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Old 05-10-2011, 14:13   #1
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Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

Ran aground Sunday with a dropping tide. It could have gotten pretty shallow where I was. Walked around the boat; the sand was as hard as asphalt, and I didn't want that boat hobby horsing on the sand -- wasn't FAR from the channel (well, far enough @@) and didn't want a big wake to bang my rudder up, but I couldn't get the boat off.

So I called Boat US and they sent Bozo the Clown out.

I TOLD the guy where the deep water was, because I knew the path I took to that spot. He didn't listen, and took the boat off 90 degrees in another direction -- across a sand bar.

Apparently the sand bar was as hard as the sand I was on, the rudder caught and snapped the thing in two.

I've called FossFoam but get voice mail. A friend is giving me a bid on making a new rudder. Anyone know what buying from FossFoam is likely to cost me?

I have a 31' Hunter (with a brand new engine, but you'd be surprised how little help that is without a rudder ...)
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:53   #2
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Ran aground Sunday with a dropping tide. It could have gotten pretty shallow where I was. Walked around the boat; the sand was as hard as asphalt, and I didn't want that boat hobby horsing on the sand -- wasn't FAR from the channel (well, far enough @@) and didn't want a big wake to bang my rudder up, but I couldn't get the boat off.

So I called Boat US and they sent Bozo the Clown out.

I TOLD the guy where the deep water was, because I knew the path I took to that spot. He didn't listen, and took the boat off 90 degrees in another direction -- across a sand bar.

Apparently the sand bar was as hard as the sand I was on, the rudder caught and snapped the thing in two.

I've called FossFoam but get voice mail. A friend is giving me a bid on making a new rudder. Anyone know what buying from FossFoam is likely to cost me?

I have a 31' Hunter (with a brand new engine, but you'd be surprised how little help that is without a rudder ...)

Question 2:

A friend will be giving me a bid on him building a rudder for me. He knows what he's doing but I'm still concerned that it will be BIG BUX.

The rudder is nearly broken off about a foot below the top (there's a piece of bent metal holding it at a right angle at the break). Someone has suggested drilling through the pressurized foam along the length of the rudder. He says that reinforcing rods can be epoxied in and estimates that this would be about $500.

I'm really tapped out after the new engine install and all the extra associated expenses with that, but the cylindrical post that runs down the middle of the rudder was rusted on the inside when it broke.

Anyone ever hear of using reinforcing rods? It would be re-faired of course. I'm just not in a position for a four-digit new rudder right after replacing the engine.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:04   #3
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

Why not do the job yourself? It is not rocket science. Pull the rudder, go to your friendly scrap metal yard and scrounge for a whole bunch of Stainless flat bar or rod, fashion a cage of metal - ask a friend to weld it up for you if you can't weld, make a plywood mould and pour in 2 part urethane foam. Shape the foam with a body file then glass the whole thing over. If you're not sure about how much steel to use, make it stronger, a little extra weight here will not matter. Failing all that, there's nothing wrong with a laminated plywood rudder, except that the cost of the marineply may knock the budget.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:18   #4
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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Why not do the job yourself? It is not rocket science. Pull the rudder, go to your friendly scrap metal yard and scrounge for a whole bunch of Stainless flat bar or rod, fashion a cage of metal - ask a friend to weld it up for you if you can't weld, make a plywood mould and pour in 2 part urethane foam. Shape the foam with a body file then glass the whole thing over. If you're not sure about how much steel to use, make it stronger, a little extra weight here will not matter. Failing all that, there's nothing wrong with a laminated plywood rudder, except that the cost of the marineply may knock the budget.

Thanks, but I'm not Zeehag and I simply don't have those skills. But it sounds as if you see reinforcing that center shaft with steel bar is not crazy off the moon? I understand the concepts -- fairing the curves, etc. I don't want to just by a "right-size" rudder from a salvage yard because this rudder's shape was clearly perfect for this boat. She just goes like all get out when the wind, balance, sail trim, etc. are right. We got her up to a sustained 7.3 knots in wind not heavy enough to think about reefing. The boat likes to go, and I don't want to have a differently shaped rudder.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:22   #5
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

I would venture to guess that a new rudder from foss foam would be 4k. I inquired about one for my boat about 3 years ago. It was cracked but not bent. I instead pulled the rudder and reglassed and sealed it. Was pretty easy.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:25   #6
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

If you don't have big bucks to care for a yacht. Then you have to learn these skills. My boat is wood, and I have learned a ton owning her. Rebuilt rudder, rebuilt cockpit floor, rebuild chain locker, painter her completely outside, wiring, electrical panels, solar panels with charger, and the list goes on. If I did not start learning. I would've had to sell her a very long time ago.

My first boat I installed the motor, windlass, deckhardware, arches, and this list goes on. It's the only way an average person can keep a boat in good working order is by learning. Think it over, or you'll be sending someone elses kid to college.......i2f
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:28   #7
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

Nearly all of the rudder's strength lies in the outer fiberglass skin. You could piece the old rudder back together, use a few rods just to keep the alignment right, and lay on, say, four layers of 9 oz glass cloth all over. Sand and fair. You'll keep your rudder shape, though the overall dimensions might grow by 3/16" thickness all around. . . . You're looking at maybe $100 in materials, and 6 hours labor.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:29   #8
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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Originally Posted by S/V_Surya View Post
I would venture to guess that a new rudder from foss foam would be 4k. I inquired about one for my boat about 3 years ago. It was cracked but not bent. I instead pulled the rudder and reglassed and sealed it. Was pretty easy.

