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Old 18-05-2017, 06:30   #1
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Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

Hello all,

We are thinking of buying a 20 year old Contest 48 CS currently moored in Turkey. The rudder stock is corroded and so we will need to rebuild/replace the rudder, stock and bearings (and find the source of the corrosion, of course!)
We're thinking of doing the ARC next year and want a quality job done, of course!

I contacted the designer, Dick Zaal, who said we can order an aluminium stock from Jefa, then have the rudder rebuilt in Turkey in foam and GRP. The original Contest rudder was built in a mould with resin cement compound. He says we can shape a new rudder with hard foam and cover with fibre glass epoxy laminate.

Is aluminium a good choice? Would stainless steel be better for the stock? Is a rebuilt foam core rudder with epoxy a good quality replacement for the original?

We'd really appreciate your thoughts!

Rachel and Simon
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Old 18-05-2017, 09:29   #2
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

Personally I'd stick with the original manufacturer's specs and stay with stainless on the rudder shaft. The coring of the rudder is not as critical and foam cores are very common.
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Old 18-05-2017, 09:35   #3
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

I think you can trust JEFA engineering. If they sell an aluminium frame for a rudder then it will be top quality and calculated for the stress your size vessel is generating. On top of that it is the designer of your boat that proposes this solution. I would not try to get an opinion of non-enginneers (and maybe non-sailors) on an open ended forum like this one. Talk to your naval architect and to Jefa. Jefa is always a very good advisor.

I am in no way related to JEFA. They are in Danemark, I am not, not even close. :-)
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Old 18-05-2017, 11:06   #4
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

Thanks for this.

What we are trying to understand is how a modern foam rudder compares to the original solid cement one. After all, buying a blue water boat you pay for the peace of mind that comes with the solid build quality.
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Old 18-05-2017, 12:06   #5
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

I'd stick with stainless steel for the rudder stock. Never heard of the "JEFA" brand so don't know if they're any good.
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Old 18-05-2017, 13:47   #6
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

then there is the question of corrosion caused by copper based anti fouling paints if you use aluminium for the stock and frame...

Jim
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Old 18-05-2017, 14:02   #7
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

http://jefa.com/install/electro.htm

http://jefa.com/products/materials.htm

316 stainless doesn't do so well strength wise compared to the high strength aluminium , which is counterintuitive.
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Old 18-05-2017, 14:42   #8
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Personally I'd stick with the original manufacturer's specs and stay with stainless on the rudder shaft. The coring of the rudder is not as critical and foam cores are very common.
The Contest yachts I have seen have had an aluminium rudder stock. Of course this may well vary between the different models. I agree staying close to original design is sensible, but to me the designer's comments suggest that for the OP's yacht the stock was aluminium. If Contest have used a stainless stock for this model I would stay with this material.

Jefa are well respected and make a very large percentage of the the rudder bearings fitted to modern yachts.

Jefa also make a number of pre-made replacement rudders (all with an aluminium stock). If one of these is close to the original specifications and materials it would be a good choice. If not rudder, fabrication is not difficult.
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Old 18-05-2017, 15:05   #9
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

Jeffa are 100% trustworthy and they can (I believe) build the whole thing.

Email Dick again ask if you gain anything by foregoing aluminum and going for steel. He also is a 100% man.

You can use old rudder to build the mold and then build skins in two parts.

With Dick's advice and Jeffa manufacturing you cannot go wrong. But it is well worth thinking thru the material options.

BTW I would build in N Europe. Ask Jeffa if the can take over the whole job.

b.
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Old 18-05-2017, 15:32   #10
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

I just had a look at the Contest website. For the current (2017) range of Contest yachts the 42cs, 45cs, 50cs, 57cs and 62cs all have an aluminium rudder stock. The models larger than 62 feet have a Stainless rudder stock.
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Old 18-05-2017, 16:32   #11
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

If you don't trust the designer's suggestion to use an aluminum stock, how can you trust the rest of the boat he designed? Was the boat originally built with a SS or AL stock? You don't say, other than to state that it has corroded and needs replacement after only 20 years. Maybe the original (apparently mediocre, whatever it was) stock was used because the yard happened to have some left over from a previous job and didn't use what the designer would have preferred? SS does seem to hold up well. Our 1981 boat doesn't seem to have corrosion problems with the SS rudderstock. But if the designer thinks that aluminum would do just as well...
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Old 19-05-2017, 09:53   #12
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

I had a new rudder made for me. The problem withe previous one was that the rudder stock was made of 316 SS and the body made of fiberglass. Polyester and fiberglass dont stick well together, so slowly the joint between shaft and fiberglass cracks water gets in and in our cold climate(-30 c in winter!) water expand and creates havoc, I have the new one made entirely in stainless steel. After more than 10 years, no problem. And the new rudder is lighter, I put 2 anodes at the bottom of the rudder, but no galvanic problem. Anode do not corrode !
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Old 19-05-2017, 10:17   #13
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

JETA makes non-metallic bearings for rudder tubes that are specifically dimensioned to replace original equipment of whatever make it may be. Using these bearings effectively ensures that there is no electrical pathway from the rudder and its stock to the remainder of the boat (unless you make "improvements" that furnish a path).

That should preclude a repeat of the corrosion problems you say you have.

You say: "What we are trying to understand is how a modern foam rudder compares to the original solid cement one. After all, buying a blue water boat you pay for the peace of mind that comes with the solid build quality."

Compares in what way? Impact resistance? Ability to control the boat? Anticipated life span? As for the latter two there should be no perceptible difference. As for the first, when a rudder is damaged to the extent that it needs replacing it is not, usually, because the blade is damaged but because the stock is bent.

Since seafaring began, constructors have had to build "down to a cost" and skippers have had to live with that. You will find it easy enuff to live with if you understand the basics of the engineering that goes into each component of a boat - in this case the steering arrangements - and therefore the limits to the abuse the components can take. Then you "skipper" so the components are not taken beyond their limits. Surely seafaring has to be the mother of the classic Economics argument that it's impossible to satisfy "unlimited wants" with "scarce resources".

I think you will find that the original design was "adequate". You can - at cost - improve on it. The question becomes "is it worth it?". Repairs are often worth their cost. "Improvements" are often not.

Cheers

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Old 20-05-2017, 05:15   #14
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

Thanks to all for the words of wisdom. The links to the Jefa website are excellent. Also ... good point, why wouldn't we trust Dick Zaal and Jefa? We feel much more confident in aluminium rudder stock now. : )
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Old 20-05-2017, 09:10   #15
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Re: Rudder refit: how to make wise choices?

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Originally Posted by Rachinwokingham View Post
Thanks to all for the words of wisdom. The links to the Jefa website are excellent. Also ... good point, why wouldn't we trust Dick Zaal and Jefa? We feel much more confident in aluminium rudder stock now. : )
Good idea. What about the idea for a whole rudder made of aluminum?. It you choose the right type of aluminum, it will probably be more practical then having a fiberglass rudder skin that will rirsk separaton from the rudder stock... Peace of mind...
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