Well, unfortunately I have some first hand experience for you...
We were in Scotland
at the beginning of the year and took a last minute diversion towards Lagavulin Distillery on Islay - and I didn't have the right pilot... went up on rocks - albeit gently - but got stuck there...
Whilst on the rocks we bumped and ground - nasty! Fortunately(?) a boat yard is situated right next to Lagavulin and they saw the whole event and came out in a rib
to assist. In the act of towing Toodle-oo! off the rocks, there was further significant bumping and grinding - to the extent that it actually bent the rudder
, jamming it hard against the hull
When (eventually) we got the boat out of the water (long story! Oh Bugger… | Toodle-oo!
), the damage to keel and rudder
(other than the bend in the rudder post) was minimal and patched up with some west system epoxy
. 10 minute job.
When you consider the size of the rudder stock - must be 5" diameter and 3/4" wall thickness 316 stainless, you can imagine the keel took a pretty severe hammering as it was dragged off the rocks.
As to the rudder bending... OK it's a spade and therefore it's susceptible to damage (especially around idiots like me). However, even though it delayed us 5 weeks while a brand new rudder was constructed and shipped to Scotland
, I'd take the advantages of a fin/spade arrangement over a long-keeler/skeg any day of the week.
Perhaps Merrie can confirm this but I suspect that when we bought the boat it had already taken a bit of a hit in the rudder. The gap between back of rudder and the hull was minimal when we took ownership
of the boat - but the new rudder sits well off the hull. Additionally, the replacement of the rudder and it's bearings has eliminated a significant amount of play in the rudder system - such that we nearly took the precaution of replacing bearings before leaving on our transatlantic crossing.
By the way, the rudder mounting arrangement is pretty neat and very simple - and would allow you (who knows why?) to drop the rudder while in the water - the lowest hole is above the waterline.
One more plug
for Outbound... Phil Lambert is a real sweetie. When we got into trouble he responded fantastically. Pretty good showing to get a new rudder delivered to us in just 5 weeks. Even though we are not the original owners of this boat, he treats us as if we were.
There are 4 Outbounds up for sale
currently - go buy one! You won't regret it!