Rudder Fasteners coming loose Titus

3430 Has a loose Rudder.  The top two screws keep backing out.  I tightened them, but after a few times sailing, they back out again.  I pulled the screws and noticed soft wet dark brown "debris" on the threads.  Looks like wet soft wood to me.

My guess is that the heart of the rudder is wood, and that the wood is saturated.

With winter weather that can't be good with freezing each night and thawing each day.

We store out scots in slips on the water here, with the rudders on the boats.  Is that a mistake?

I brought the rudder into the house, but wonder what is the best way to dry it out, and what is best way to repair the wood inside the rudder.

 

Comments

Wet wood in rudder

If you have found wet wood in the rudder, I would bring it inside and take out all the screws.  If you have wet wood in one area you may have more.

Storing wooden parts indoors for a good part of the year, is always a good idea.  If you can put the rudder inside a sunny window, where the sun will dry out the rudder with daily heating, you will likely find it to be dry by spring.  Put the screw holes up, facing the sun.  If you can dig out small bits of wet wood go ahead and pull these out.

When it's dry, you can start to repair. I would use a good epoxy, like West System.  Mix the resin and catalyst.  The mix in as much chopped glass matt as you can get in the mix.  Stuff the hole with as much of this mix as you can.  Don't worry about glass sticking out of the hole.  You can sand this off after it cures.  

It may also be helpful to drill the holes larger, to get rid of any wet or rotten wood.  This gives you a big strong plug around the screw.  Remember that the load on these is mainly side to side, so don't drill your holes so large as to get too close to the outer edge of the wood.  The wood is wrapped in glass, and then gelcoat.

Use the rudder gudgeon as a template for you new holes, and drill very carefully.  The glass plug may feel harder to the drill than the wood around it.  Be careful to drill the new holes in the size that will allow the screw to go in tightly, but not so tightly that you have to worry about splitting the new plug.  If you can leave one hole in original state, this allows you to put that screw back in first to get the gudgeon located in precisely the right place, as you drill the new holes.  Two original holes is even better.  If all four are bad, and  you you can stage it with two at a time, that will make it easier to align everything.

We used this method to repair holes for ski binding screws and it is pretty strong.

Phil Scheetz

FS 4086

Fleet 163, Nockamixon Sail Club

Rudder

I also did the similar repair 3-4 years ago.  I used the same process mentioned here.  It has held strong.  I also take my rudder off after each use because the weight of the rudder on the boat probably adds stress to that area.   Make sure you take recommendation above to mark the place where the holes are to make sure you reattach the brackets in the right place


 


FS 2450

If this happened to me - I

If this happened to me - I would pull all screws out.  I would check the other screws for moisture.  Personally, I'd over-drill all the screw holes with a wider drill bit.  Place in a boiler room for the winter.  Let it dry out completely !

In Spring, and after confriming all is dry ( hopefully the rudderhead wood is not 'mush' and it's just the screw holes affected),  use West System Epoxy with a syringe and inject holes to top.  Before it cures, wipe top of epoxy so it lays flush with rudderhead.  Let cure.  Then use gudgeons as templates and drill proper sized drill bit for screws, dead center...  Use Caulk Life and bed screws.

I would not leave rudderhead on all season.  The contraction and expansion during the cold months are a recipe for any sealant to fail - and creating this exact problem.  

If I were you, if boat's chainplates are exposed - I'd pulll that false-security-of-a -SS-cover and re-bed the chainpalte and those pesky screws.  Personally, I'd pull those screws out, over size drill, fill with epoxy flush and re-drill new holes !

ANYWHERE CORE IS, I HAVE DONE THIS !  Sounds like over-kill, but replace a floor or a deck from 10 years of a leaky screw and you'll be a believer !

Other than water delaminating and ruining core - these boats can last - forever ?!

Good luck - hull 877... 

If Dry...

I had a similar problem with the rudder head on my old Scot, except the screws came out dry.  In this case I used screw-in drywall anchors in the holes for the loose screws.  They held fine.

Glenn Wesley

FS #5919 - DJ'

Rudder Repair

Those are great comments.  Especially about the importance of allignment.  I have the rudder inside (30% humidity) and in the sunshine.  I'll pull the hardware off to expose.

As an historic and restoration General Contractor.  I'll use a little trick of mine and report here how it goes.  Rot Doctor makes a cellulose aphillic epoxy primer and filler system that could be just the ticket, if I can can get it dry.  The primer is deadly stuff, two parts that wicks into dry wood stabilizing it forever, really cool.  And their epoxy, while expensive has the perfect qualities.

But all depends on getting it dry.  I have a moisture meter, and will report how long it takes, for all those other dear scots out there who may have screws that are starting to loosen...

Repectfully, SawyersPadre's

Repectfully, SawyersPadre's method is the best way to do this repair...  I would fllow it to the ' T '.  Good luck...

http://www.sailingtexas.com/M

http://www.sailingtexas.com/Movies/RudderPintle/rudderpintle.html     Here is a video  on repairing  this bracket . There are more how to videos as well as sailing the scot ,fun looking at some of these during the winter months.  I had never heard of this boat till I watched some of these ,after watching a few of these videos , I was soon hooked.