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Old 12-01-2013, 19:54   #1
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Weeping Rudder

I have a 1984 Catalina 30. Last Spring I noticed that rust-colored was leaking out of the top of the rudder. My mantenance man said this Fall we should drill hoes in the rudder to let all of the water out and then, I assume, epoxy holes. I have read a lot of comments about this type of problem and I am wondering if I might be better off in the long run to just replace the rudder. Does anyone know what this would cost?



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Old 12-01-2013, 20:25   #2
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Re: Weeping Rudder

Is there a Catalina owners association? That's where I would start. I think replacement would be preferable to simply draining the water and epoxying the holes; that would give you no information about the structural integrity of the rudder.

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Old 12-01-2013, 20:44   #3
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Re: Weeping Rudder

The internal rudder frame is most often made out of mild steel which can disintegrate from corrosion. If you can't get a replacement ruddr, you may be able to take the rudder off, split it in half replace the frame, and reassemble it. I think the Catalina owners club ( - Home) would be the best resource for advice.
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Old 12-01-2013, 21:04   #4
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Re: Weeping Rudder

I don't know that rudder per se but many of that vintage are foam core and glass over a metal armature. A finished skin is what you see. Water intrusion into the matrix weakens the structure and the skin delaminates or, at least, water gets into the foam. Freeze-thaw (I assume winter storage) further wrecks the foam. You will get a little water out if you drill a "drain" but the foam is saturated and will never dry. I have a few rudder photos here.
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there are other photos of our repairs on Yahoo here.

My method was to take measurements and make templates. I dismantled most of the structure, leaving only the top and bottoem ends as markers to work towards. I built up the stock and metal ribs with glass and epoxy. I used plastic film as a release material and thin plywood backed by loose foam rubber and other materials to form the lower side of the rudder. The plywood was elevated so that the upper side of the rudder was level. I filled the cavity with a slurry of 3 gallons of US Composites #635 resin mixed with 10 gallons of their microballoons. The cured matrixhas a 3000 psi compressive strength and can be sanded. I faired the structure and had to add some troweled on slurry to fill low areas. My rudder is 3 feet X 6 feet and 6 inches thick at the stock. 30 gallons of slurry. When I was satisfied with the fairing, I paid a local marina service dept. to vacuum bag the rudder with carbon fiber skin.

THe epoxy and microballoon slurry is totally water-tight pretty much forever. I will never use foam or balsa fillers again, especially below water.
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Old 12-01-2013, 21:26   #5
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Re: Weeping Rudder

I just did a Google search for "repair of fiberglass rudder" and found plenty of good articles. Read as many as you can...
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Old 13-01-2013, 04:27   #6
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Re: Weeping Rudder

That's both, a common occurrence, and a common solution.

Catalina Direct lists rudders for the C30
Catalina Direct: Rudders

Likewise, Foss Foam manufactures sailboat rudders, including the C30. Standard Rudders

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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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