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 Rudder snapped in half
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dvdfishel
1st Mate

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31 Posts

Initially Posted - 05/02/2018 :  16:43:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Exciting rum race tonight

We were going along at nearly 6 knots in winds from 14 mph to 25 mph with single reef and 110% jib.

then a loud snap when rudder broke in half. Maybe we hit a manatee or a gator submerged log???. The lower half floated off and we did not recover it.

we spun around once

got the motor started and used it to steer our way back.

Its a Rudder Craft HDPE rudder with warranty. I think I will upgrade to their blue water version which is thicker wider and longer unless someone has a better idea.

Unfortunately i tossed the original rudder which was too short and not very effective in winds above 15 mph.







David Fishel
#848 WB250 2005
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3234 Posts

Response Posted - 05/02/2018 :  18:07:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Classic lower pintle break but that is the first HDPE rudder I've heard of.

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound


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Carl in LA
Navigator

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149 Posts

Response Posted - 05/02/2018 :  18:09:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bet that was exciting...

Hope you have an easy time resolving and replacing...

Carl

Hull No. 922
Wing Keel
Building the boat as a cruiser.
Home port: San Pedro, CA
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
7821 Posts

Response Posted - 05/02/2018 :  20:13:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've heard of that with HDPE rudders--they're apparently about as flexible as ice. Were you fighting any significant weather helm and/or pitching in significant chop? (Sounds like the latter was probably true.)

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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OLarryR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3141 Posts

Response Posted - 05/03/2018 :  02:59:08  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In the archives, there are a few reports of HDPE rudders snapping. Not sure what population of HDPE rudders are out there right now and so the percentage of breakage may be very low....still it is very unsettling when something like this happens.

Larry
'89 Robin's Nest#5820, Potomac River/Wash DC http://catalina25.homestead.com/olarryr.html
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Tradewind
Admiral

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USA
517 Posts

Response Posted - 05/03/2018 :  06:40:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I ordered a new HDPE rudder earlier this week, certainly hope I haven't made a mistake.

1998 250WK #331
CILCIA
Steve
Pensacola, FL
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TakeFive
Master Marine Consultant

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2191 Posts

Response Posted - 05/03/2018 :  12:12:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There are some small motorboats and kayaks out there made out of molded HDPE, but the vast majority of boats are made out of FRP. Maybe we're seeing why.

A rudder with a fiberglass skin over a form core is a pretty rigid and strong option (until they fill with water and freeze). Also, I vaguely remember hearing about warping of HDPE rudders when exposed to sunlight on one side (like on the west side of the boat in late afternoon).

Everything has tradeoffs, but HDPE may have some pretty severe ones.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
PO of Take Five, 1998 Catalina 250WK #348 (relocated to Baltimore's Inner Harbor)
New owner of 2001 Catalina 34MkII #1535 Breakin' Away (at Rock Hall Landing Marina)
Photobucket is holding my picture hostage!
----- 1998 C250WK #348 "Take Five" -----|-------- 1991 15' Trophy ----------|- 1985 14' Phantom -
---- Essington, PA on Delaware River -----|---------- Trailered to Lake Wallenpaupack ------------
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Falcon113
Deckhand

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USA
5 Posts

Response Posted - 05/07/2018 :  07:30:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had a similar failure last year with my HDPE rudder in 15-20kts of wind and 2ft of waves. Luckily I keep the original rudder on board as a spare.
Ruddercraft send me a replacement rudder free of charge.

&lt;b&gt;&lt;i&gt;Matimel Bohemia River&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/i&gt;
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Tradewind
Admiral

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USA
517 Posts

Response Posted - 05/09/2018 :  14:59:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I ordered a new HDPE rudder from Catalina Direct last week and received a call from them today. I was told that there have been several instances of HDPE breaking and the company that made them has increased the thickness by 1/2 inch up to 2". A new fiberglass rudder is also an increased 1/2 inch thicker. New pintles are included with both, a new tiller is included with the new thicker fiberglass rudder. I went with the new fiberglass rudder.

