Topic: Handy Rudder Guard

A handy tip to prevent an expensive accident:

The earlier boats do not have a guard to prevent bits of line or weeds from getting caught between the keel and the rudder, a potentially disastrous problem that could rip the rudder off.
I made my own guard by cutting a piece of fibreglass sail batten about six inches long and screwing it into the bottom of the keel. Now any stray bits of line, anchor chain, mooring ball line or weeds just slip along the bottom of the keel and rudder without getting caught.

Re: Handy Rudder Guard

Question:  why screw it on instead of bonding with 4200 or 5200 or epoxy? 

Were you concerned about water intrusion into the bottom the keel?

Re: Handy Rudder Guard

I wanted to make sure the rudder guard stayed on even with abrasion from mooring lines, weeds or the occasional grounding, plus any banging when lowering the boat into the cradle every fall.

I wanted to be safe so overdid the attachment method.  I decided to use three 3/4-inch sheet metal screws with big heads, made of stainless steel so they wouldn't rust. I drilled three holes through my eight-inch strip of fibreglass batten and three matching pilot holes into the bottom of the keel.

Then I slathered the screws, batten and pilot holes with epoxy to make sure they stayed in place, but also to prevent any water getting into the keel.

The rudder guard is still firmly in place five years later with no sign of any water ingress into the keel.

I always say: If it's worth doing, it's worth over-doing!

Re: Handy Rudder Guard

Ha!  I am the expert on over-doing these boats -- did you see the monster sea-cocks I added for cockpit drains?  Completely unnecessary overkill!

Re: Handy Rudder Guard

I'm with you.
When I bought my 1975 boat I discovered it did NOT have seacocks on the cockpit drains. No idea why not. I thought it would be a key safety feature since the cockpit drain outlets are often under water.
The first job I did was to install brand new seacocks just in case a pipe burst or came off and sank the boat.
On that subject, I watched a very expensive motor cruiser slowly sink at launch this year. The owner had attached the engine cooling inlet pipe with one loose clip instead of two tight ones. The pipe came off, the water flowed in and the boat slowly settled.
Luckily, one of his neighbours noticed the boat sinking and quickly reattached the pipe.
Again, no seacock. 
I don't understand it. A $100,000 boat full of luxury fittings but they don't bother with an engine seacock.

Re: Handy Rudder Guard

Ha!  I am glad it was not me!  It could have been though.  One year I launched with the valve for the head's overboard discharge open (for others reading in Canada it is illegal to plumb to this valve so it had never had a hose installed).  I happened to be present at launch and heard the water making a mess of the forepeak.  10 seconds and the valve was closed but had I not been present...

The problem for the Contessa is that the cockpit drain seacocks are virtually inaccessible if you need to get to their seacocks in a hurry.  I would have to notice the problem (i.e. water over the floorboards), not panic, find a screw driver (lockers are filling from below now), remove the cockpit floor panel (with so much water inside the boat the cockpit sole is now below the waterline so the drains are back-filling the cockpit) and then close the valves (which are now under water) -- all while more water rushes in faster & faster!  I would be sunk before I got them.

And of course there is the underlying assumption that someone is around to notice if I am not there.

I think that the real value of seacocks is the convenience of replacing hoses or related fittings while the boat is in the water.  BUT, if you maintain your boat, if you inspect, if you pay a little bit of attention, your hoses should be totally reliable.  And if you must have seacocks, put them where you can reach them in a hurry. 

I was on a big Hunter last year and noted that all the plumbing was led to one area in the middle of the cabin sole.  It was done for the builder's benefit since he could install all the through-hulls on a panel on a bench and then install them in the boat all at once.  From the user's perspective, it meant one stop shopping.  One area to check, one area to maintain, one area to run to if there is a problem.  While this is not practical for the Contessa, if I were determined to have seacocks and if I was prepared to re-locate the through hulls, then I would relocate the valves to the area between the batteries and the cockpit sole.  At least they would be in a place where I might be able to use them in a hurry.