Topic: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

When I bought this boat, it had a nylon washer between each Pintle and Gudgeon and a stainless washer below each Gudgeon and then cotter pinned.  I'm wondering whether the stainless washer below is really necessary or not?  Perhaps it would reduce wear on the cotter pin but not sure.

Any input on proper way to rig the pintle and gudgeons would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

B

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Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

The stainless washers are pretty much essential to stop the split pin gouging up the gudgeon casting, eventually leading to the split pin catching and failing leading to possible loss of the rudder. 

If the boat pitches sharply with the helm hard over, the force on those split pins could be pretty high unless there is something else stopping the pintles coming out of the gudgeons.   

Also, due to the dissimilar metals, a bonding strap from the gudgeon to a LOCAL anode is likely to be required to prevent electrolysis damage.

I'm lucky as I have a very early J Rogers boat with a solid mahogany rudder so the pintles have external mounting straps and I have small anodes fitted to the straps.  Also my pintles have threaded ends with a castellated nut and split pin so the rudder is far more positively secured than yours is.

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

I think I'll drill out the holes in the pintles and increase the split pins to the next size up (5/32").  The 1/8" in split pins seemed kinda wimpy.

B

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Related question:  When at anchor in choppy seas Virago's rudder will sometimes get to banging and thumping.  Lashing the tiller will help but not eliminate it completely.  Haven't yet figured out what causes it to be able to fix it.  I can say that she does not have that nylon washer in the assembly and I was thinking of adding some sort of washer or bushing.  Anyone else have this problem?  Better yet, got a solution?

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

You might have worn pintles.

A friend had that problem on his Contessa. He took his rudder to a friendly machinist who found that the pintle is held in by a small pin.
He drifted out the pin and then the pintle.
Then he machined a new pintle out of stainless steel and drifted it back in.
He did a very  neat job in two hours, stronger than the original and it didn't involve any fibreglass work. Even better, he didn't have to touch the structure of the rudder.

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Hmmm.  Interesting.  On my boat, which is an '85 JJT, the pintle is threaded with a large nut turned up from the bottom then a washer and pin through it below that.  I had the rudder off a few years back to re-do the wood on it and at that time the pintles looked good, though that doesn't mean they haven't changed!  When the boat is on the hard I try to make the rudder wiggle in its mounts and it won't do it (turn yes, but wiggle or thump - no).  It could be wear and I'll check that again.  I'm wondering if it has something to do with the treaded nature of the pintles - if the rudder can raise and lower by a fraction of a turn of the threads when it gets to slopping back and forth.  I'm wondering now if the nut and bolt type of pintles I have are not originals - maybe these replaced originals that were, indeed, worn.  If that's the case, maybe a thin bushing would help if there's room to fit one in, or get someone to spin out some new ones as you suggested.  Talented friends with lathes are good to have.

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

I've found a bungee loop from the rudder head to one of the stern cleats helps reduce thumping a lot when the tiller is lashed.  If it gets rough enough for it to become ineffective, then there's enough other noise that the thumping is not notably annoying.

I know there's a little slop in my top pintle/gudgeon but the middle gudgeon was replaced a few years back and bored to fit and the heel fitting and pin were both replaced at the same time.

You may be on to something about vertical movement.  My rudder is solid wood and is buoyant.  When not underway the rudder will float to one side or the other  putting the tiller hard over if I dp not lash it.  When on the hard, it self centers due to gravity.

As the rudder is heavy and the waterline area of it is quite small, it cannot accelerate upwards as fast as the stern of the boat can as a wave comes past.  If the motion of the boat is quick enough to overcome friction between the pintles and the gudgeons - thump!

