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Old 23-01-2009, 22:15   #1
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A cup of water came out of the rudder

I drilled a small hole near the bottom of the rudder on our new-to-us Beneteau 50. About a cup of water came out. (I didn't measure it, just an estimate.) Question is, now what? Do I seal it back up and forget about it, or do I need to take it apart and look into what the rudder looks like on the inside?

I know there are some cracks near the top where the water might have come in. I know I'll have to address that.

Guidance appreciated. Boat is on the hard on Long Island, NY until spring.

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Old 24-01-2009, 01:18   #2
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I am no expert and,

If it were my boat.

If the water was rusty colored I'd be concerned and want to investigate welding of the web to the rudder post. If it was more or less colorless I would let it drain for the winter, seal the top cracks and put some flexible sealer around the rudder post so water can't get in there and make certain you patch your drain hole before launching. Each time you haul drill another drain hole to determine if there is still water ingress.

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Old 24-01-2009, 02:03   #3
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Hi Bene505,

Trying to keep water out of any grp rudder is not easy and a single cup is, IMHO, nothing to worry about. I'd leave it to drain for as long as you can then plug your hole with an epoxy bog. Take the advice above and simply reseal your cracks using a flexible sealant - especailly between stock and glass.

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Old 24-01-2009, 04:45   #4
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Take a dremel tool and grind out a bit of glass where the stock enters the rudder and refill with 5200.

The hole in the bottom will weep water all winter, especially if the sun hits the rudder and warms it up. It hard to epoxy it closed with the water weeping out. You may have to make a small tapered wood plug and coat it with epoxy then drive it in place.

As mentioned before, don't worry too much about it, although if you are in a cold enough climate to freeze the saltwater in the rudder, it may crack the glass as it expands--get that boat to the tropics ASAP.
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Old 25-01-2009, 13:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
...if you are in a cold enough climate to freeze the saltwater in the rudder, it may crack the glass as it expands--get that boat to the tropics ASAP.

Now that's some good advice! We are pretty embedded in the north east US right now, with 4 kids, school, sports, job, etc.
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Old 25-01-2009, 13:53   #6
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I wish I had read this earlier before drilling, I didn't capure a sample of the water coming out. Next year...

Thanks for the advice on the other parts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
I am no expert and,

If it were my boat.

If the water was rusty colored I'd be concerned and want to investigate welding of the web to the rudder post. If it was more or less colorless I would let it drain for the winter, seal the top cracks and put some flexible sealer around the rudder post so water can't get in there and make certain you patch your drain hole before launching. Each time you haul drill another drain hole to determine if there is still water ingress.

Regards,

JohnL
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Old 25-01-2009, 13:58   #7
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John, Swagman and Don, thanks for the advice.
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Old 25-01-2009, 14:27   #8
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Good luck Bene 505
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Old 27-01-2009, 12:06   #9
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I WOULD worry. Some water means water is getting in and can cause delamination, (last time I checked, water freezes and expands up north), crevice corrosion and/or complete failure. The sooner you really fix it...the less $$'s you will spend and the less you will be at risk. Sailing around LIS...worst case you could throw an anchor and call TowBoat. Elsewhere...you could have big problems. Draining the water out, sealing it up and hoping for the best is no solution.
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Old 28-01-2009, 14:06   #10
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Cam,

What do you suggest? I'm thinking you are saying to cut into the rudder and visually inspect the internal metal for signs of corrosion. Maybe pick 2 spots and inspect?

By the way, I did not notice the area at the top of the rudder where I think the water came in, at the haul-out/survey last July. I'll have to dig up a copy of the survey.

Regards,
Brad

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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I WOULD worry. Some water means water is getting in and can cause delamination, (last time I checked, water freezes and expands up north), crevice corrosion and/or complete failure. The sooner you really fix it...the less $$'s you will spend and the less you will be at risk. Sailing around LIS...worst case you could throw an anchor and call TowBoat. Elsewhere...you could have big problems. Draining the water out, sealing it up and hoping for the best is no solution.
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Old 28-01-2009, 16:22   #11
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You should worry... this was previously discussed..

If the rudder stock is stainless, then there are likely tabs welded to the stock which is what makes the rudder turn rather than just the shaft turning inside the rudder. Welded stainless is highly susceptible to failure in a wet closed environment. Additionally the welds are seldom real good due to lack of welding knowledge by the average low price bidder...and the rudder stock soaks up too much heat compared with the flat plate being welded to it. This results in little penetration into the stock itself. You need to (short version): Neatly cut away one whole side of the rudder fiberglass with a skill saw about 3-4 inches in from the edge. Save that piece. Scrape out all the foam if yours is soft foam filled. Let it dry real good. Inspect the welds to the stock, or have someone knowledgeable inspect them. (many are no good to start with) Drill 2 large holes in the top of the rudder. Grind a taper all around on the piece you cut out and the rudder itself... maybe 3-4 inches wide. Glass the panel back in where it came from. Fill the rudder completely with epoxy foam mix. (non water aborbing type) using the two holes you drilled in the top of the rudder. I would estimate that half the boats out there need this done if they were not epoxy foamed to start with. In the water that filled rudder will weigh very little extra really.
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Old 28-01-2009, 16:24   #12
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By the way, my surveyor found one of two rudders on my catamaran was wet and the repair was paid for. it was easy to tell on a cat by comparing the sound of the two rudders when tapped with a hammer.
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Old 28-01-2009, 16:44   #13
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So that procedure is to inspect the weld and the stainless overall. What happens if there are problems with the welds? Is that a full ruddeer replacement or a fix by a welder?

Boat is a year 2000. Not sure if that's relevant here.
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Old 28-01-2009, 16:53   #14
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Depending on access, you can have it ground clean and rewelded. You may have to remove the rudder from the boat to get good welds.... Ask the welder. Some welds look good.... even "pretty".... but do not penetrate into the round rudder stock from the git go. as far as damage, a wire brush and a good eye especially at the edges of the weld. Look for undercutting (unfilled melted away area) at the weld raw stock interface, look closely (magnifying glass) for mini cracks etc. You can buy some Zyglo or Penetrant Inspection fluid and really look at it good with a black light. (Graingers? or a weld supply place) But a trained eye might be just as good. In a perfect world get a welder in to weld gussets on the side of the tab to rudder shaft, for the ultimate fix! This rudder job is not as bad as it sounds, but like all boat work, can be more work than you think! If the boat is in the yeard, you could have the side panel off the rudder in 1.5 hours or so.
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Old 28-01-2009, 17:02   #15
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Check the rudder stock very carefully at the top of the rudder blade as well as the weld. If the stock shows any signs of work hardening or crevice corrosion it will need to be replaced. The area just at the top of the rudder blade (between the rudder blade and the lower bearing) is where most stock failures occur in spade rudders. Use of a dye penetrant can help with the inspection of that area.
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