after a terrible weekend full of work, dirt and sweat I finally splashed again on Wednesday. So ZERO is back in her element and I could rest and fill up my batteries again. When I got hauled out last Friday I had my friend Brian helping me, but he had to leave on Saturday. From Saturday till Tuesday I worked my ass off to finish the rudder in time so I could splash on Tuesday to get the weekend special of the boatyard. I worked even during the nights and got around 2 hours of sleep every day before I went back to the shop to continue..
I was so exhausted and don’t remember being so tired in my life before. I was absolutely at my limit and close to break down.
Never give up and I could put back the rudder on Tuesday morning. We needed 4 men to lift it in position and slide the shaft into the bearing. Because I glassed the shaft in, it came out a little bigger and was touching the hull. So I grinded it down, epoxied it and applied 2 coats of barrier coat and 2 coats of bottom paint. Unfortunately I couldn’t finish until 3 pm when the boatyard finished for the day and I had to wait until Wednesday to launch. That meant I lost the weekend special deal and I had to pay layday fees. The weekend special deal includes the haul out and launch from Friday to monday morning and they don’t charge laydays for the weekend days. But they have a strict policy about the deal and if you need more time you pay the normal rates. So I had to pay layday from Saturday till Wednesday which cost me another 420$. That sucks but there was nothing more I could do.

OK but what actually broke? you might wanna know.. The rudder shaft was welded to another stainless armature which was bedded in the wooden rudder. This connection broke. Jamie, the welder did a full pen weld to attach it again after we cut of the bad part, which was around 1 inch. This was the only connection the old rudder had. I thought it might be a little to weak and added a 45 degree gusset between shaft and armature and 2 flatbars on top of the rudder. All 1/2″ by 2″ 316 L stainless steel, of course.

All rotten wood were cut out and replaced with mahagony hardwood. Especially the part below the prop was badly affected by marine life and I had to cut a lot out. It looks rock solid now. I then glassed it all over with 3 layers of 18oz biaxial fabric. Because I overlapped the fabric at the edges it has 6 layers at the edges which makes it very solid. To make the rudder a little more efficient I shaped the edges similar to a foil design. I hope I can feel any difference when I set sails again.

I wanna thank the PDF-team and especially Jim for his help and understanding for my situation. He droped the rates and gave me the change to use his shop and tools which helped me a lot. I also wanna say thanks you to Paul from the Keehi Marine Center for coming down as much as possible to help me repairing the rudder.

The whole rudder repair cost me around 6.000$. This includes the Boatyard fees like haul out and laydays etc (around 1.500$), the labor I needed from PDF (Pacific Diversified Finishes) the shop who helped me with the rudder repair and let me use their workshop and tools – THANKS A LOT!! – the welder and material.

Once out of the water I changed a couple through-hulls as well. This added extra stress to my scedule but I feel much better now with easy working valves.

It was a Marathon of dirty work and i hope I’ll never ever have to do this again!!

Now I’m rested and back into sailing mode. Tonight I’ll celebrate the rudder repair and my birthday with a couple friends and on Monday I’ll give it another try to sail to Alaska!
So fingers crossed this time..

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2 thoughts on “here is the whole rudder story

  1. Wow. Quite a project. I hauled Moonshadow our Hudson 50 about 3 years ago . The rudder was looking pretty good at the time so just a little epoxy filler and some sanding and barrier coat and bottom paint. Good to know how the rudder is constructed I case I need to do some repairs in the future.

    Good sailing. Hope you make it to Alaska okay

    Best regards

  2. Happy birthday, sailor!

    We hope you recovered from the torture of the last days and we`re sure you have right now a good time with some nice people.

    So party on and have some fun.

    Best wishes from Hauke & Claudia, Nils & Neele

    PS: We launched our Korsar yesterday the first time after the refit, but only with the great help of Gaby, Carsten and Frank!

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