Monday, September 20, 2021

Rudder Remediation Revisited

The rudder repairs and upkeep are in the finishing (epoxy/primer/paint) stages: the blade fits snuggly on the pivot pin and between the cheeks of the rudder head. The varnish work on the rudder head is progressing slowly. Once the finishing work is done, I'll install cheek blocks for the up-haul and the down-haul lines.

With nothing better to do while waiting for various coatings to dry, I've begun considering making a new rudder blade. The existing one works but I am not convinced the foil is as good as it could be; and the ten pound 'sink-weight' imbedded in the blade makes set-up at the ramp tedious and awkward. 

The foil was carved/shaped by hand. While the bottom of the blade matches the foil shape in the plans, I'm sot so sure that shape is carried through the length of the blade. What I am considering is using a router with a jig (shaped to match the foil) to shape a new rudder blade. 

When I built Gardens' rudder, I didn't appreciate up-hauls and down-hauls for the rudder. However, over the few seasons I've sailed Gardens, I have recognized their value - to the point of asking, is the sink-weight really necessary? The ten pounds of lead is plenty to keep the rudder from swinging up while sailing - but is it needed when a down-haul is used? I plan to find out...

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Rudder Remediation

 It has been a while... generally speaking, without making excuses, 2021 is not a sailing year for me and Gardens.

So, late in the season, I've gotten back to working on Gardens to have her ready for next summer.

First effort is rudder remediation. The rudder blade wobbles a bit (not much but enough to be noticed and annoying when sailing) between the cheeks of the rudder head. Two causes: The rudder blade is a tad too thin to fit snuggly between the cheeks; and the pivot hole is too large for the pivot pin. 

First, for the pivot hole, I did the usual: drilled out the hole oversized, filled it with epoxy, and drilled a hole for a bronze bushing (the  original hole was just epoxy filled, which worked, but... not as well as it could have). The bushing is a much better fit for the pivot pin and the blade wobble related to the size of the pivot hole has been significantly reduced.

Second, I added 1/8" spacers to both sides of the blade and sanded them down to improve the fit in the rudder head. 

The spacers definitely improve the fit of the blade in the rudder head; and the spacers and bushing together nearly eliminate the blade wobble.

The blade will be sanded back to bare wood and refinished.

As for the rudder head, I decided it is time to refinish it. Sanded the outer surfaces back to bare wood and began varnishing. It will take some time to complete the varnishing as.  I can only do one surface at a time.