When we purchased Resa we knew that the rudder bearings would need maintenance or replacement. It was an known issue that had shown up in the survey and was highlighted to us by the broker. We knew before we purchased and hence we negotiated on the price based on the time, cost, labor that we expected to need to deal with it. Turns out it was a bit more then we anticipated in all three factors.
We hauled Resa into the Port Angeles Boat Haven yard on July 17th and I actually asked the yard guy to just keep it in the sling so that we could drop the rudder. After about 30 minutes we quickly realized that we were in a bit over our heads and we had him set it up on the stands for the long haul.
Keith started immediately with trying to loosen and remove the rudder bearings but even with the screws loose the shaft would not drop. And so began the saga of trying to figure out how the rudder was even built and supported. Unfortunately for me I did not find the Sweden Yachts Facebook group until the very end of this adventure or else I would have had a modicum of information by which to navigate. Instead we were left to investigate on our own, trial and error and talking to oodles of people.
The first part of the adventure was just getting the bearings off, just removing the set screws didn't work so we knew there was some corrosion that was holding it up. Keith hammered on it for several days without breaking the seal. People suggested heat - so he spent a long time heating then hammering without movement. Finally we called in our friend Jared and asked for his input. He suggested higher and longer amounts of heat but he said it might come down to cutting them off. He works at a professional yard and had seen this happen many times in the past. We decided to give Keith another week to try other approaches and then if we didn't make progress we'd go the messy route, cutting off the old bearings.
Keith didn't even give it a full week - quickly noting that no matter what he did it wasn't working so he began cutting at the lower bearing unit mid week. Jared met him on Saturday and between the two of them they completely cut off both bearings and with the boot removed we were able to drop the rudder to the ground.
I spent weeks looking for a replacement bearing. I was able to find a duplicate, made with cast iron, but I figured if we were going through all this time and money I wanted to do this right so I began to hunt for a full stainless bearing. Luckily the guys at Applied Industrial Technologies in Everett (near Seattle) were super helpful and went on a hunt on my behalf. They found exactly what I was looking for but they would not ship to my house due to the cost and so I spent a day driving back and forth to Seattle to pick them up. They were super shiny!!!
When it came time to put the rudder all back together we needed additional help to lift the rudder, support it, spot it, align it, set the bearings, nuts on the shoes etc etc. Luckily we had plenty of volunteers and with a dynamic team of boat lovers we managed to get the rudder in place and back on the boat. That left Keith, Jared and I doing the final tunings and that's when we figured out that even with the new bearings there was still a minor vibration in the rudder that we determined was due to irregularities in the bronze shoe where it wrapped around the rudder. Most likely just due to years of wear. Our option was to take it all apart (yah not!) or live with it and maybe in the future take it apart and have the shoe rebuilt by a shop. For now we put some Teflon tape in between and it's smooth and solid. We splashed Resa back in the water on August 17th, exactly one month on the hard.
A long boring tale of rudder woes - days that are now behind us but I'm noting here for sometime in my future when I forget what a royal pain the buttocks this project really was. On the bright side, I had plenty of time to do a full bottom job on the boat. We replaced two thru hulls that were no longer working, cleaned up the speed transducer and fixed the blisters on the rudder that were also noted on the survey. All told, a pretty successful month!
I'm the wife of the captain, a mother of three boys and a PM in the corporate world. This blog is my view of life and activities related to our boat.