8 (edited by Virago Deb 2014-10-30 15:55:40)

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Ian, you've refinded that idea nicely.  I'll have to check the possibility of up and down motion.  When I had the rudder off (lets say three years ago) I had to fudge with the adjustment of the mounting nut to allow the rudder to swing freely and the the hole for the pin was clear, so there may be enough play to allow the motion you describe.  V's rudder is not wood and it is some heavy, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have motion (or intertia) that is counter to the hull once in a while.   Thanks for the fresh lead.  I wish I knew if my pintles were original or just whopping great bolts that replaced originals.  Mine has the castellated nut, but I'm trying to remember if the thread went all the way up the shaft of the pintle or not.  I think they do, and there's a hex head top to it a la bolt.  Are yours like that?  In the mean time, it doesn't happen often and if the hardware isn't broken I shall, perhaps, resist fixing it - Securing the rudder head instead of just the tiller might cure it.

On a slightly related topic, I completely re-worked the hardware assembly that makes up V's gooseneck when I realized that when the main was reefed, all the tension of the main sail on the reefing horns was being held down by nothing but a light cotter pin! And that cotter pin was, indeed, chewing into the base of the boom end casting.  I had my tallented friend make a new gooseneck pin for me out of a S.S. bolt whose only job now is to hold the boom to the mast fitting.  I did away with the reefing horns and put a S.S. snap on either side of the now beefier shackle that holds the tack of the main to its fitting on the boom, and it's now those snaps that take the vertical load of the halyard when reefed.

Note added later as a result of later posts:  The new gooseneck pin was made from a long carriage bolt.  The treaded part was cut off and a hole drilled for a cotter pin.

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

The thread on the pintle should start just before it emerges from the gudgeon.  95% of the bearing surface should be unthreaded.   Using a thread as a bearing surface is no better than using a file!

My gooseneck pin inserts from below the boom and has a shackle through its retaining hole that holds two Wichard safety snap hooks with their spring gates removed that serve in place of a ramshorn hook.  I think any ramshorn hook should really have a threaded lower end long enough to use a pair of locknuts because you certainly don't want the situation you described.

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Mild brain storm.  Thinking about the possibility of quick motion of the boat causing the rudder thump.  I have some small sea anchors that were salvaged out of some retired life rafts and I may try dangling one or two of those off one or both quarters to dampen that motion.  Not only stop the thumping (hopefully) but make the motion of the boat a bit less active in those conditions.  As for the threaded pintles, I scratched my head about that too - one does not normally use threaded things for clevis pins or such, but without a comparison I wouldn't say for sure.  It would make sense that the threads should be near the end like a carriage bolt, but these are very thick and beefy brass or bronze bolts and didn't look like an stop-gap for a lost pintles.  That's also why I had considered bushings.  I'd be curious to know if other later boats have this set-up.  I did run my finger around the inside of the gugeon when I had them apart and it didn't feel scored or worn.

11 (edited by Ian Malcolm 2014-10-29 21:55:46)

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Small drogues can make a significant difference!

We once spent a week stormbound in Braye harbour, Alderney.  A bucket rigged from the end of the spinnaker pole to just break the surface as we rolled made the difference between rolling our guts out all night and being just about stable enough to make tea in the morning.

A local Co26 on a mooring further in near the Lifeboat mooring was actually rolling her gunwales under a fair bit of the time.  We chafed though three bucket lanyards that week and spent so much of the daytime in the Braye Harbour hotel, they gave us residents privileges!

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Ian, it sounds like you may be in Britain.  If so, I'd like to have a conversation with you off this website.  I'd like to explore setting up a sailing trip over there.  If my guess is correct, let me know if you want to have a conversation elsewhere.

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Here is a pic of a modification I made. I was worried that if I hit bottom with a bit of wave bouncing the boat, the cotter pin would shear and the rudder get pushed up and off. So I bolted an L bracket to the transom to prevent the rudder from moving upward. Now at worst, the bottom piece of the rudder will snap off leaving you still having steering.

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Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Update - signs of wear are now visible on lower assembly (V. has three sets).  Sound was the harbinger.  Note to self....

