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Old 15-09-2020, 13:00   #1
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Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

Hi all—This is my first post here. My 26-foot Chris Craft Pawnee came free from it's mooring and ran aground. The resulting damage to the rudder is beyond my ability to repair and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this kind of damage.

The pics tell the story, but essentially the rudder post was bent outward from its hinge point at the bottom of the skeg and the gudgeon was damaged. I assume the post is stainless but I don't know for sure.

My questions:

Can I drop the rudder straight down or is it held in place inside the boat?
Would it be possible to bend the rudder post back to straight?

Cheers
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Old 15-09-2020, 14:09   #2
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Re: Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

There will be some sort of fitting clamped onto the top of the post to connect the tiller to it which will require removal before you can drop the rudder out.

SS is not very amenable to a lot of bending. If it's hollow tube you might be able to cut it and use a sleeve to extend it back up.
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Old 15-09-2020, 19:48   #3
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Re: Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

What Raymond said. Straightening a tube or a solid rod rudderpost is not something to do in your spare time at home. Make sure any repair is trustworthy. The original rudderpost may have reinforcing plates welded to it that got sandwiched into the fiberglass of the rudder blade when it was made. Removing the rudderpost from the rudder (to fix the bend by replacing it) might require destroying the rudder blade to get them out, so you may need a new rudder (and rudderpost).
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Old 16-09-2020, 05:00   #4
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Re: Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

I'm sorry that you are facing this. I think it is time for surgery, not bending back in place.

In the third photograph it appears that the keel part that meets the rudder - the trailing edge of the keel and the rudder foot - has separated from the keel as well as being damaged at the foot. I recommend that once you get the rudder loose you also remove this large part for repair or replacement.
Now you've got the rudder shaft, the rudder with a cut-off part of the shaft, and the keel edge/foot. Hmmm.

At the bottom of the rudder the shaft is not ticking out as far as it was when it was contained by the foot. That suggests that the shaft is no long bonded to the rudder. The shaft may have been pried out of the rudder like a nail out of wood. The foot is destroyed. The rest of the shaft is mangled.

Out of all that you might be able to salvage the rudder. My bet is that the rest needs to be replaced, but there may not be a replacement out there for the trailing edge/boot. In that case you may need to fabricate a boot. I recommend that you consider a stainless steel pipe with two welded-on flanges that can be through-bolted to the foot. That would be stronger than the apparently all-fiberglass original boot. It would also be removable for installing the rudder and a new shaft.

Good luck with it.
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Old 16-09-2020, 12:17   #5
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Re: Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

Thanks a lot for the advice. The more I think about it the more I agree it requires more than "a push" back into place.

What you are describing at the foot of the skeg/keel is a metal bracket that held the bottom of the rudder post in place. It appears to be bolted and removable. As far as I can tell there is no damage to the skeg/keel besides to this removable piece. So the saving grace may be that I can haul the boat out, drop the rudder and remove the bottom metal bracket and have new pieces fabricated. The unfortunate part is that if an entirely new rudder needs to be made it will cost more than the boat is worth.

The other option is to find another Pawnee that is destined for the scrapyard and salvage the rudder off of it, but that will be like finding a needle in a haystack.
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Old 16-09-2020, 12:20   #6
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Re: Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

Thanks for the advice so far. I appreciate it. I've reached out to some contacts in the area and we'll see what other options there are. It's really unfortunate as this has been the perfect family cruising boat for the last 30 years. It may be time for retirement.
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Old 16-09-2020, 12:59   #7
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Re: Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

That would be a shame.

I think that you can save the rudder. You may have to through bolt the new rudder shaft to the rudder, and even add plates on the sides, but I don't see as reason not to keep it, and that means easily fabricated parts. New shaft, new boot/skeg.
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Old 16-09-2020, 14:57   #8
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Re: Thoughts on Rudder Post (pintle/gudgeon) Repair

I have repaired a similarly damaged rudder. It was foam filled had a solid stainless stock that was badly pitted and had to be replaced.

I cut carefully around the perimeter and was able split it apart without doing too much damage to the glass fibre.

I welded tangs to a new 316L length of stainless shaft and bonded it back into one half of the rudder with epoxy/glass fibre. I then glassed over the tangs and the inside of the other half of the rudder and made sure there was enough epoxy/gap filler to ensure good contact when I clamped it all together. Glassed over the join and then injected in expanding foam at the bottom until it spewed out a hole in the top.

It took about 8 working hours.
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