Rudder Conversion

Dsoc

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What is the best way to do a rudder conversion "Without" cutting an inspection port into the hull? I am not a fan of the extra hole. I like the Esthetics of a simple clean deck.
 
Make your Sunfish stronger by using this brilliant technique:

 
I think that is the option for me. What adhesive do you recommend for reattaching the deck?
 
I plan to do the deck joint next season. My plan is 3M 5200. It’s strong, permanent and flexible enough to handle slight movement. This will integrate the hull and deck into a structural box. Excess can be rubbed off before it’s cured using mineral spirits. Wear gloves and junk clothing. It has a way of getting everywhere.
 
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Love the photo, 5200 everywhere. In the Caribbean it is hot and humid. We are anchored out from October to June. All jobs using varnish, paint, adhesive are performed in old underwear. Skin renews itself after a few days. Even hair is not much of a problem any more.
 
I want to replace the original rudder assembly on my 1950s / early 1960s wooden Sunfish with a modern assembly. Just not holding in strong wind anymore. I am willing to install an inspection port in the stern deck but I am worried that there might be a structural piece on the centerline. I am not finding any info about how best to install the backing plate. Any recommendations?
 
I want to replace the original rudder assembly on my 1950s / early 1960s wooden Sunfish with a modern assembly. Just not holding in strong wind anymore. I am willing to install an inspection port in the stern deck but I am worried that there might be a structural piece on the centerline. I am not finding any info about how best to install the backing plate. Any recommendations?

I replaced the old style rudder on my '71 "Ruby" 4 years ago. It greatly improved my enjoyment while sailing. After 50 years, the old style rudder fittings were just too worn down to hold the rudder in place properly. I either had to crank it down so tightly that it didn't pop up when beaching, or it would pop up unpredictably. I am happy to share my experience, including photos of my process, but some of my experience may not translate as my boat is fiberglass and yours is wood. I think you are looking for some guidance about the internal structure of your wooden Sunfish, correct?

From what I can see on the WoodenBoat website where someone has restored a 1963 Wood Sunfish, it seems like you should be able to cut an inspection port slightly off center near the transom. That would give you access to the inside to allow you to mount the backing plate for the new style rudder gudgeon. Let me know if you think my photos of my '71 rudder conversion may be useful to you
 
@Short Story. The problem you will find is the modern aluminum rudder bracket is taller than the wooden Sunfish transom. The fiberglass Sunfish transom is taller than that on a wooden Sunfish. You will have to see if you can find a solution.
 
Someone will know for sure, but I don’t think you need an inspection port. Your attaching to a wooden transom, and I would think wood screws would be enough. I would try that route first. If it seems that the screws are not holding properly, you can always go the other route. Personally, I think inspection ports on the stern or bow are flat out UGLY, and I would avoid them if possible. I tolerate the one behind the splash guard because it’s used every time I go sailing to store my keys, phone, and sun goop. Most others seem to have no purpose except to address a problem: once.
 
STOP! Don't cut a port. My recommendation is to get parts that are not worn to refresh the original rudder system.

The trasnom is 3/4 inch wood, plenty of "backer block" to screw into. And there are deck and keel longerons beneath the plywood that are also 3/4 inches thick, and 3 inches wide. The transom is not very tall, so there really isn't even space inside the hull to put a backer block

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As Beldar said, the new style gudgeon is taller than the transom. You could switch over to the new style, but you'd need to make a shim to go on the deck, that the top of the gudgeon could screw in to, and screw the bottom of the gudgeon into the transom. If I were to do it I'd used thickened epoxy and silicon bronze wood screws to attach the shim to the deck.
 
Short Story you're welcome. And we've restored several wooden Sunfish and Sailfish, check out blog and look at the links on the right side for ZIP, WINNIE, TRACKER and CHIP

Small Boat Restoration

Happy to answer any questions and would love to see photos of your boat.
 
I want to replace the original rudder assembly on my 1950s / early 1960s wooden Sunfish with a modern assembly. Just not holding in strong wind anymore. I am willing to install an inspection port in the stern deck but I am worried that there might be a structural piece on the centerline. I am not finding any info about how best to install the backing plate. Any recommendations?
You've replaced the plastic tube? (75¢)
 
Not my picture.

The carriage bolt tube was standard on all old style rudders. They keep the top bracket and bottom bracket inline, without it the system doesn't work well. They become lost over time.
 

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Hey Short Story

"I want to replace the original rudder assembly on my 1950s / early 1960s wooden Sunfish ."

1. I recommend that you start a new thread for this, because folks are getting confused between wooden and fiberglass rudder systems.

2. There is no plastic tube for the carriage bolt on the wooden Fish, the carriage bolt goes through the transom.

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3. We'd love to see photos of what you have on the stern, there are parts available to rejuvenate the original patented rudder releasing mechanism. Could be a matter of a worn or bent spring plate, worn vertical hinge plate bevel tip or keel latch plate cup.
 
Signal Charlie, you have been a great help. Currently I'm not going to do anything. I found that the head of the aft-most through bolt had been turned 180 degrees which made the keel latch plate cup just a bit further away than it should have been since the end of the bolt has a slightly angled head. Once turned around to the correct placement, the vertical rudder plate now sits much better. Tiny little improvement with big result. I will wait til Spring sailing, but I expect that this tweak will be a great help. Attached are photos. Thanks again. Short Story
 

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Great. If you like, take a few more detail photos of the top and bottom fittings, so we can see in the spring plate screw and keel latch plate screw looks correct.

It would be best to have the correct rudder pin as well.
 
Signal Charlie, this is all that I have for now.

Is the rudder pin the bronze bolt and nut? These came with the boat when I found it 4 years ago. Never thought that they might not be original.
 

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Thanks! One thing I would look at is to loosen the wing nut and see if the spring plate, the rectangular metal piece on top of the horizontal hinge plate (aka deck plate) is flat. It can take a curve over time and that can lead to a loose assembly, or an assembly that is too tight to let the rudder release when an obstacle or the beach is hit.

I'd also check the latch plate on the bottom to make sure it is flat along the side that touches the keel, and the screw is tight. The latch plate can get bent if the boat is dropped on its stern.

The original rudder pin is a 1/4 inch diameter bronze pin on a keeper chain, with a locking tab on the end. The keeper chain was screwed to the deck, you might even find the old hole there. The keeper chain was fragile so many pins got lost during transit or storage. We have some spares, pm us if interested. And other folks sell an aftermarket pin that works well too at a lower price.

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Signal Charlie, I am indeed interested in buying a rudder pin and chain. How best do I get your offline address? Short Story
 

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