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 Cracked rudder
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smconinc
Deckhand

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USA
10 Posts

Initially Posted - 03/25/2020 :  17:03:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Need a little advise. I'm a new Catalina 25 owner. I've not sailed her yet. The rudder seems sturdy, but is cracked front and back. I've done a lot of working, and feel I can reinforce it, and seal it, then refinish it. My question is, are these fiberglassed in the first place? Are they made from wood? I'm assuming if made from wood, that they are some type of ply? And what is the recommended finish? I've seen guys say to just buy a new fiberglass rudder, but as things are right now, money is a little tight. If I can make this work for now, I'd rather.

Scott Michaels 79' C25 SR/SK

Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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Response Posted - 03/25/2020 :  17:42:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Catalina made rudders differently through the years. At first they had plywood cores. Later they had foam cores. Some C25 owners replaced them with after market rudders of different designs. We can't even guess at the kind of rudder on your boat. If you'll post a couple photos of the cracks on your rudder, we can probably give some suggestions about repairs. The "catch" is that nobody can really tell whether the rudder is significantly damaged inside by water intrusion.

That having been said, I repaired the original plywood cored rudder on my 1981 boat by drilling holes in the crack and pouring "Git Rot" resin into it, and it lasted until I sold my boat in 2005. I was admittedly lucky. Sometimes they just snap unexpectedly.

If the crack isn't too severe, I'd repair it. As a backup, I'd suggest you fabricate a simple wood rudder to keep on your boat and use in case the existing rudder breaks. If it breaks, you can use it until you can order and receive a replacement. You could probably fabricate a functional emergency replacement rudder from a piece of 2 X 12 lumber or something similar.

By the way, notice my "signature" at the bottom of my post. Our members create a similar signature for themselves. It includes the name they want to be known by, the year of their boat, its type (C25), tall or standard rig, fin, wing or swing keel. It reads something like this: John 1980 C25 TR/FK Sometimes people include their boat's name and hull number. When you provide that info, it gives us basic info that can help us give better answers to your questions.

You can create a signature by clicking on "Profile" in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore

Edited by - Steve Milby on 03/25/2020 18:02:44
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Lee Panza
Captain

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USA
399 Posts

Response Posted - 03/25/2020 :  22:47:32  Show Profile  Visit Lee Panza's Homepage  Reply with Quote
As an new owner of a Catalina 25 you've discovered here a source of a vast trove of knowledge. It's one of the good reasons for owning one of these great little vessels. This forum has an extensive archive, and the subject of damaged rudders - especially cracked rudders - has generated a lot of offerings. You'll find this Association is well worth joining. So, as you begin your new adventure (as well as your odyssey through the sometimes discouraging but always rewarding process of repairing and upgrading your boat), welcome to the Catalina 25 community.


The trouble with a destination - any destination, really - is that it interrupts The Journey.

Lee Panza
SR/SK #2134
San Francisco Bay
(Brisbane, CA)
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sethp001
Mainsheet C-25 Tech Editor

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804 Posts

Response Posted - 03/26/2020 :  13:52:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Milby


That having been said, I repaired the original plywood cored rudder on my 1981 boat by drilling holes in the crack and pouring "Git Rot" resin into it, and it lasted until I sold my boat in 2005. I was admittedly lucky. Sometimes they just snap unexpectedly. like this: John 1980 C25 TR/FK Sometimes people include their boat's name and hull number. When you provide that info, it gives us basic info that can help us give better answers to your questions.



Steve, how did the repair look when finished?



Seth
"Outlier" 1987 Catalina 25 SR/SK/Traditional Interior #5541
"Zoo" 1977 Morgan Out Island 30
"Nomad" 1980 Prindle 16
"Lost" 1988 Catalina Capri 14.2 (sold - yay!)
"Marine Tex 1" Unknown Origin POS 8' Fiberglass Dinghy
https://whichsailboat.com/2014/07/27/catalina-25-review/
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5439 Posts

Response Posted - 03/26/2020 :  14:20:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It looked good "by my standards." I repeatedly filled the holes with Git Rot until it wouldn't take any more. Git Rot is more watery than ordinary resin, so it flows a bit more freely to fill a cavity. Then I covered it with white Marine Tex, which is about the same white as the gelcoat. After a little light sanding, it looked pretty good. The rudder never failed, but, after many years it began to develop bulges. In the meanwhile, someone advertised a nice, used, foam core rudder on our Swap Meet, and I bought it for $150. After that, I used the old rudder for messing about and used the replacement for racing.

Incidentally, never leave your rudder outdoors in the winter. Store it someplace where it won't freeze.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8506 Posts

Response Posted - 03/26/2020 :  14:53:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome Scott! Let's assume your rudder is the original on your '79. The head of these rudders--the thicker part to which the pintles are attached--is plywood cored fiberglass. The blade below the waterline is solid fiberglass with relatively sharp leading and trailing edges. Newer designs people have bought have one or two "steps" below the lower pintle, putting a little blade area forward of the pivot line to reduce effort in steering--what's referred to as "balance".

The old ones tend to split between the two halves of the fiberglass shell, generally due to swelling of the core from water intrusion, and made worse by freezing. That also suggests rot in the core. The weak point is at the lower pintle, which takes most of the force from turning and the boat pitching in waves. Many of these damaged originals have snapped off right at the level of that pintle.

Steve's treatment with Git Rot (penetrating epoxy), which soaks into rotting wood and hardens, is probably the best way to add a little insurance until you can look at new rudders. I would concentrate on getting the epoxy into the core around the lower pintle area--primarily using holes on the leading and trailing edges above and below the pintle--I wouldn't want to weaken the sides of the shell. There's no guarantee, but it should help. Then Marine Tex can fill the split and whatever holes you drill. If your cracks are in other places, we need to see some pictures... If they're on the sides near that lower pintle, I'm afraid it's toast.

