Rudder Tube and Gusset Replacement (12)

Created on: August 05, 2020
These pictures and text document the process of replacing all three rudder gussets due to rot caused by a leak at the rudder tube. This is not a casual project, it took about 40 hours spread over a good bit of time. The original gussets were waterlogged, warped and somewhat rotten where they were embedded in fiberglass. The original gussets were not marine ply and appeared to be painted on the top edges as opposed to being covered with fiberglass cloth. The gussets did not appear to be secured to the hull other than the tabbing that held them in place. There was a substantial void between the bottom of the tapered portion of the rudder tube and the hull. This gap was the source of the leak. I have to wonder if this gap and the lack of epoxy around the base of the rudder tube was a factory defect.

The old rudder tube was reused after measuring no wear on the tube and scuffing the tube with 80 grit sand paper. New gussets were made using the old gussets as a guide. I used West System epoxy for the layup. The technicians at West were a big help with the layup process, providing advice on how to use their products efficiently and in a variety of temperatures. The boat is now in the water with no leaks! It is nice to have an almost dry bilge!
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