored image thing. As few boats are built exactly the same. Even from one sistership to the next. But it'll help to give you some ideas anyway.

Ah, & BTW: Most of these tests are something which can (& perhaps should) be done by a pro. Especially if this is an insurance claim.
But it wouldn't at all hurt for you to do them as well, in addition to asking the pro, what he's doing, how he's doing it, why he's doing A & B. And also, why is he not doing tests C & D, etc. Both to the rudder, & shaft, but also to the hull, & other relevant structures in the area as well.

Given your description of the grounding, & that boats are designed to handle such things. Especially gentle ones, meaning at a low speed, & in soft sand. Then yeah, the odds are that you've just jammed up a bearing.

Before you pull a (or both) rudders, make sure that you (measure) mark; both with a marker pen AND with a scribe: The positions of any key hardware, in relation to it's mates. Ditto on the connecting linkage between the rudders, if any, & the vertical position of your quadrants, & that of their alignment, etc., etc.
Do the same regarding any cable or turnbuckle settings, measured with a micrometer & tape. Plus, the positions of things in the vertical alsol; given that most of the other measurements are primarily in the horizontal. -> And of course, log this for both rudders.

Too, I'd imagine that there are more than a couple of factory service manuals (or sections thereof) which cover how to; inspect, remove, & reinstall the rudders, & all of their hardware.
Which may help you to diagnose things, even before breaking out the toolbox. But it will definitely help a lot when you do. As will both a still camera, & a dedicated video camera/videographer.
Even just mounted on a tripod, they take Great visual, & narrative type notes.

Plus, the manual will give you all of the relevant dimensions & spec's on things. Such as the rudder's weight (obviously). Procedures to follow so that you don't wind up taking a shower in small, expensive pieces that are vital to your steering gear's operation. How to check if things are in proper alignment; top to bottom, as well as between both rudders, & other components of the boat's steering gear, etc.

Also, the manual will give you the spec's on the shaft, & the rudder's internals. Which will give you a better basis on which to form a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) as to whether or not things are awry, structurally.
As, for example, it lists the shaft as being 4" OD Stainless, then odds are that it's not bent (but some of the other structure might be).
Plus, if the innards are FUBAR, a schematic will give you a lot better idea of which bits to pay the closest attention to. As well as how hard fixing them may be.

As to dropping your rudder (proper):
There's a school of thought that says that as long as you're pulling one of them out, then it makes sense to do both. For a couple of reasons.
- It might be time to service both of them/their bearings, since you're hauled out anyway.
NOTE: In the interests of (CYA) preparation: Have a creative & logical reason for pulling them both, ready for your insurer. Well, okay, several such reasons (see below).
- Pulling both of them will give you a 2nd, non-damaged unit, right there, to compare things against. Both bearings & rudders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seasick View Post
My bet is it will be cheaper to replace than attempt to straighten it. There are a few good companies in the US that do nothing but make replacement rudders. These are surprisingly affordable, usually less than $2,500 and more often <$1,500 plus shipping.
I'm tending to agree with this POV. However, perhaps a more realistic number for a new rudder, including a stock & the other internal supporting structures, would run towards 3x the above quotes.
I say as much, based on what you see at places like www.PhilsFoils.com

You might also try doing some fishing for resources though the boat's builder (obviously). As well as with any charter companies that may, currently or in the past, have this model in their fleet. Because charter boats see plenty of hard service, so...
Plus, you may turn up some info & or contacts via, say, www.L-36.com & www.Forums.SailingAnarchy.com amongst others.
And, of course, any custom designer & or builder, will have a whole listing of resources covering this too.

That said, I'd REALLY like to know where to get a rudder built for a boat that size, including the custom metal work, etc., for $2K.
I'd put such into my phone's speed dial, like yesterday!

One other thing, & it's Key. Is that when talking to your insurer (assuming that you have one who covers such damages). Is to express concerns to them that the a grounding may have opened up cracks in the rudder (visible, & non). Which will allow water ingress, that'll create further (& more expensive to repair) damage, down the road. And that the possibility/probability of such, is a safety issue.
As that kind of damage sometimes only manifests itself during higher load conditions, such as heavier weather, etc.

