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Old 03-07-2012, 15:16   #1
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Extending Rudder Shaft

I am hoping to do away with the rudder stuffing box.

My idea is to fiberglass in an extended rudder tube. The tube would run from the existing rudder shaft tube, to the underside of the cockpit and would be fully water-tight. I would like to make this modification, because it's the only reason I need to access the below cockpit area and I am hoping to fill the area below the cockpit with flotation foam. Further, no stuffing box is one less point of failure and leaks. Additionally, the entire tiller head base and rudder shaft would be greatly strengthened.

I've attached an image of my plan to this post. The red lines indicate where the shaft tube will be extended. (Please excuse the old image as well as being slightly out of focus; it was the best image I had at this time)

I don't really see why this plan wouldn't work. I'm wondering if I'm missing something. For example, perhaps the the stuffing box provides some kind of lubrication required for turning the rudder?
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Old 03-07-2012, 15:56   #2
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

Most every tiller steered boat I've looked at has a solid fiberglass tube from hull to deck and no stuffing box. Usually find stuffing boxes on boats with steering quadrants.

John
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Old 03-07-2012, 16:09   #3
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

FYI: every cubic foot of foam only gets you 64 lb of bouyancy. Usually it is useless in keeping you from sinking..... especially on a ballasted sailboat!
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:56   #4
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

Quote:
Originally Posted by bristol27 View Post
I am hoping to do away with the rudder stuffing box.

My idea is to fiberglass in an extended rudder tube. The tube would run from the existing rudder shaft tube, to the underside of the cockpit and would be fully water-tight. I would like to make this modification, because it's the only reason I need to access the below cockpit area and I am hoping to fill the area below the cockpit with flotation foam. Further, no stuffing box is one less point of failure and leaks. Additionally, the entire tiller head base and rudder shaft would be greatly strengthened.

I've attached an image of my plan to this post. The red lines indicate where the shaft tube will be extended. (Please excuse the old image as well as being slightly out of focus; it was the best image I had at this time)

I don't really see why this plan wouldn't work. I'm wondering if I'm missing something. For example, perhaps the the stuffing box provides some kind of lubrication required for turning the rudder?
The "proper" way to do it is with a stuffing box, which is why Bristol built the rudders that way. Some boats did have tubes that rose above the waterline and no stuffing box, the Pearson Triton is one that comes to mind, but you can get water spurting out of the top when the boat is sailing hard. Further, the stuffing box provides support for the rudder post which the tube would not.

Finally as has been said already, you will not get enough buoyancy out of that small area to help float your boat and the space could be used for stowage, for line, fenders, water, fuel; all kinds of stuff.
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Old 10-07-2012, 16:13   #5
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

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Originally Posted by FloridaWriter View Post
The "proper" way to do it is with a stuffing box, which is why Bristol built the rudders that way. Some boats did have tubes that rose above the waterline and no stuffing box, the Pearson Triton is one that comes to mind, but you can get water spurting out of the top when the boat is sailing hard. Further, the stuffing box provides support for the rudder post which the tube would not.

Finally as has been said already, you will not get enough buoyancy out of that small area to help float your boat and the space could be used for stowage, for line, fenders, water, fuel; all kinds of stuff.
Why is it "proper"? Bristol made the Caravel 22 with a solid tube from hull to cockpit.

http://www.bristolowners.org/22/B22lineHi.jpg

If the stuffing box were hard mounted on the rudder tube I could see it providing some support, but mounted on the end of a rubber hose I don't see it providing much support.

I've seen many boats with a solid tube with no stuffing box, including my Cal 40.

I do agree one will need to fill a lot more of the boat with foam before you get anywhere trying to make it float.

