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The Cabot 36: Classic Blue Water Sailor

A site to celebrate this great Canadian passage maker.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sept 2010 Rudder Repair Exchange

Rudder Repair Exchange: September, 2010

(See Roy Mac Keen's diagram of the rudder in list of documents.)

I lost control of my steering on a wonderfully blustery day recently and had the boat hauled; I've now received the unwelcome news today that the webbing on my rudder is gone. I'm headed for the local boatyard next week to look at the situation up close and personal and get their estimate advice on the repair. I have plenty of experience with ambitious epoxy repairs, and have studied the helpful materials posted on this site, but remain reluctant to tackle the project on my own. I would welcome any advice o n how to proceed...

Chuck Goodrich

Sept 26, 2010
I am not sure where you are, but there is a company in Florida that will make you a NEW rudder for around $2,000. (Newrudders.com) When the one went out on Blue Magic I had a stainless steel one made. The outer skin was sheet stainless steel and once primed and painted it looked exactly like the old fiberglass one, except I had a notch put in so I could pull the shaft out without pulling off the rudder again.

Good luck. I know how much time it takes and how much epoxy it will also take, your better off with a new one.

The former owner of Hull #33 Blue Magic

Sept. 26, 2010
The rudder consists of mirror image fiberglass shells taped together around the rudder post. Welded to the rudder post is a plate to take the torque of the rudder. There are no ‘webs’ in the rudder.The ‘shells’ act as a fairing only.

Step One: Split the shells along the longitudinal centerline of the rudder. This can be done with the rudder in place. The shells MAY be stuck to the rudder post or plate with foam, milled fibre, resin and you may have trouble removing the shells in one piece. One side should come off fairly easily. There is ballast ( steel plate punching) in the bottom of the rudder.

Step Two: Please send me a photograph of the stripped rudder and I will comment immediately.

Step Three: I suspect that the weld fastening the ‘plate’ to the rudder stock has broken and/or deteriorated causing the rudder stock to rotate without the benefit of the torque plate to swing the rudder. ( One now knows not to mix metals without some kind of cathodic protection).

Step Four: That being the case, have the plate rewelded to the stock. I don’t have to tell you to be careful of alignment. The plate will be welded to one side of the rudder shell, not on the centerline of the stock, to permit laminating to the shell.

I look forward to your photos

Roy Mac Keen

Sept 27, 2010

Good Morning, Though I might offer something here…..

We don’t build the rudders and rudder support the way they were originally built, we now make the internal support web out of 316 stainless steel and try our best to fill the entire rudder so it is as solid as possible.

It is possible to get replacement rudders from us as it will fit the original hulls, but you mad have to change the rudder post seals. This might actually be less expensive.

(A while later, Brian - who has mistaken Roy for a boat owner - writes:)

What we have been doing for the heel bearing is to fabricate a stainless steel fitting from pipe. The inside diameter of the pipe is around 3” so we mill up a bearing from UHMW to fit inside the pipe and the rudder stock fits inside that.

If you have the measurement of the hole in the heel bearing you have, we can make the rudder bottom shaft that size.

Brian (Smythe, of Yachtsmith International)

Sept 26, 2010
I didn't get Roy's message for some reason -- many thanks, Ken. His reply is most helpful and the information from Banff is also interesting. I found a Florida company called Foss that makes rudders, but they are NOT stainless.

I did hear from Willaim (or William?) Parrott, who went through the same thing but sounds like he made a successful repair. His note to me is pasted in below:

On Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 1:07 PM, Willaim Parrott wrote:

I had a similar problem about ten years ago. I removed the rudder and ran a circular saw around the edge and separated it like two pie plates. The rudder post was stainless but it had mild steel webbing welded to the post. That is where it failed. I had all new internals welded up much stronger than the new one. Reattached the fiberglass shell and filled it with closed cell foam and its better than new.
Had the boat surveyed a couple of years ago and he commented on the dry rudder.
The yard estimated the job between $3k and$4k. I did it less than $500 material costs.
I can get very detailed if you would like. Let me know and I can walk you through it.


Hello Chuck,

My father Tony, use to own SHoGUN ~ a Cabot 36.. He has 2 sketches of the Cabot rudder, from Nassau Shipyard Ltd... We could fax them to you, as they cover a whole page each...
Please provide us your fax # and we'll send them off asap.

Lisa (Waldegrave)


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