Reinstall rudder, big job ticked

by Glen

Mon 24 May, HHN day 41: Rudder raised back into boat and secured, CV joint bolts torqued, engine room tidied, and THE infamous HOLE is backfilled.

What a horrible night. I just could not seem to get the heat out of the boat after that hot humid day. Even when the tent was cool in the evening, and fans on full blast everywhere trying to drag that cool air inside, the heat persisted well into the night. And oh, what a contrast today. Back to low 20s (65 degF) and raining. Loooovely!

Early morning I had hoped to hear back from JP3 before we start rudder ops. I make a call to France, but of course, it’s May and almost every other day is a public holiday, today being one of them. I don’t think there is any other country in the world that has so many public holidays! Well good on them, work to live, not live to work.

Ray is here midmorning and, despite lacking specific guidance from JP3, we start preparations to reinstall rudder, lift it back into the boat. Pretty much what I did lowering it, but in reverse. And this time no running up and down the ladder.
Today, Ray is manning the ratchet straps (Ratchet-Strap-Ray as he will be known today) while I am inside, hauling with every ounce of my strength, pulling the rudder upwards a few cm at a time. Impossible to lift it with just my setup inside, and also impossible with just the ratchet straps to the aft cleats. But joggling the weight both from inside and outside seems to be the way to go.

Step by step, we get the top for the stock ready to engage into the upper bearing. But the tolerances are just so tight that it’s close to impossible to get it docked in there. So I revert to the method JP3 told me was not necessary: I lower the upper bearing completely out of its housing and get the thread docked that way, with virtually zero stresses on the thread. Then, once threaded on most of the way, it’s just a matter of lifting the ball back into its housing, then screwing the lower cap back on.

Finally, it’s almost there, and now Paul has joined Ray below. They are shouting how many centimeters to go… then millimeters, then finally the rudder is back in place with “2 thicknesses of paper” (quote Paul) between the rudder and hull. Well, I like my lifting foils to be efficient! Actually, this is the exact position is had been previously. A very close fit. Pretty good for fouling too: if a barnacle grows too big for its boots, it simply gets decapitated during the next turn on the helm!

I feel instant relief once the rudder is finally back in safely. That was quite some exercise, both physically and mentally, not to mention the maintenance and modifications side of it. I have to say I’m pretty pleased with it. Now let’s just hope we don’t have a gusher when we launch!

Later in the afternoon I fit the helm and autohelm quadrants, then outside to clear up there. And now that all the yard staff have gone home, I decide is as good as any time to refill the offending hole that I had dug in the yard, for the rudder to drop into.
Once it is filled, no one will know (excepting close friends…. and you readers) just how deep it actually was!

Now, whenever I’ve filled a hole in before, and trust me I’ve done a few (mostly metaphorical holes, I’ve dug myself into!), there is always dirt left over. Well, this one, possibly due to my expert compacting (always been a good compacter 😊), I managed to get the very last shovel full back into the hole just as it was completely filled. Which also means my offending dirt pile is now completely gone.
With the gravel evenly re-spread over the top, you would never know the hole had ever existed. I feel like calling the yard managed to come and inspect my labor, but best just to let sleeping dogs lie, eh?

In the evening, I’m in the engine room torqueing up the CV bolts. A fellow Hallberg-Rassy owner kindly put a comment on the blogs with information on the exact torque needed for my CV-30 size. Thanks for that, Juha.
And with that done, all my handy work is then covered by the engine room grating and I finally have the space back to normal. Maybe I should get transparent Perspex grating, then I can stare at my new drive train all day!

My to-do list is getting very green these days. Things are really coming together.
And today I also received the parts from Hallberg-Rassy in Sweden. Another amazing delivery. Dispatched from their office last thing Thursday and in my hands Monday morning. Thanks to Ludvig, my amazing friend there.
And zero tax or duty to pay. I’m a bit perplexed by this. USA is the one country in the world where you cannot get away with not paying Uncle Sam’s taxes. Yet they allow imports like this to come in duty free. Go figure. Certainly makes a big price difference to Europe: no Swedish VAT at 26%, and no import duty either. Love it.

It’s been an invigorating day today. And wonderful temperature. But it’s now 1.30am… gotta go to sleep, and dream sweet dreams about rudders and tidy engine rooms!

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3 comments

John Tully May 27, 2021 - 12:38 pm

Wow , what a big job , that’s a massive bearing !!

We have a Bristol 45.5 and I plan to drop the rudder shortly, the boat was built in 1981 and I doubt the rudder has ever been out . The rudder is semi balance and has a partial skeg . The pivot point at the bottom is bronze which supports the majority of the weight rudder so the top bearing is just a cutlass bearing with a packing on top of a stand pipe well above the water line so even if the packing completely fails water will not enter the boat unless you have a very steep following sea then you may get some splash up the tube . The rudder is solid glass with all bronze reinforcement plates inside , no foam , This thing will be heavy like yours . Should be loads of fun .

Funny about customs and duty to be paid sometimes they just seem to slip up and other times there right on it.

You have the best sailing site on youtube , we really enjoy it.

Regards John & Andrea S/V Salserenity

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Glen June 9, 2021 - 8:27 am

John, Andrea, thanks for the nice comment. And yes, that bearing is massive. But I guess it is appropriately sized for a large spade rudder. Skeg hung rudders, with their lower support, wont need to be so large.
Bristol 45 is a good solid boat!
Rgds
Glen & Oana

Reply
John Tully June 9, 2021 - 11:32 am

Hey Glen , yes shes a fine boat we are looking forward to some offshore time soon. Were are you heading once you get done your refit ?

Regards John & Andrea

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