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

A question for Bertinol:  I have V's rudder off and home.  The lower pintle assembly is the worst for sloppiness and it sounds like it may be similar to what's on your boat.  The head of the pintle is up inside a cup mounted on the leading edge of the rudder.  It looks like there may be a pin holding it in and I did put a drift to it and whack it with a hammer a few times, but I'm afraid I'll "fix it 'till I break it".  In other words, I'm not certain it's a pin I'm hitting and I'm not sure how hard I ought to hit it!  If this sounds like the way your boat was put together and it is, indeed, a pin holding the pintle in, maybe I just need a bigger hammer (yikes! Don't wanna break the fitting out of the rudder...).  Does this sound familiar??  Can you upload a picture of what you've got? Can your friend pass on a few pointers?

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Virago Deb wrote:

A question for Bertinol:  I have V's rudder off and home.  The lower pintle assembly is the worst for sloppiness and it sounds like it may be similar to what's on your boat.  The head of the pintle is up inside a cup mounted on the leading edge of the rudder.  It looks like there may be a pin holding it in and I did put a drift to it and whack it with a hammer a few times, but I'm afraid I'll "fix it 'till I break it".  In other words, I'm not certain it's a pin I'm hitting and I'm not sure how hard I ought to hit it!  If this sounds like the way your boat was put together and it is, indeed, a pin holding the pintle in, maybe I just need a bigger hammer (yikes! Don't wanna break the fitting out of the rudder...).  Does this sound familiar??  Can you upload a picture of what you've got? Can your friend pass on a few pointers?

Deb,  My boat, JJT #320, was made about the same time as yours and I found a similar "sloppiness" in the lower pintle. I had been very concerned about this problem but now it is solved.

My solution was to cut away the fiberglass that captured the head to expose what was underneath.  The casting looks just like the top two once the fiberglass is removed. 

Exposing the lower casting made it possible to fit a phosphor bronze pin with bronze washers and, best of all, phosphor bronze bushings on all three sets.  All three gudgeon/pintle sets look similar.

Now, when the time comes,  I can renew bushings without removing the rudder.

I am having difficulty posting photos but I could email them to you or another member here for
posting,

JJT Contessa 26 #320

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Virago Deb:
Bertinol here.
I'm on Lake Ontario, so can't inspect your boat. But I'd be very careful of hammering anything or removing any fibreglass.
On the boat I described, the pintle was worn down to about one-half its original thickness. The rudder just flip-flopped from side to side.
The only solution was to replace the pintle with a new one. Luckily, we could do that by driving out the pin that held the pintle and replacing the pintle with a new one.
The beauty was that we did not have to touch the fibreglass or the gudgeon. Thank goodness.

Not sure what it going on with your boat, but I'd replace the pintle if that is the problem.
If the problem is inside the rudder, you've got a much-more difficult proposition. I'd take off the rudder and show it to an expert who can work out the best way to go about it.

18 (edited by Virago Deb 2016-05-18 15:31:44)

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Arrrgggghhh!!!  I just typed a longish technical bit and got booted off for my efforts!  Synopsis:  Top two pintles replaced with S.S. carriage bolts with shoulders that reach the bottom of the gugeons, most of threaded portion lopped off, nut put on and drilled through both for a pin.  Perfect fit.  That took almost all the play out of the rudder.  Still a bit at the bottom assembly which is the only one with the pin-in-a-cup, but not enough to risk monkeying with it yet.  The sloppiness isn't in the fit of the pintle and gugeon so much as in the way the pintle wiggles on the pin in the cup.  One possible solution for this I dreamed up (if needed next year) is to squish a little silicone or 4200 or such up into the cup just before assembly and let it set thus making a rubber bushing of sorts in the cup.  It may dampen or remove the wiggle.  In the mean time it looks like my tool bag exploded in the cabin...

Side note: applied some Molycote on parts prior to assembly - it's a great assembly aid/lube for anything in the marine environment and will not negatively effect rubber or plastic O-rings or gaskets.  Our ship's engineers buy it by the case.

