SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prep for Removing Pilgrim’s Rudder

We plan complete the rudder modifications with the rudder removed from Pilgrim.  Dropping the rudder off a Morgan 382 requires a few prerequisites… remove the gudgeon, disconnect the steering cables, remove the steering quadrant, remove the packing gland nut, and remove the packing material.  Once all these steps are completed then the boat must be hoisted up by the travel lift to provide the clearance necessary to slide the rudder out of the hull.

Based a visual assessment, I thought the gudgeon was fastened to the skeg with four bronze, counter sunk machine screws.  Unfortunately one of the screws had the head sheared off.  I purchased an impact driver and steeled myself for a battle to remove the gudgeon.  In one of the rare instances in which a boat project consumes less time than predicted, I had the rudder gudgeon removed in minutes. 
Pilgrim's Bronze Rudder Gudgeon
What I though was a sheared screw head was actually the opposite end of the bolt closest to the rudder.  I released the sigh heard round the boat yard upon realizing my glorious misunderstanding.  The gudgeon is held in place by three screws not four.   The two forward screws pass through the fiberglass skeg and mate with threads machined into the opposite gudgeon arm.  The aft fastener threads directly into the opposite side of the gudgeon. 
The inside faces of Pilgrim's rudder gudgeon.

Fortunately inside face of the gudgeon is in good condition.  Due to wear on the screw heads, we plan to replace the fasteners.  We will also need to replace the nylon bushings on the top and bottom of the gudgeon. 

The steering cables, quadrant, and packing gland are accessed via a hinged hatch under the helm seat.
Looking down from the cockpit into the locker that contains the steering quadrant and the rudder stock.

I was surprised to discover that the port side (right in image above), vertical support had been repaired sometime in the past.  My best guess is the rudder stop bolted onto the quadrant (bottom center in the image above) was driven into the post hard enough to break it.  Forces of this magnitude could occur in heavy seas or in grounding.  Fortunately the steering quadrant seems no worse for the wear and the repair appears sound.  

The steering cables and steering quadrant were not difficult to remove.  The plywood panels on either side of the steering mechanism were merely attached to the vertical posts so they too were jettisoned from the locker. 
Decades of dirt and scum coat the interior of the locker.
Generally speaking the surrounding locker was filthy.   While working in the area we pulled the engine exhaust hose and the defunct manual bilge pump.  Then I climbed inside with a scrub brush and some TSP.  Time for some serious scum removal.
In the rinsing phase of the locker clean up.
The space is tiny.  I could only fit my head sideways in the small void behind the helm seat back.  Looking the opposite direction required me to bend forward and place my head between my folded legs. The results were worth the discomfort.
Locker post scrub down.  Fitting at top of image is engine exhaust thru-hull.

Now for that massive packing nut…


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