Rudder repair and skeg repair?

The skeg on my boat got hit and has some movement….cracking at the skeg – hull joint and the rudder does not turn all the way to the right. I think the rudder post may have a bend. Do you know anyone who has any experience in how to best pull out the rudder post, as well as in reinforcing the skeg. Bill Swales. (#042, Blondie Too)

a. Dear Bill, I presume your boat is out of the water! If the rudder shaft is bent it sounds as though it might be close to where the skeg joins the hull. To remove the rudder, if the boat is sitting on its cradle, you will need to dig a hole below the rudder, maybe as much as 3 feet deep, depending on the shaft length inside the boat. The rudder may be quite heavy, depending on whether it is filled with foam or a more solid fibreglass mixture. If it has the standard 1.5″ diameter shaft then it is pretty heavy on its own. The shaft should also have a web of stainless flat bar, or other shapes, inside the rudder structure to counteract the torque on the rudder. The photos show: the Corbin drawing with location of rudder, shaft and skeg (see below) ; my drawing of the rudder internal steel structure (see below) ; and a photo of the rudder internals, with plywood fitted to stainless flatbar to improve cross-sectional curvature (below) . To remove the rudder you will need to remove the metal tiller arm inside the boat and any collars, plus loosen the stuffing box nuts. If the shaft is bent it may help to remove the stuffing box completely from the support platform as you will then have a larger diameter hole to allow a non-concentric shaft to be removed. Outside, you will need to unbolt the heel fitting. On my boat, Hull #50, it is a bronze fitting held with 4 or 6 slotted head machine screws that clamp the fitting around a reduced size section of the skeg. Be prepared to support the weight of the rudder as the heel fitting is removed! I had to bend my rudder shaft back into a straight line after I got it back from the welding shop as the heating had caused distortion. This was before the rudder cheeks were installed so it was a somewhat easier job. I used a heavy section I-beam and pulled the rudder shaft onto it with large C-clamps. I had a thin piano wire stretched along the shaft to show when it was straight. It required “overbending” as there was some spring back after the clamps were removed. The attachment of the skeg to the main hull was probably done in one piece during the initial moulding. It would appear to be a potential area of weakness. When I drilled out for the original installation of the shaft there was a solid, blue, thickened resin filler material in the centre. To reinforce the area for a repair one method could be by embedding stainless rods by drilling from immediately above, provided you can get access to the area. Grinding back on each side of the skeg/hull area would allow epoxy and fibreglass patches to be added. A heavy roving or unidirectional fibreglass (Liasil) may be suitable. This may be where a naval architect should be consulted. Good luck. David Salter “#050, Opportunity” located in Bath, west of Kingston, ON .

b. Hello Bill. How are you? How did you damage your skeg? Did you hit something or just by using it. Could you send me pictures. When you knock on it with a hammer, does the skeg feel soft or solid? Where are you located? And what is your hull number? Maybe I can help you. [edit: GD was the yard manager at Corbin les Bateaux]. Best regards, Gaetan Duchesne, (#165, Therese Vincent).