John
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Old 10-07-2012, 16:20   #6
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaWriter View Post
Further, the stuffing box provides support for the rudder post which the tube would not.
Geez, how hard is it to get a couple of Vesconite (or similar) bearings spun up and put in..
In mine we even put a groove for an O ring on the top bearing to solve your water squirting, not that I ever saw it happen on my last boat, even when it hit the all time high of 25.? knots

It also looks like the post on the bristol is facing backwards, so unless it is travelling at great speed in reverse I cant see how spurting could ever be an issue.
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Old 10-07-2012, 16:30   #7
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

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Originally Posted by FloridaWriter View Post
The "proper" way to do it is (...)

Further, the stuffing box provides support for the rudder post which the tube would not.
Actually, using the stuffing box to deliver any support is what I will label 'not-proper'.

The support is from the cutlas (or other) bearing, below the stuffing box. The stuffing box only seals the top entry.

A tube all the way is 100% OK - it will have a bearing at each end.

b.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:19   #8
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

None of my boats had a cutlass bearing on the rudder shaft, I dont remember one with a bearing (other than the packing) at the top either..I know some of the high tech boats have it. When the boat is hobbyhorsing in chop, I suppose it could spurt water. What is the goal of the foam? You're going to need about 135 cubic feet of it just to be neutral bouyant without anything aboard.... and then the boat wont float flat, more likely bow up or stern up....
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:35   #9
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

I just did this exact same job to a 23'er that I have.For the same reasons.
I used 2'ID abs , glassed over it and popped it in with epoxy.
Now I can sit on the deck with a tiller extension instead of squatting in the "cockpit".
And the bilge has gone dry.
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Old 16-07-2012, 09:29   #10
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

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Originally Posted by cal40john View Post
Why is it "proper"? Bristol made the Caravel 22 with a solid tube from hull to cockpit.

http://www.bristolowners.org/22/B22lineHi.jpg

If the stuffing box were hard mounted on the rudder tube I could see it providing some support, but mounted on the end of a rubber hose I don't see it providing much support.

I've seen many boats with a solid tube with no stuffing box, including my Cal 40.

I do agree one will need to fill a lot more of the boat with foam before you get anywhere trying to make it float.

John
The 22 was a Sailstar boat, one that Clint Pearson acquired prior to begin building his own boats. All Bristol built boats, meaning boats designed and built by Bristol from 1966 onward were built with rudder post stuffing boxes, as far as I know.
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Old 16-07-2012, 09:32   #11
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Actually, using the stuffing box to deliver any support is what I will label 'not-proper'.

The support is from the cutlas (or other) bearing, below the stuffing box. The stuffing box only seals the top entry.

A tube all the way is 100% OK - it will have a bearing at each end.

b.
I've never heard of a cutlass bearing being used for a rudder post.
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Old 16-07-2012, 09:55   #12
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

My C & C 31ft Redwing had full tube with bronze bushings pressed in top and bottom.
Delrin washer to carry rudder weight.
Worked great.
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Old 16-07-2012, 13:36   #13
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Re: Extending Rudder Shaft

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Originally Posted by FloridaWriter View Post
The 22 was a Sailstar boat, one that Clint Pearson acquired prior to begin building his own boats. All Bristol built boats, meaning boats designed and built by Bristol from 1966 onward were built with rudder post stuffing boxes, as far as I know.
Quote:
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I've never heard of a cutlass bearing being used for a rudder post.
OK so I don't know the details of where all the Bristols came from and someone mis-spoke about the kind of bearing you would use, though he did say "or other", but we still don't know why it is proper and how a stuffing box helps support the rudder tube. You have neglected to answer the actual how and why it would make a difference.

John
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Old 16-07-2012, 13:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaWriter

I've never heard of a cutlass bearing being used for a rudder post.
Our rudder pivots on a bronze pin at the bottom with a cutlass bearing to support the top, the water is held at bay by a stuffing box. On my previous boat ( a Pearson vanguard) the rudder post had a pivot at the bottom and a fiberglass tube from hull to bottom of the cockpit with a cutlass inside to support the top of the rudder post. I only had water appear through this arrangement 1 time. I was not surprised to see the water.
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