And also that you may have bumped the other rudder unknowingly, in the midst of things, during the grounding. And that want to give it a 110% checkup too. For the same reasons.
Using, say, at a minimum, some of the more advanced Non-Destructive Testing out there. Be that by Thermal Imaging the blade, or other. And having the bearings & shaft properly inspected on it.
It's just a think

But then, most rudders, historically, start going bad, where their skins attach to the shaft, up top. So anything which might exacerbate the bond breaking down in this area bears attention... such as say, a grounding. You get the picture.
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Old 16-03-2016, 12:42   #10
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

PS: If you do change your mind, & decide to pull the rudder out while the boat's in the water. In addition to tying a strong rope onto the rudder. Also, suspend a large, strong, lightly colored piece of canvas underneath of the rudder. And ensure that it's down deeply enough so that there's clearance to extract the rudder, including the entire length of the shaft.
It's purpose being to act as a backup to the rope. And to catch any stray parts, should they inadvertently fall/get knocked out, when you remove the rudder.
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Old 16-03-2016, 13:42   #11
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

IF it has a solid shaft probably any propeller shop that also works on prop shafts can straigten it. Wouldn't count on any spec info from FP, but maybe.

Also, many rudders actually float, since they are usually foam filled, so you might have to actually add weight to it to drop it.
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Old 16-03-2016, 15:09   #12
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

It is a solid shaft. It can easily be removed in the water. Remove the pillow block, the tiller arm and push it out of the boat. It will sink if the foam is water logged it will float to the surface other wise. Check it closely for corrosion or damage at the top of the ruder. FP either still makes it or can. It can be shipped air freight from France. All of these responses come from first hand knowledge. :-)
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Old 16-03-2016, 17:59   #13
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

Thank you everyone for your contributions and advice.

Although the haul out and in will be fairly costly (>$300), I think it's best given it will be the first time I've taken apart one of these rudder systems.

I have attached a schematic of the system and it is a stainless steel rudder stock of 1.5" (39mm) thick and 5.2 ft long.
It seems surprising that a thick bar like this bent given that the reversing off the sandbank was very slow manoeuvring but it is long so perhaps it was the leverage - anyway we'll see when I remove it.

I will take measurements before I dismantle it but I hope the reassembly to get it aligned with the other rudder will be possible by visual clues, because you can't easily mark the top of stainless steel bar. I'm not going to take the other rudder off as it's motion is not particularly stiff and the boat is new only 2.5 years old.

I've ordered a new ercolyte bearing from France on urgent shipment so I plan to replace the existing one. I'm wondering if the stiffness is not caused by a bent stock but by dislocation and damage to the bearing. That would be great because getting the bar straightened is going to be a pain. I will probably have to cut the fiberglass rudder blade off so the machine shop can work on it. From what I can see of the drawings it looks like there are three 7.5" stainless fingers and a stainless steel sheet welded to the stock. It might take several weeks for this to be done before I can reassemble it. Then I will have to decide again whether to save money and try and put the repaired rudder back while in the water. I'm guessing the difficulty will be reinserting the lower bearing. I'll run a line down the column during removal to facilitate reassembly.

The stock straightening will cost about $90/hr, hopefully it's not a long job. Cutting open and re-bonding the rudder blade would be time consuming but maybe that's something I can do. Anyway I hope to do this properly but not throw money away. Won't be making an insurance claim I purposely set my deductible for only really serious problems, not learning curve mistakes.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Implantation Salina - Hélia - Saba.pdf (75.2 KB, 50 views)
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Old 16-03-2016, 21:06   #14
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainjay View Post
It is a solid shaft. It can easily be removed in the water. Remove the pillow block, the tiller arm and push it out of the boat. It will sink if the foam is water logged it will float to the surface other wise. Check it closely for corrosion or damage at the top of the ruder. FP either still makes it or can. It can be shipped air freight from France. All of these responses come from first hand knowledge. :-)
Most of the above makes sense. And one other thought occurred to me about this state of affairs.
It being, that perhaps theres a relatively simple change which can be made to things, so that this doesn't happen so easily in the future. As, realistically, a grounding of that small magnitude shouldn't necessitate a haulout, & some level of surgery, in order to fix it.
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Old 17-03-2016, 00:41   #15
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Re: Rudder stock is probably bent

My nephew and his bride have had a very good experience with this company. When they lost their Islander 30 spade rudder recently in the Aliinuihaha and steered into Maalai with their locked down servo-pendulum paddle. FOB Maui for <$2,000. They are injection molded plastic like those white cutting boards. I forget the correct name of the material. Rudder Craft Inc.
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