Rudder Woes

I started a long shaggy dog story about the rudder. If anyone wants more details let me know.

The short version is that I hauled TL two days before the Chicago – Mac solo race start and discovered that the rudder shaft was bent.

We managed to straighten it the next day, thanks to the crew here and John Lamonica, a friend of the yard who took me and the rudder to his shop where we worked with a press from 1941 University of Chicago. But I was troubled by the root cause and only marginally ready to go before losing a day. So I bailed on the race and went home for a visit. I’ve been living pretty rough in the boat yard and was ready for some family and greenery.

After extensive consultation with a bunch of smart experienced people it seems pretty clear that the stock bent during our wipout(s) when trying the autopilot in fast spinnaker conditions.

The rudder has survived the trauma. Sarah and I reviewed the construction and dye tested the shaft, and it appears to be as good as original. There is no obvious way to strengthen it without going to a new rudder and likely replacing bearings to accommodate a larger shaft. Sarah assures me that it’s unlikely to snap off, which was a fear earlier.

I’m now back in Chicago. Spent today touching up the rudder, installing the new wind instruments, and cleaning up. Will be back in the water this week.

Note the new boom cover. Price was right :-). The old name and the beneteau seahorse have got to go…

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