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Auzzee 08-29-2014 11:51 AM

Rudder question
I have never before seen a rudder with a drain plug along its foot. I have always been schooled that water in a rudder is potentially dangerous because of the prospect of corrosion of the armature and the subsequent 'blowing apart' of the structure this could cause.

I guess this is more pertinent where the rudder is solid and fully bonded to the armature.

It appears some manufacturers have fitted drains. Whether these are inserted at the point of manufacture, or retro fitted is unknown. A recent haul out by a friend in the Caribbean caused some consternation due to the amount of water which appeared to come from the blade. I am not sure if it came from the drain, gudgeon straps or the heel pintel.

I wonder if perhaps fitting a drain is a practice for racing boats where a light weight rudder could aid buoyancy aft, and keep the overall displaced weight down.

Anyway I would like to hear from anyone who has a rudder drain fitted, or who knows anything about them.

redbopeep 08-29-2014 05:01 PM

I saw a boat with one fitted and do know for certain it wasn't part of the original design. We were in a boatyard and visiting with a friend who had drilled a hole in his rudder to let water drain. There was a slow stream of water exiting the friend's rudder and he was joking about needing a drain like the boat next to his. Sure enough, the next boat over did have a drain. The friend explained that the guy who owned that boat had gotten tired of drilling a hole to remove water when hauled out and painting the hull. The whole time I'm thinking "what's that water doing in there in the first place???" and "can't that be fixed?" In both cases, the rudders were nothing fancy/light. In both cases they were skeg, not keel-hung, rudders.

PS--hubby says he knows of another boat with a retrofitted drain and it was a keel hung rudder that kept having problems with water.

Auzzee 08-30-2014 12:42 AM

Thanks Brenda. It seems to me that water in the rudder; in a space which can't be inspected; where salt water is in contact with steel and perhaps foam, is a recipe for trouble.
Elements of the armature could fracture and, as we all know, breakages happen when gear is subjected to the most stress.
Found this on the web:

redbopeep 08-31-2014 01:45 AM

I'm so glad to own a wood boat :) Our keel hung rudder is wood, the rudder stock is bronze. The original lasted some 80 years before we replaced it with an identical new one. Hope it lasts as well.

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