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Old 22-06-2022, 19:44   #1
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Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

I'm looking at this sailboat for sale and it looks like there is some damage in front of the plate (rudder shoe?) where the rudder bolts to the keel. I'm trying to get an idea of whether it's a serious problem and how I might go about fixing it. The boat is a 1967 Bristol 27 and I believe the keel is solid fiberglass over lead.
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Old 23-06-2022, 06:23   #2
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Congratulations. Bristols are great boats and donít let one repair discourage you.
These tanks are built far stronger than most of the new plastic junk sold today.
The rudder shoes were originally cast bronze and thru bolted cross the keel...not through the lead, but through the glass. The repair is simple glass work. Remove the shoe. Repair the glass. Re bolt the shoe. The rudder weighs a lot so be careful. This is not brain surgery. Lots written on line and owners have figured out all the solutions to common repairs. Bristol never built a bad boat. Itís a keeper.
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Old 23-06-2022, 07:32   #3
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Mark again is right on the money w/his insightful comment.

Would contact the various Bristol Sailboat Owner's Association to find others w/Bristol 27s that have already done this repair.

It shouldn't be too hard to repair it, then it will be good for another 50 years.
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Old 23-06-2022, 07:40   #4
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Learned lots from contributors. What a great thread. Being plastic n iron I had no clue about the bronze.
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Old 23-06-2022, 08:26   #5
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Iím not sure Iíd call that damage. From the photos it looks like a dried up (large) caulk joint
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Old 23-06-2022, 08:43   #6
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Whether glass work or just caulking, there is a procedure to fix that. If you are not comfortable doing the fix, hire it out. Having to haul back out to fix a small mistake can be expensive.
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Old 23-06-2022, 09:03   #7
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

That may be marine growth or may be old caulking that was improperly oozed in to fill the gap... and way too thick a repair for caulking.
it wouldn't stop me from buying a boat, but that brass or bronze shoe appears a bit iffy, like maybe it is suffering electrolysis or something.
You'll never get those screws out. I'm not sure how that is built? It appears to be screwed to itself! Obviously there must be a plate embedded into the keel and that "shoe/gudgeon" is slipped over the plate and screwed on.
Getting it apart, having a new shoe cast etc etc may be expensive and time consuming.

BUT, if there is no degradation of the shoe, it's not much to fix the "goo" that's in there. A simple grinding/scraping of the shoe may tell if it's degraded or not.
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Old 23-06-2022, 13:22   #8
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

To my eye it looks like you're looking at a factory job where the fairing compound has peeled off of the shoe and the gap in front of it.
I don't like the looks of the way that gap has been filled and I would remove the shoe, clean and fill the gap and reassemble everything, covering with a final layer of epoxy fairing compound.
It should be relatively easy to take apart.
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Old 23-06-2022, 16:56   #9
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

You MAY have to drill those screws out if an impact driver (use a bit which fits the slots perfectly) doesnít back them out. I think they will back out. Remove the shoe, you may want to use an aluminum or bronze drift as you donít want to distort or damage the shoe if at all possible. Clean all the old bedding compound and what looks like caulk from the area. Chopped strand matting would be my choice to fair the area and fill the gap. Grind everything down so the shoe fits nicely. If you can reuse your old screws, great, if not use solid bronze rod. Just use a ball peen to form a head on one end, insert it and have someone buck the end with the newly formed head while you peen the other end over. If you take your time and do it properly it will last a lifetime.
My rudder has a one inch pin which rides in a recess in my bronze shoe. It is still solid with no play after 38 years. You MAY have something similar. Carefully inspect the components and remedy any problems before remounting the shoe.
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Old 23-06-2022, 17:17   #10
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion Jim View Post
You MAY have to drill those screws out if an impact driver (use a bit which fits the slots perfectly) doesnít back them out. I think they will back out.
If you can reuse your old screws, great, if not use solid bronze rod. Just use a ball peen to form a head on one end, insert it and have someone buck the end with the newly formed head while you peen the other end over. If you take your time and do it properly it will last a lifetime.
^ This.
(IIRC,) the heel fitting is tapped on the port side, with bronze FHMS inserted from starboard, (may have had nuts on the port side to "lock" the threads).
There is not an embedded internal plate, the fasteners are "thru-an-thru".
Regardless, Orion Jim has a good work-around.
The chances are that you'll not want to re-use the old machine screws, especially if they get deformed from an impact.
What you're looking at is not a terrible job, it looks worse than it is.
Once you grind back/remove the bottom pain in that area you'll see more plainly what's going on.
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Old 23-06-2022, 18:00   #11
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

That hunk of bronze will outlast you.

But realize this is an old boat. There will be lots of things like this to fix that may not be as obvious. If you buy the boat, I'd take this opportunity while fixing it to first remove the shoe and drop the rudder. The rudder shaft and all related hardware should be checked.

Also go over the chainplates and all standing rigging carefully. Expect to replace some of it. If you are dismasted because a shroud lets go, the cost of a new mast will likely exceed the value of the boat.
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Old 24-06-2022, 03:01   #12
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, hermit/2.
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Old 24-06-2022, 08:47   #13
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

If you remove the rudder shoe check it's condition carefully. I had one (different boat) that we broke in half by hand (after having a new one cast using the old as a template), it was much more corroded than it looked.


Either new or old I would also recommend drilling and tapping to put a zinc on the shoe.


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Old 25-06-2022, 06:09   #14
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Re: Can anyone tell me what the damage at this rudder/keel joint is?

Never seen a Bristol casting that was junk bronze or needed a zinc. Again, this is not rocket science. There is certainly enough do it yourself information on the web which is sufficient for most people to do this repair. Itís an old boat but simply much more seaworthy and stronger than a lot of current production boats.
Dear Original Poster. Do your research. Ask questions. Watch the pros do similar repairs. Take your time when you start. But please, learn to fix your own boat.
This repair will give you the skills and confidence to tackle other important jobs.
Even if you screw up, you will learn a lot about how to do it correctly. You wonít be a easy target for dishonest or shoddy workers. Youíll have more confidence when you know why your boat is safe to go to sea.
Donít get discouraged. Boatbuilders always make mistakes that stick out like a sore thumb in their eyes. Other boatbuilders just see a beautiful boat.
Welcome to the crew.
Happy trail to you.
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