You may remember a post from last fall in which I detailed a rusted rudder stock bracket. Today I took a deep breath and went after it. In about an hour I had it out of the boat. Last time I tried to take it off I gave up. This time, I wasn’t going to stop until it was off the boat – a determined attitude made it much easier to remove.
Last time – two years ago, I think – I became convinced that it was held on with 3M 5200 in addition to six or eight through-bolts. I remember having trouble with one of the bolts, but reasoned that I should be able to move the bracket with one remaining bolt. I was wrong. I discovered today, that all bolts must be removed to really get it moving at all. It had been attached to the underside of the cockpit for 32 years, and was inclined to stay where it was. Amazingly, all but two of the nuts spun off with little drama. I cut the other two off with an angle grinder. Here are a few photos from where it was installed:
If any Watkins owners out there fear that their boat isn’t robust, they can rest easy. This rudder and shaft aren’t going anywhere if all the components are in good shape. It is safe to say that the steering gear on the Watkins 27 is overbuilt by a good bit. The rudder bracket started life as a piece of 3/8 steel, about 24″ in length bolted in 8 places to the cockpit sole. It’s heavy. My only worry about this bracket was the amount of material lost to rust. If you’ve looked at the post linked above, you’ll see what I mean. For clarity, here are a few more photos of the bracket.
I will replace this bracket with galvanized channel of the same original dimensions. Two pieces of 3/8″ steel bolt on to the top of this bracket to form the upper rudder bearing. I replaced them two years ago with 3/8″ stainless.
Although it looks (and feels!) like I’m in the middle of 3 or 4 projects at once, sometime in the near future I hope to start putting things back together.