The rudder has to be rebuilt. That's the bad news. The good news is we won't be crossing an ocean with a bum rudder. We had attempted patching over the holes, and planned to wrap the whole thing in a new sheet of fiberglass. But every day it seeped water from the tiny patched drill holes, and out of the top where the fiberglass meets the steel. The water it seeped was often black, suggesting the stainless steel frame was corroding. It was still seeping after months of drying. We had seen the foam core from 1969 and it was old and degraded. We weren't sure patching and wrapping was going to save it. We had to tear it down and check the integrity of the steel frame. Being the original rudder from 1969, we needed to face the fact that it might have made it's last passage.
Sure enough, the lower portion of the rudder post had a large crack all the way down the inside. The guys at Fantastic Plastic, drilled a hole and ground the crack a bit to see if it was going to be weldable. Sadly no. Water squirted out of the drilled hole, and the inside of the of the hollow tube was badly corroded. The lower portion is going to be replaced with a solid stainless steel tube. Then it will be rebuilt in fiberglass with the green foam core in the picture above. I guess if our rudder hadn't been hacked up by our first hired help, we never would have seen evidence of corrosion. Though it's another setback, now we won't have insecurities about our rudder giving out after we launch. The new rudder should be ready soon. Which is good news because we are ready to start installing the engine! Danny finished the engine room, and bilge this week! It is no longer a pit of glass dust, grease, and grime. I never thought I'd see the day. When we moved a board we shoveled inches of black sludge from the floors. AJ and I both spent weeks in there scrubbing, de-greasing, grinding, sanding, scraping, breathing toxic fumes and dust. The pit of despair is now a proper engine room. No more fiberglass rashes. It's oh so touchable, in Interlux barrier coat.
Now we go back to work in the yard to prepare for relaunch. We'll finish the refit on the dock. October has brought a break from the summer heat, so we should be able to move quickly. We will set sail this winter.