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Old 22-09-2010, 17:58   #1
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Rudder Bearings

My boat is a Sceptre 41. She is a fin keeled boat with a skeg hung rudder. She was built in 1985 so she is just turning 25 years old. As far as I know there has never been a Sceptre that has lost her rudder but .... I am preparing for an Atlantic Crossing. How long do rudder bearings last? It seems to me that I would be prudent in taking the rudder off and doing at the least a visual check on the bearings but while I have it all apart I would probably want to go ahead and replace the bearings. Has anyone ever taken apart a skeg hung rudder or know of a website that shows how it is done?
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Old 22-09-2010, 19:19   #2
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Here is a link to someone who took there rudder off with the boat still in the water. Rudder
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Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 23-09-2010, 00:55   #3
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G'Dy Charlie,

I think that you will find that this disassembly is specific to each boat's design, so no generic postulations will apply.

The bearings can be of different types: simple sleeve bearings usually made of some slippery plastic or perhaps scintered bronze ("Oilite"), and on to elaborate ball or needle bearings. I think that Harken manufactures some of the latter...
At any rate, the main issue will be to determine if they have worn to the point where there is too much slop in them. A simple shake test, in or out of the water, should give you an idea about this. But, catastrophic bearing failure is unlikely, so don't put too much worry into this one.

The larger issue is the shaft and the webbing inside the rudder blade. These are often made of stainless, and there are many reports of catastrophic failure in these items. There have been several threads on CF in the past few months relating to such things, and the bottom line is that there isn't any easy way to determine the internal condition of the rudder. The marque's known history of "no failures" is encouraging, tho'.

Good luck with your preparations, and good sailing

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Cairns, Qld Oz
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