Thank you. That's the price I've been coming up with also.

Partly it's that $4K is just a lot of money.

But as I say, I just put a new engine in my boat -- 3 cylinder, 20 hp. Managed to fit it in the small engine compartment, which used to hold a 2 cyl, 13 HP engine.

That engine was around $6500. So I look at the complexities of an engine, as well as the cost of the materials and labor, and then I look at the rudder ...

and $4k just doesn't make a lick of sense.

If it HAS to be, it HAS to be. But if a repaired rudder would last ten years -- I'm almost 66. That would probably be long enough, or I could deal with it then.

One guy wants to just take it one step at a time, which gives me no idea of what it will cost. Another friend wants to make a new one for me. If that comes in at $1k or less I can live with that, but ... this pricing just makes no sense to me at all.

Then of course I have to pay someone to reinstall it. I don't have those skills and it's too important for this to be a "learning experience" for me.

My concern is that I want that rudder to be strong enough to not suddenly break off from the forces on it in a storm.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:31   #9
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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If you don't have big bucks to care for a yacht. Then you have to learn these skills. My boat is wood, and I have learned a ton owning her. Rebuilt rudder, rebuilt cockpit floor, rebuild chain locker, painter her completely outside, wiring, electrical panels, solar panels with charger, and the list goes on. If I did not start learning. I would've had to sell her a very long time ago.

My first boat I installed the motor, windlass, deckhardware, arches, and this list goes on. It's the only way an average person can keep a boat in good working order is by learning. Think it over, or you'll be sending someone elses kid to college.......i2f

Well, no -- there's another option, and that is to pick the brains of knowledgeable people and manage the cost intelligently. I think you people (male and female) who already have those skills may not realize the VAST fund of skills and experience you have to draw on.

I'm very glad that you can do all those things, but I don't have your vast fund of skills and experience. The choice for me is to pick the best combination of money and safety for me. I do not think I should start out by building my own rudder, which could save me or put me in great peril in the wrong circumstances.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:32   #10
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

When TOW BOAT damaged my boat. They paid me to repair it myself. They weren't even towing me. I was tied to the dock, and they hit me. Are they accepting no blame after you pointed out the way? I would think they carry some responsibility?........i2f
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:33   #11
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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Nearly all of the rudder's strength lies in the outer fiberglass skin. You could piece the old rudder back together, use a few rods just to keep the alignment right, and lay on, say, four layers of 9 oz glass cloth all over. Sand and fair. You'll keep your rudder shape, though the overall dimensions might grow by 3/16" thickness all around. . . . You're looking at maybe $100 in materials, and 6 hours labor.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!!! There are no bad ideas here, just things that help me consider my options intelligently.

Cormorant, after putting reinforcing rods in, couldn't we make copies of the curve, THEN sand it down enough to leave room for more fiberglass? I should tell you that we were shocked to see that actual edge of the fiberglass. it wasn't more than two layers thick, and ... I've seen fiberglass worked with. It might have been only one. In addition, it looked like chopped fiberglass strands, not sheets of woven fiberglass.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:34   #12
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

I didn't have these skills either, they need to be learned as you go. Seems now that money is tight is a good time to start?.........i2f
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:42   #13
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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When TOW BOAT damaged my boat. They paid me to repair it myself. They weren't even towing me. I was tied to the dock, and they hit me. Are they accepting no blame after you pointed out the way? I would think they carry some responsibility?........i2f

Legally, a collision is different than a towing aincident. In the collision, you did nothing to bring that boat close to you. You were "collateral damage."

When they tow you, you have to sign a waiver. I started things in motion by not reading the channel properly. You can tell the captain anything you want, but they use their best judgment. For instance, the second Boat us guy to come out (long story) told me that they never "wake" a boat off, although an obliging power boater tried that for me, because often the boat just rocks back and forth -- endangering the rudder. I actually felt the boat lift -- but not enough.

Clearly this guy's "best judgment" was lacking.

It's my word against the first towboat whether I told him to take the boat out where I came in.

Lots of things I will do differently next time, primary one being to use a pole to find the deep way out myself before calling for help (assuming I can't get her off myself).

No, they're not liable, but they did take me to an emergency stop, and they're going to tow me to my home marina at no charge. That's as good as it's going to get with Boat US.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:47   #14
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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I didn't have these skills either, they need to be learned as you go. Seems now that money is tight is a good time to start?.........i2f

Not on such an important part of the boat. Not on a part that could save my life or help kill me in a storm. I'll be there as it's repaired, and help with that, since whoever does it will be a friend, but me do it? No. VERY bad plan.

I appreciate your confidence in me, but I assure you -- it is misplaced.

So I want to nudge the train back on track. Does anyone have concerns with putting vertical rods in the shaft, fiberglassing it and re-fairing it (along with anything else necessary, for instance, to eliminate its unexpected 90 degree bend -- grin).
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:55   #15
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Re: Bozo the Clown Broke My Rudder

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... couldn't we make copies of the curve, THEN sand it down enough to leave room for more fiberglass?
In my experience you can't (or at least, I can't) sand a surface like that evenly. You'll get dips and high spots, which will lead to turbulence in the flow over the rudder surface. Much easier to just lay on a new surface over the old. I wouldn't worry about the increased thickness. You'll still have the NACA foil profile, which is what gives the rudder lift to steer. You'll have a slightly increased drag, but really pretty negligible on a boat of that size. I think the speed loss might be somewhere in the range of 0.05 knot. (Just a wild guess.)

This sort of project is actually FUN for us tinkering types. I envy you!

Good luck!
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