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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rudder Removal

Last week finally provided a warm, clear day to crank up the travel lift and elevate Pilgrim enough to remove her rudder.

The rope securing the rudder in place prior to lifting the boat.

Prior to removing the rudder packing nut and gudgeon, I supported the rudder atop a stack of wood.  With the nut and gudgeon gone the unknown mass of rudder rested solely atop the wood below.  Rather that attempt to guide the post out as the boat was lifted; I ran a 5/8” dock line under the rudder, over the deck and back down to the opposite side of the rudder.   Using a trucker’s hitch, I tensioned the rope.

As the travel lift elevated Pilgrim the rope held in position relative to the boat.  We elevated the boat to a point where the rudder was approximately 6” above stack of blocks.  The blocks were then removed.   Slack was slowly fed through the trucker’s hitch.  The slid easily free of the hull.  Success.

To my surprise, I was able to pick up the rudder and carry it to a pallet alongside the engine.

The rudder resting on a pallet alongside the engine.

I found the rudder more awkwardness of the rudder more challenging than the sheer weight. I’m not good at guessing weight, but the rudder is less than 100 lbs.  Hopefully I will be able to weight it before and after the modifications. 

Fortunately the procedure revealed no surprises – you never know what you are going to find.

Aft side of the skeg.  No surprises here. 

The inside radius of the skeg and the area around the gudgeon cut out need to be cleaned up.  With the rudder out of the way we may go ahead and replace the cutlass bearing.  We have come this far and Pilgrim needs a new prop shaft.  So a new cutlass bearing is likely in the future.

While Pilgrim was elevated, we inserted plastic sheeting under the blocks (visible in the image above.)  The plastic sheeting is foreshadowing of the dreaded anti-fouling paint removal.   Last summer’s hull repairs and thru-hull replacement necessitated removing bottom paint from approximately 1/3 of the hull.  The yard requested that we lay down plastic sheeting and tent around the boat before removing the rest of the bottom paint.  This is a reasonable request as the anti-fouling paint is noxious to bystanders, can foul surrounding boats, and is toxic if it leaches into the ground water.  

We will likely tackle the bottom paint in the near future.  Better to suit up in all the protective gear during the cool winter months than to sweat it out in the summer.

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