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Re: All broke up

We are building a kick up rudder blade to replace one that broke because the
foam inside did not cure. This is the first 23 rudder to break in nearly ten
years of building rudders. Clark used a structural foam inside, which seems
to fail after time. We use a lighter foam inside, and a stronger shell,
which results in a stronger blade. We will stand behind any of ours that
break in two years of sailing. Tire tracks on the blade void the warranty
Gene Adams
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mick & Claire Roberts" <claire@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <sanjuan23@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2002 7:03 AM
Subject: All broke up

> Late news from the Neuse:
> Back in early June during a club race with the Oriental Dinghy Club my
> rudder broke off ... completely!   Luckily, it did not float away.
> We were on the last weather leg about 50 yards away from the leeward mark
> and doing quite well, thank you, when suddenly there was no "feel" to the
> tiller.  Juan Mo' Time went into a tail spin ... totally out of control in
> 20-25 knot winds.
> All was not lost (although the race was) since we could get home on the
> outboard, I thought.  However, the gas tank was a bit low and we had about
> five miles or so to go dead to weather.  One of my crew came to the rescue
> then he told me that his boat was berthed next to a mutual friend in
> Creek at about the halfway mark.  We limped into the creek and tied up
> to Skip's boat and I called Claire to come pick us up at the Whipple's
> house.
> An examination of the rudder revealed water soaked foam in the center.  It
> had snapped right at the bottom of the cheek blocks.  Aha!  I thought ...
> dry it out, drill a couple of holes with a long half inch bit and put some
> re-bar in the holes, a bit of WEST system epoxy, seal it up and go back
> sailing again.
> It worked fine for the Whortonsville Summer Sailabration (see picture
> of the Fleet") in very light airs ... so light that the race was
> Then came the really big interclub regatta August 3 and 4.  Fifty plus
> from five clubs!  We were in the cruising division B with seven other
> I started out with full main and the 155 genoa.  That proved a bit much so
> we dropped to the 120 and gave the weather leg a try before the start.
> Still overpowered!  Take a reef in the mail ... hard to handle, but
> The breeze was building to what proved to be up to 28 knots!
> After winning a good start we opted to sail on starboard almost to the
> mark then take a port tack back toward the weather mark.  We crossed on
> tack a starboard boat whose anchor was partially overboard.  OK, we're on
> the starboard layline for the first mark.  We tack.  Making the line quite
> nicely and it looks like we are going to cross ahead of the rest of our
> division.
> Crunch!  It's that sinking feeling again, or more accurately lack of feel
> the tiller.  Sure enough, the rudder has broken again!  This time,
> we have enough gas to get back to Oriental Harbor and race headquarters.
> don' know how many SJ23 skippers have had to steer the boat with the
> outboard, but let me tell you, it ain't no fun!  To make the long story a
> bit shorter, we got back on a broad reach, tied up, had lunch and a couple
> of brewskis.
> The repair hadn't held.  Back to the drawing board.  Drill out all the
> that can be reached.  More re-bar.  This time fill with epoxy and
> micro fibers ... a work still in progress.
> I am also looking at building a new rudder.  Originally I thought that
> epoxy-glueing two pieces of 5/8" quality marine plywood then shaping and
> epoxy/fiberglass coating would be the way to go.  I called our local
> designer, Aussie Graham Byrne, who keeps a stock of French plywood.  He
> quickly dissuaded my plywood idea in favor of building a "quarter-sawn"
> blank by cutting clear 2x4's into 1.25" strips then turning them end for
> end, epoxying up then shaping the blade.  This project is not yet started,
> but I'll keep you up to date complete with pix.
> Has anyone else in the on-line club had similar experience with rudders
> breaking or building new ones?
> Without direction in Oriental,
> Mick Roberts
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