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The Return of the Rudder

posted Apr 3, 2011, 5:30 PM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated Apr 3, 2011, 5:50 PM ]

Today was another chilly day, but an incredibly productive one.  After a long period of time, Ravat is finally wearing her rudder again, and I must say it looks great to see it back in its rightful position of gudgeon glory and pintle prowess.

My primary goals today were to get the rudder mounted and the jib tracks installed.  I ended up with the rudder, obviously, but ended up a bit short on time with the jib tracks.  As usual a few unexpected problems reared their ugly heads, although I can't say I'm surprised any more.  Thankfully the issues were relatively minor.

The first problem I ran into came when sealing the transom quadrant pass through.  The CS27 is traditionally a tiller steered vessel, but some boats were upgraded to a wheel steering option which, although attractive and convenient, is not as well suited to the cockpit design.  I'm not certain whether my boat's steering is a factory option or an aafter-the-fact redesign, but it was not done to my liking in two respects.

First, while the gelcoat work is excellent, the glasswork inside the quadrant box is horrendous.
 Yes, yes, it doesn't show.  I know.  But it was really poor workmanship which leaves it hard to clean, and unworthy of Neptune's blessings.  The second complaint I harbor against my wheel steering upgrade is that when the transom was cut out to allow the steering quadrant to pass through it was never properly sealed.  Any time you breach a core, the material (in this case marine plywood) must be ground back a reasonable depth and sealed with thickened epoxy to create an uncrushable and waterproof barrier.  The plywood in that area was toast, and when I tried to grind it back it just smooshed out like the rotten wood it was.

Not too big a deal, but it made for extra cleaning out time with the Dremel tool, and an extra two pumps on the West System mixer pump.  I'm pleased with the end result though.  About 1/2 to 3/4 inch of epoxy + colloidal silica is about as strong as it gets.  This area won't see any further water ingress, and the bolts holding on the trim plate won't fall out any more (once I re-drill and properly through-bolt them!).  So, this ate up a little extra time.

I also decided it was time to take off the steering quadrant.  It needed to happen because I need to install a new chain and rope cable.  Although that didn't happen today, the quadrant needed to come out to make room for all that epoxy work.  So, hopefully I'll now be in good shape to perform that cable replacement some time soon.

Having completed the rudder work to the extent I could, I moved on to the jib tracks.  Yet again, fate dealt a cruel blow.  I'd installed the toe rails using the larger fender washers which were intended for jib tracks.  I didn't want to blow 45 minutes on a West Marine round trip, nor did I want to blow cash on a set of stainless washers, so I went to work with the ratchet and put the right size washers back in place to free up the larger ones for the track bolts.  Yes, more time blown!

So having finally assembled the required hardware I went to work spreading cold 3m 4200 on the bas of the tracks.  Cold 4200 is like cold molasses.  It just doesn't squeeze out very efficiently.  The real problem came when I went to re-install the tracks.  For some reason, the bolt holes for both the toe rails and the jib tracks simply would not line up.  I ended up needing to use a drill to elongate the holes somewhat.  It was also quite a challenge to properly bend them as I went without getting 4200 onto everything.  As it is, I just realized I neglected to clean a section of the toe rail which I spattered.  Oh well.  Perhaps tomorrow I can take care of it...

So where am I now?  I need to get the port jib track reinstalled, the mast step, the deck cleats, and the bow castings.  At that point I should be able to ditch the tarp so that I can get the stanchions and life lines back into place.  Then I'm on to the through hulls and mast wiring.

Progress feels good!