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Old style rudder: to fix or just sail?

Pirate_Marc

New Member
Hey folks

I am having a blast on my pre-72 sunfish. I may have overtightened carriage bolt that provides pressure to the latch and spring plate. The screw that holds the spring plate in broke and I need to drill it out. Reading other posts this could be a bigger undertaking if I have a rotten wood block underneath.

I am curious if I have to replace the wood screw to the pressure plate or if I can just tighten the carriage bolt enough to hold the rudder in place? I sail on deep lake water so I am not concerned about it kicking up. I am sailing for 3 more days then this boat goes in storage for the season.
 

Charles Howard

Active Member
The lower screw is important as it holds the lower bracket. You need the upper and lower brackets to allow the rudder to turn. Take something small object and reach in the hole to see if the block is still there. If the block is there for a temp fix try jb weld. Fill the hole put the bracket and screw in and let the stuff set. I would keep checking it to see it to see it stays tight
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hey folks

I am having a blast on my pre-72 sunfish. I may have overtightened carriage bolt that provides pressure to the latch and spring plate. The screw that holds the spring plate in broke and I need to drill it out. Reading other posts this could be a bigger undertaking if I have a rotten wood block underneath.

I am curious if I have to replace the wood screw to the pressure plate or if I can just tighten the carriage bolt enough to hold the rudder in place? I sail on deep lake water so I am not concerned about it kicking up. I am sailing for 3 more days then this boat goes in storage for the season.
Hi Pirate Marc. You definitely need the lower bracket screwed down as Charles Howard mentions.

My guess is the block isn’t rotted, or at least that much, if the screw broke and didn’t just pull out. Once you have the old screw out, I would fill the hole with thickened epoxy, and then drill a new hole and put in a new screw. Before putting in the epoxy, make sure the hole has a bottom, otherwise it will just drip into the hull. If the hole does go through, fill the hole with thickened epoxy, then put a pice of tape over the hole, and then flip the boat over so the epoxy won’t drip out before it’s cured.

I believe the screw is a bronze #12. I forget the length, but you should be able to figure that out from the remains of the old screw. Finding a single #12 bronze screw might be difficult depending on where you live.

Hope that’s helpful to you, and good luck!
 

Pirate_Marc

New Member
Thank you all for the great information. I’ll check the wood and use some epoxy for now. Next season I’ll do an inspection port and replace the wood blocks if needed, or convert to the new style rudder.
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
I have a '71 that I sailed for only one season with the old style rudder. Then with the help of Alan Glos in this forum, replaced it with the next gen rudder. You will not regret making the switch. That was 4 years ago. This year, I bought the highly efficient rudder designed by AeroSouth. It is not race legal, but is even more enjoyable to use. It has less drag and almost zero weather helm. The one down side to the AeroSouth rudder is that is is longer than the official Sunfish rudders, and thus a little harder to use close to shore.
 

Pirate_Marc

New Member
This makes sense and I am considering the AeroSouth rudder when I get a newer boat where I live most of the year. This boat is used about 2 - 4 weeks a year on a lake up north so trying to make minimal investments. However if I start to sail it more often I will do the rudder upgrade.
 
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