by Rick Crane
S/V SEA CRANE
|To remove the rudder of my boat, Sea Crane, and probably most of the Peterson 44's, be sure to have the keel at least 8" off the ground. The rudder is exactly 6 ft. from the top of the rudder stock to the bottom of the rudder tube. Also the propeller and the shaft have to be removed in order for the rudder to clear when it drops down.
Remove the steering quadrant and loosen or remove the rudder stock gland seal. Back on the ground, locate the gudgeon. There is a groove or indent in the mold for the bracket. This extends about 5" forward from the aft edge of the skeg. The gudgeon is covered with epoxy fairing compound which must be chiseled off. Be careful not to remove more glass and epoxy than is necessary.
The gudgeon bracket is a split unit with five large machine screws that go through from one side to the other. There is also a large bolt and nut holding the two pieces together. They all came off fairly easily and there were signs that water had been getting inside the rudder for some time as smelly black water oozed out from the holes for several days.
There had been some dampness and weeping inside the boat, (under the aft bunk) near the rudder stock tube. I removed the nut on the inside of the tube and drove the tube out. It came out quite easily. It showed no signs of ever having any sealant around it! Also the fit where the tube flange joins the hull was very poor. While the rudder was off, I built up this area and made a better fit. Be careful not to build it up too much resulting in the tube being lower, or the flange will interfere with the rudder movement. Tolerance is very close.
The primary reason for removing the rudder was to try to do something about water getting into it around the stainless steel-to-fiberglass connections. There was enough water in the rudder to make it quite blistered. Upon removal I found considerable electrolysis at the gland seal area on the rudder stock. It was eaten down about 3/ 16th of an inch, one third of the way around the shaft. I think the bonding had lost its connection.
|I drove around Berkeley and Oakland to four machine shops before the last one, Oakland Machine, said they could build up the rudder stock (by welding) and turn it down while keeping it all in one piece. Next, a boat repair yard ground down the rudder, dried and epoxied it. Hopefully the stainless steel-to-glass connections were made more watertight. While the removal and reinstallation of the rudder was a big job, I was glad to know the condition of all the parts and to learn how they go together.|
Rebuilding The Rudder
Rudder Shaft Corrosion