Regarding this forum and other resources, have you checked out:
  • The Search function in the forum header?
  • How to post photos--a topic in the Testing forum? (
  • Catalina Direct, a third-party supplier of replacements and upgrades? They really know these boats.
  • Becoming a member, which helps support this terrific forum?

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

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 03/26/2020 14:59:58
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smconinc
Deckhand

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USA
10 Posts

Response Posted - 03/26/2020 :  19:20:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you all for your replies. I wanted to share pictures, but didn't see how to post them. The crack is on the front and back side, above the waterline. So after reinforcing, Marine Tex is all that's needed to finish it? And how do I post pictures!?

Scott Michaels 79' C25 SR/SK
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Russ.Johnson
Commodore

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USA
774 Posts

Response Posted - 03/26/2020 :  21:25:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Please review the Testing forum for how to post photos.
http://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=1

Note: Paid members can post photos in the Members Area.

Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5439 Posts

Response Posted - 03/28/2020 :  10:34:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Scott, a used rudder has just been posted for sale on our Swap Meet.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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smconinc
Deckhand

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USA
10 Posts

Response Posted - 04/12/2020 :  21:08:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Steve. I've been Off a while and just saw this.

Scott Michaels 79' C25 SR/SK
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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USA
41 Posts

Response Posted - 04/24/2020 :  16:52:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Does a new 9.9hp outboard act as a sufficient backup to a broken rudder, (in the event the rudder snaps)?

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5439 Posts

Response Posted - 04/24/2020 :  17:42:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A reliable outboard motor will get you home if the rudder breaks, if you have enough fuel. If you're cruising a long distance, you should have a backup plan for a broken rudder or a broken tiller. A serviceable emergency rudder wouldn't be hard or costly to make. An emergency rudder doesn't have to be perfectly shaped. It just has to be functional enough to get you home.

My friend's tiller broke. His boat had an inboard rudder. We used some big hose clamps to attach his boat hook to the rudder post and sailed it 30 miles to home.

Generally I like the idea of being able to sail if the motor fails or to motor if the rudder or rigging breaks. If both fail, you have a problem, and a vhf radio or cellphone would be helpful, but it might be costly to get towed. It's always best if you can solve your own problems with advance preparation.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8506 Posts

Response Posted - 04/25/2020 :  08:29:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The motor can get you home (as a motor, not as a sailing rudder), but you'll be startled at the steering response using the motor with no rudder. It's extremely touchy!

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

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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USA
41 Posts

Response Posted - 04/25/2020 :  18:37:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So this feed has made me look over my rudder and it’s cracked on both the leading and trailing edge. A repair had been made in the past which extends down below the water line. When I tap on the rudder throughout the surface it sounds solid. It seems to be sound, an I wrong?

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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3754 Posts

Response Posted - 04/26/2020 :  08:42:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A photo of your cracks would really help but the majority of the rudders will break horizontally from the lower pintle like the one below. (not my rudder)

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



Edited by - islander on 04/26/2020 08:43:49
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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USA
41 Posts

Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  16:53:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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41 Posts

Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  16:57:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  16:59:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  17:00:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  17:04:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So this gives a complete look at my C25 rudder. I'm really hoping that this isn't as bad a I think it is.

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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islander
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  17:36:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not bad. The vertical split is really just the seam that goes all the way around the rudder. These rudders are built with 2 outer fiberglass shells and a foam inner core. For some reason there was a few years that Catalina didn't bother to finish the seam and make it look better. My rudder is an 87 and has the same seam. yours looks like someone tried to smooth it out once. I also have a few stress cracks in the fiberglass like yours but they haven't changed in 10 years. Here is mine.



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


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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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41 Posts

Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  18:01:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Terrific, I didn’t want to have to replace it.

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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5439 Posts

Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  18:49:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's hard to be sure from the photo, but it looks like the seam might be open around the pintle. If so, it should be sealed with something like white Marine Tex. Nevertheless, it doesn't look bad, but you can't be 100% certain whether there's hidden damage inside. Probably not if it wasn't open to the weather for long.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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Allmanjoy
1st Mate

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USA
41 Posts

Response Posted - 04/27/2020 :  19:18:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah hard to know for sure, but with that he new outboard I feel confident I can get back to port. I get the Marine Tex, thanks.

Jay C 1985 C25 SR/SK
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8506 Posts

Response Posted - 04/28/2020 :  09:04:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
James, you're rudder is not like Scott's. His, and the broken one he showed, are newer, foam-cored, "balanced" rudders that Catalina started using around (I think) 1987, and that became available from CD. Your 1985 (and mine) came with a rudder that has a wood core above the waterline, and is solid fiberglass below. The pintles are bolted through the wood core. Moisture in that core can freeze, splitting the shells apart, and it can cause rot that allows the rudder to break at the lower pintle, where the lateral are absorbed. (I replaced mine with the kind Scott has.)

In your second photo post, do I see a horizontal crack on the left side inside the pintle? If so, that's very worrisome to me. I suggest you remove the pintle and give us a closer look. You might have a piece of toast... Marine Tex can patch cracks, but it won't add structural strength, and your core (the rudder's strength) is suspect.

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

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 04/28/2020 09:17:42
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8506 Posts

Response Posted - 04/28/2020 :  12:59:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Scott: Are you aware of the warning that if you have dark paint on that foam-cored rudder, you should keep it out of direct sunlight, the heat from which can expand the foam and split the shell?

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

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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