It was a perfect day to pull the hull off of the keel this morning. Dense fog, near freezing, ice in the yard and on the boat and generally just a raw, cold, unfriendly kind of day.
Arrived at 8:00 and started pulling the covers off. I had to pump the bilge for a while due to lots of rain and being out of the country for almost 2 weeks. I measured the bolts; all of them except for one in the rear at 3/4”, were 1 1/2”. The boatyard had the appropriate sockets, 3/4” driver and pipe extension.
I cleaned up the mess surrounding the bolts and started in on removing them. Phenomenally easy. So, either they were never torqued correctly or it’s just easy with something of that size. Either way, the bolts were off and out within 30 minutes.
After that I started in on grinding out the keel/hull joint while the yard worker started in on getting the rudder ready to drop. One thing that stood out for me was that there was not a lick of sealant between the keel and the keel stub. I expected to find some. Not sure what’s going one but I do know that a previous owner had the bottom shaved off and replaced with epoxy and what I think I see in the joint is lots of epoxy.
While I worked on the keel. Charlie, the boatyard guy, worked on getting the rudder ready to drop. He spent a lot of time under the cockpit. We soaked the bolts on the quadrant earlier with PB Blaster and hit them with the propane torch. It was pretty clear that they had never been touched since the boat rolled out of the factory in Canada. No real reason to suspect why they should have.
But as is usually the case with stainless steel bolts in aluminum threads, several decided that they didn’t want to budge. A couple of hours later the heads were cut off and the quadrant lay in pieces under the cockpit. As always with projects some things that seem easy end up being larger jobs than thought.
Now it’s much later in the day. After removing the two bolts securing the top-piece on the end of the rudder shaft we couldn’t move it. Ergo, the rudder remained firmly in place. After not forcing it but applying the just “getting a bigger rock” work method we were able to get it to start to unscrew. Which we hope is how it is attached….
Anyway, Charlie is going to make a tool to use for unscrewing it and we will get back to the job bright (hopefully) and early tomorrow.
Rudder that won’t drop: