R 22

Rhodes 22


Rudder Repairs

I've discovered that the upper rudder case spacer (wood) has split. When I took possession of the boat there was another spacer that came with it that had been split as well the entire full length, unlike the one I discovered that was only split at the top. It appears that if I made another one from wood that it too would fail in time as the upper dimensions are such that the hole for the through bolt is much too close to the top of the block. This block also functions as the tiller stop and consequently takes a bit of downward shock at times. I'm thinking about having a replacement machined from aluminum stock.

Any thoughts, input, comments from those more experienced than I would be appreciated.

Ralph Bibbus
S/V "Little Wing"
04 Jan 1999

Our 1976 Rhodes 22 also had the upper rudder case spacer made from wood. In our case, the previous owner had neglected to varnish it every year and it was starting to rot. I made the replacement from a piece of black UV inhibited, ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Hey, I'm a chemical engineer. I am irresistibly drawn to maintenance-free indestructible plastics.

Seriously, you will be able to cut the piece yourself with a saber saw, drill out the holes with a hand drill, and finish with a belt sander. The stuff is as slippery as Teflon, so clean-up involves simply wiping with a damp rag & it will be totally impervious to the marine environment, whereas aluminum will eventually have corrosion, even if painted or anodized. I built my plastic rudder case spacer back in 1988 and it still looks like new. I don't remember what the blank piece cost.

You should be able to buy it at any industrial plastics supply firm. If you can't locate one in your area, the firm I dealt with is called "Exotic Rubber & Plastics", 10341 Hercules Drive, Freeland, MI (517) 695-5300. (How about that name?)

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium

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