19 (edited by Dave Aultfather 2016-05-22 03:19:37)

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Deb,

This is what I found when I removed the fiberglass that captured the "wobbly" pin inside the bottom bronze casting.

The bottom bronze casting appears to be identical to the other two castings so I am guessing that it is just as strongly anchored inside the solid fiberglass rudder.

It was easy to cover the area where material was removed with a few layers of fiberglass to give a finished appearance.

Now I have a strong rudder attachment with smooth action.

My bronze bushings can be renewed easily and at little cost.

I consider this to be one of the best improvements/modifications that I have done for my Contessa.

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20 (edited by Dave Aultfather 2016-05-22 03:20:19)

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

A few more images of the exposed bottom casting;

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21 (edited by Dave Aultfather 2016-05-21 09:52:19)

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Another image showing one of the phosphor bronze pins I made up to go with replaceable bronze bushings and HDPE bearing washers.

The double nuts allow me to adjust them for a snug but smooth fit.

The cotter pins keep them from getting lost.

The HDPE bearing/washers were cut from a plastic bucket lid.

The replacement bronze bushings are from ACE Hardware.

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Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Hi Dave,

In case you haven't noticed, I come and go on this website - not always handy to a computer.   Anyway, the bottom pintle assembly on V. is not hidden in any way that I can see, except maybe a covering over the top of the casting that makes it appear to be a cup instead of a ring.  I don't have a clear memory of it at the moment.  If our boats are similar, how did you get the pintle out?  Was it, indeed, held in with a pin or was yours threaded in the first place? The fibreglass you removed - did it encase the entire pintle mount assembly or just the top?  I'm surprised at the variation between boats, even those from the same yard and not too far apart in hull numbers.

I replaced my cabin top winches lately and was glad to see a nice solid thick bit of decking.  Regardless of the variations, these boats benefit (as we all know) from good boat building.  I've seen a few wrecked boats doing my job, some of which were making for salt water and bound for long journeys.  Once you see a boat broken open (like an egg) you can see that surface dressing can hide a multitude of design and construction sins.  I remain grateful for my tiny but tough little ship - wobbly pintle forgiven.

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Deb still....I went back through this thread to look for hints and Bertinol mentioned someone having a machinist drift a pin out a pintle assembly etc.  Bertinol, if you're out there, please give more information if you can.  It turns out you were right all those posts ago about rudder thump and a loose pintle, the pintle just hadn't got loose enough to show itself yet.  V. is floating now so no more pintle poking until fall, and I still have the heeby jeebies  about whacking my rudder with a drift and hammer, but maybe that's just me being cautious (a.k.a. chicken).

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Bertinol here, at the ready!

I telephoned my machinist friend, the guy who replaced the worn-out pintles in the 1978 Contessa rudder.
After careful study, he discovered that the rudder 'hanger', for want of a better word, is in three parts.
There is a horizontal bracket that goes deep inside the rudder and attaches to something in there.
There is a thin bronze pintle that fits into the horizontal bracket. It is a press fit; nothing more.
And my machinist friend noticed a third piece, a tiny pin that holds the pintle to the horizontal bracket.
It was easy to take apart. He drilled out the pin and drifted out the pintle. It took him about 10 minutes.

To put it back together, he machined a new pintle out of stainless steel and pressed it in using some heat (be careful of burning the fibregalss rudder) and a hydraulic press.
Then he machined a new pin and pressed it in.

Voila. Before the repair, the rudder shook about 1/8 inch side to side, enough to be quite scarey. After the repair, with a new pintle, it was smooth and tight and perfect to use.....

Try it; it was easy!

Re: Rudder Pintle and Gudgeon Washers

Thanks!  However, "....it was easy!" sounds like "here, hold my beer", that being the start of many a story with a painful end!  I appreciate the encouragement though.