1998 250WK #331
CILCIA
Steve
Pensacola, FL
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Tradewind
Admiral

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USA
517 Posts

Response Posted - 06/08/2018 :  08:14:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tradewind

I ordered a new HDPE rudder from Catalina Direct last week and received a call from them today. I was told that there have been several instances of HDPE breaking and the company that made them has increased the thickness by 1/2 inch up to 2". A new fiberglass rudder is also an increased 1/2 inch thicker. New pintles are included with both, a new tiller is included with the new thicker fiberglass rudder. I went with the new fiberglass rudder.



I received my new rudder, seems it is not 2" thick, it' same as the old rudder 1 and 1/2", also it is 7" shorter below the water and 2" shorter fore and aft. And the tiller will sit 5" higher. Not sure how this is going to work, a call to CD might be in order.

1998 250WK #331
CILCIA
Steve
Pensacola, FL

Edited by - Tradewind on 06/08/2018 08:45:16
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3234 Posts

Response Posted - 06/08/2018 :  10:41:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't they give you the dimensions before you order so you can compare it to the standard rudder? Also did you have them install the pintles? If so it sounds like they were installed to low on the rudder maybe?

Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688
Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound



Edited by - islander on 06/08/2018 10:45:15
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Tradewind
Admiral

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USA
517 Posts

Response Posted - 06/08/2018 :  11:09:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by islander

Don't they give you the dimensions before you order so you can compare it to the standard rudder? Also did you have them install the pintles? If so it sounds like they were installed to low on the rudder maybe?



Dimensions were not posted on CD when I first ordered the rudder, my first order was changed by CD because the rudder they were selling had a tendency to break. This is a new rudder listed on CD, dimensions are on there now. Pintles were installed by the manufacturer. I had a second generation rudder, I'm thinking this new one is a third generation. Don't know when I'll get on the water to check it, maybe late next week.

1998 250WK #331
CILCIA
Steve
Pensacola, FL
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Carl in LA
Navigator

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USA
149 Posts

Response Posted - 06/12/2018 :  06:02:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Steve:

Curious about your situation...

From the way I'm reading your description... assuming the new rudder is a third generation - I don't think it would fit with the pintles so "high/low" on the rudder...

The third gen rudder has a region that actually goes forward under the boat - and there is just enough dimensional room on the rudder for 922 to slip the pintles together with the rudder turned fully to the side for the lip to clear and pass under the boat.

Hope the matter is resolved easily...

Best,

Carl

BTW - from looking at the picture I can see how the larger underwater section on the rudder causes a strength mismatch with the portion of the rudder above water - if you know what I mean...


Hull No. 922
Wing Keel
Building the boat as a cruiser.
Home port: San Pedro, CA
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dvdfishel
1st Mate

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31 Posts

Response Posted - 06/12/2018 :  06:47:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here is a look at the new blue water performance rudder from Rudder Craft. I decided to get a retractable rudder that pops up if it hits an obstacle. Rudder Craft gave me full credit for the broken part and completely stand behind there work!



Have not had a chance to try it yet as I have been distracted by a new larger sailboat I got while my c250 was out of commission.

David Fishel
#848 WB250 2005
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Tradewind
Admiral

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USA
517 Posts

Response Posted - 06/12/2018 :  07:37:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Carl,

The rudder I'm replacing, the one that cracked, looks like the picture. The new rudder does not have the section that goes forward under the boat. After measuring, the new rudder is about 20% less wetted surface. The new rudder is overall smaller but much heavier than my old rudder. I'm hoping to get it to the boat this week and try it out. I had originally ordered a rudder same as the one that cracked but CD said it was no longer available and changed my order after 2 weeks to the new stronger and thicker rudder, though the new one is the same thickness as the old. The area where the pintles are mounted is thicker so that should prevent cracks in that area.

I hope it works well as I'm putting the boat up for sale this month, after some cleaning and polishing. Due to age and health I just can't take care of it like I used to.

Thanks for your input, much appreciated.

1998 250WK #331
CILCIA
Steve
Pensacola, FL
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