The first inspection in the spring revealed a foot long crack on the leading edge of Malaika’s rudder.
The problem with rudders is that they become filled with moisture during the sailing season and the moisture remains during the winter. Freezing temperatures change the moisture into ice, which expands and cracks occur on the rudder.
An easy solution to avoid this, is to simply remove the rudder altogether in the fall and keep it in a warm place over the winter.
But now, we are faced with fixing it, and we decided to reinforce all the edges with Kevlar. The best place in town to buy the material to do this, reasonably priced, and to get great advice on how to use it, is COMPOSITES CANADA on 1100 Meyerside Dr. in Mississauga.
Not only they carry everything you want, they are also very willing to explain the process to make it a successful repair.
The repair kit includes:
System Three Epoxy #2 Medium
Cabosil N-20 Fumed Silica
Kevlar tape 5OZ x 2″
Airtech Econostitch Peel Ply
And all the brushes, mixing cups and sticks you can dream of.
After sanding the edges of the rudder, we mixed the resin and Cabosil into a paste as thick as peanut butter and filled the crack.
Then, we applied a coat of resin along this filled edge and laid the Kevlar tape on top, followed by many coats of resin. No need to wait for it to dry.
To finish it off, we laid the Airtech Econostitch Peel Ply on top, leaving one end loose, applied one more coat of resin, waited about half an hour, and then peel that last ribbon off to obtain a nice smooth finish.
The process took about 3 hours to complete on a warm sunny day (20 degree celsius)
We finished the repair with a coat of primer — