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Old 28-09-2010, 03:35   #1
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DIY Rudder Build

Hey guys. Here is my attempt at making a rudder for my dads 25 foot trailer sailer. My dad snapped it off by reversing up the driveway with it down. The boat is 25 foot long and about 1500kg the keel is 500kg on its own. The original rudder was only 2.5 foot long (water depth) and with some weather helm you would be sailing with it at 30 degrees which cant be good for speed or anything for that matter. So I added an extra foot to the new rudder. Obviously there are heaps of variables to how long the rudder should be but, surely 2.5 foot is way too small for a 25 foot 1500kg boat?

I realize this is going to make me look pretty clueless but thats OK

I have never used fiberglass before, or micro balloons or epoxy and in general just went at it to have a go. So please feel free to tell me all the things I done wrong so next time I can do em better. I sort of figured out a few things I done wrong all on my own anyway. Like glassing the whole rudder in one go! That ended up with a lot of wrinkled glass and way too much resin. I went and got a new orbital sander and that made short work of roughly smoothing it to get rid of the high spots even if I did sand through glass.

How much could I have expected a pro to build a rudder replacement for this?

My mate Wes and I done this over a few day and many beers. We started by screwing 2 pieces of 15mm marine ply and cutting out the shape of the old rudder and added 1 foot to the length. We then undone the screws and epoxied the 2 pieces together,holding it together with screws again.

We removed the screws and power planed it to approximate the foil shape and finished the shaping it with my new electrical orbital sander. The foil shape wont win any races as its just by eye. How important is this? This boat is an old clunker anyhow.

Nice work shed.



Nice work boots.



We then coated the whole lot in glass and epoxy in a very unprofessional manner (many beers had been consumed by this stage). I drilled a larger hole than required for the pivot pin and filled that with micro spheres so that when the whole is re drilled no wood is exposed to keep water out. I then sanded off the high spots and used west system micro spheres to fair it and sanded again. For the last few little imperfections I just used builders bog as I was sick of waiting 24 hours before I could sand the epoxy.

Nice work bench



Nice glassing job :P





Nothing a sander cant fix.. at least aesthetically. The glass is just for abrasion and water protection anyway not strength.



Roughly foil shaped. I did try to make it even in the sanding and planing stage by looking at the layers of ply as I removed material.



You can see the size difference.



Now its ready to undercoat and paint.
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:11   #2
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I think your mate Wes and you done pretty good.
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Old 28-09-2010, 10:19   #3
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Nice work. And only a true salt lays them on the wife's white sofa for the photo.
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Old 28-09-2010, 11:25   #4
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Looks great, you should be pleased with it's performance as well.
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Old 28-09-2010, 17:29   #5
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Thanks. Any ideas on how much a boat builder might have charged to make something like this? I cant believe the hours that went into it. Sure gives and idea on how much work it would be to build a whole boat.
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Old 28-09-2010, 18:07   #6
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Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
Thanks. Any ideas on how much a boat builder might have charged to make something like this? I cant believe the hours that went into it. Sure gives and idea on how much work it would be to build a whole boat.
it would have cost extra because it's not just a rudder--it's a turbo rudder.
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Old 28-09-2010, 18:43   #7
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now ya gotta build a trim tab windvane for it..<G>
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Old 28-09-2010, 21:27   #8
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G'Day Dennis,

First, good onya for trying it on yourselves... an attitude not often seen in the modern sailing world.

The only small thing I'd suggest is that microballons are not so good for load bearing (as in your pivot pin hole). They do tend to crush easily, so that something like West's high density filler would be better next time.

Let us know how it goes, please.

Cheers,
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Michaelmas Cay Qld Oz
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Old 28-09-2010, 22:09   #9
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So, you frequent these parts as well Dennis. If I made you blade, it would have taken an hour to loft and rough cut the profile. An hour each side to plane it to shape, an hour to 'glass it, an hour to fair it and drill out the pivot and lanyard holes, then a quick paint job in another hour. That's 6 hours total to do it it your way (which as you know I would have protested about), plus materials and frustration factor if you gave me a hard time. so, you'd be looking at about $350 in labor. I would have talked you into some extras too, like leading edge reinforcement, bushings, Teflon disks for the pivot area, etc. This is still cheaper then the HDPE replacement blades you can get from West Marine and other outlets.
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Old 28-09-2010, 22:58   #10
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Cheers Jim. I will see if the micro balloons hold up. I will use something stronger next time. The pin actually doesn't have any load on it besides when you loosen it to raise or lower the rudder. When its up or when its down you crank a bar welded to the nut that screws onto the pin and the stock squeezes the rudder tight. There are no ropes or anything that hold it up or down. This bar came loose and the rudder dropped and that is why it broke when reversing it up the driveway.

Yeah Par. I think Cruisers and Boatdesign.net complement each other nicely. Its good to see what the builders designers, users and cruisers all think You helped me already on here in my thread regarding varnishing the tiller on my girlfriends yacht.

For the prices you quote I would have just paid you to do it and had a better rudder for not much less money. But everything in AU seems to costs twice that of the US.

Considering I could work a days overtime for $400, and it has taken me a few days to make this thing, it hasn't really been all that economical plus I had to spend like $250 in materials. I had to buy heaps more than I needed as I just couldn't buy small amounts of some stuff like sheets of 15mm marine ply. But now I have a heap of spare materials. I have learnt something and it was actually fun at times. I enjoy building stuff.
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Old 29-09-2010, 07:55   #11
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Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
... Considering I could work a days overtime for $400, and it has taken me a few days to make this thing, it hasn't really been all that economical plus I had to spend like $250 in materials ...
... I have learnt something and it was actually fun at times. I enjoy building stuff.
I’ve had many clients tell me that it’s much cheaper for them to pay me to do it right; whilst they do what they do, for even higher wages than they’re paying me.
As you also intimate, it's not JUST about the money.
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Old 29-09-2010, 08:59   #12
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Pros buy materials in bulk and they also work more efficiently than a one time builder. That's where they make money on you.

But your new rudder looks super duper and you have fun building it. So, moneywise, it is only up to how much you VALUE the fun factor.

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Old 29-09-2010, 10:14   #13
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I'll second what Gord has said. The frustration factor, not knowing exactly how to accomplish things, not having the tools, supplies, materials, a reasonable place to work, etc., all conspiring against the back yard repair being cheaper then having a pro do it.

A recent example is a seat to one of my daysailor designs. I built the boat a couple of years ago, an open cockpit 18' daysilor. He capsized her in a thunderstorm and the aft seat floated off, never to be seen again. It was a 30" x 24" trunticated wedge shape, made of 3/8" Ocoume. It had two pieces of Douglas fir glued under it to offer lateral support and a curved piece of oak along the front edge to match the transom radius. Of course the seat top had a piece of 8 ounce cloth on it and the whole thing at least 3 coats of epoxy. My replacement was again 9 mm Ocoume, though out of my scrap bin from a previous decking job. The two lateral pieces also out of the scrap bin and SYP this time. These are two pieces that would have gone in my fireplace this winter. The curved piece was a 6 layer laminate from cut offs at the table saw, that needed a home. The cloth came from a bag of scraps I keep for just such instances.

The laminating and coating part of this job where preformed when I was doing other jobs, I just mixed a little extra goo. I sent this out the door with an epoxy primer and faired up reasonably well, knowing he was going to paint it. I even penciled in the textured area with the same corner radiuses I used on the original, so he knew where to put the tape. I charged $100 and he had it in about a week. He couldn't touch the materials alone for that money, as he'd have to buy at least a half sheet of plywood and $80 of epoxy from the local West Marine. He called and mentioned this last week and I explained what I just typed.
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Old 29-09-2010, 14:25   #14
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My experience with projects that looked like they were too big for me is that 9 out of 10 were in fact quite doable, and 8 out of the 9 were full success.

I simply do not attach myself to the idea that something has to be like this or that (I mean exactly like the old thing). Some improvisation and some following the material rather than forcing it to become what we imagine (over-imagine?) goes a long way.

This attitude cannot be accepted at times, and that's where I will hire a pro and pay and arm and a leg to get the thing exactly what it is meant to be.

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Old 29-09-2010, 14:32   #15
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I charged $100 and he had it in about a week. He couldn't touch the materials alone for that money, as he'd have to buy at least a half sheet of plywood and $80 of epoxy from the local West Marine. He called and mentioned this last week and I explained what I just typed.
Quote:
I’ve had many clients tell me that it’s much cheaper for them to pay me to do it right; whilst they do what they do, for even higher wages than they’re paying me.
Quote:
Pros buy materials in bulk and they also work more efficiently than a one time builder. That's where they make money on you.
True true and true.

Quote:
As you also intimate, it's not JUST about the money
Quote:
But your new rudder looks super duper and you have fun building it. So, moneywise, it is only up to how much you VALUE the fun factor.
However thats true as well. If I want to build a boat one day I need some experience, and its always good to know how to fix/build stuff. I for one hold the physical ability to produce nice things on the tools higher than academical office jobs. Though I admire design. I done all my own home renovations and I have even had a car I built on the cover of a magazine recently. So paying someone to build a rudder was out of the question anyway. Even if it is an expensive lemon.
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