35-2 of 1979 vintage.
On a coastal cruise
last week we anchored with stern tied to the shore, anchor
dragged during the night and we ended up bumping the aft bottom corner of the rudder
blade into the rocks twice before we could get away. There is some visible damage on that corner, about half an inch.
Several days later we were driving her upwind fairly hard, at 20 degrees heel into a 25 knot wind
and some 6' chop, and noticed that the tiller fitting in the cockpit
is moving sideways about 1/16"-1/8" and every once in a few seconds the rudder
post makes a rather loud knocking sound. The knocking disappeared when the wave action subsided. The movement stayed. Actually steering
was fine and dandy all along.
When I was looking for the source of those knocks, I did not see any cracks on the rudder post tube, although I could only see it from one side. Saw the rudder gland leaking water
(thin continuous streak) into the bilge
when underway. Found a thread somewhere on Ericson
owners' forum, basically advising to pump the rudder post full of grease through a Zerk fitting to stop that.
What would you do about all this if you were me? The obvious answer is "haul out, drop rudder, fix the rudder blade damage and whatever allows the rudder to move around". Question is, do I have to do it before I do any more sailing?