October 24, 2012
Our haul out at Jarrett Bay finally revealed the whale damage to our rudder. Fortunately, it was nothing serious and a fairly easy fix.
While the boat was still in the travel lift slings, we shook the rudders and were amazed at how much play was in the port rudder. Then, we disassembled the steering quadrant and dropped both rudders to the ground before setting the boat down onto blocks.
Even though we had run aground in the sand at Cape Lookout, it was quite obvious what paint was missing due to the whale hit. When we hit what we assume was a whale, the entire port side of the boat had lifted out of the water as it bounced across the hard mass under the water. When we ran aground, the rudders never touched the sand. We are missing a bit of paint from the starboard keel, but we are missing paint AND barnacles from the port keel. The entire bottom edge of the port keel is wiped clean of all barnacles. The front corner of the port rudder is missing paint and barrier coat, all the way to the fiberglass.
The wobble in the port rudder was answered when we removed the rudder housing and bearing. The bearing was 1 mm out of whack. This may not sound like much, but the bearing needs to have a firm fit around the rudder post. Otherwise, any motion in the rudder will be enhanced, potentially causing further damage. We think that when the rudder took the jolt that it did, the rudder post was pushed hard against the bearing, creating the gap between the bearing and the rudder post.
front corner of port rudder that hit the whale
rudder missing paint & barrier coat
we joke about a whale with blue racing stripes!
All of these issues are minor compared to how badly things could have been. We had fears of finding a bent rudder post with further damage up inside the boat, but all else on the port side was in good shape. However, we did find a few couple of other unrelated issues.
When we dropped the starboard rudder, the entire rudder housing and bearing came out with the post. The bearing had seized itself to the rudder post, and it was nearly impossible to remove. Wil had to melt the bearing in order to get it off. We think the bearing was made of a Delrin-like material that is known for expanding when it gets wet. Therefore, the moment the boat was lowered into the water back in June, the bearing seized itself onto the rudder post.
At the same time, we found putty-like pieces falling out from around the rudder post. It seems that for whatever reason, the two part West System epoxy that had been used to put the new housing in place had not cured properly. Therefore, a cavity was being worn away from the rudder post just inside the hull.
After discovering our electrolysis issue back in August, we finally got to have a good look at our zincs. After only 4 months, we are amazed at the amount of corrosion. Thank goodness it was only the zincs!
At the end of the day, we knew we had made the right decision to haul out.
prop zinc not fairing so well ~ 4 months old
shaft zinc not fairing so well either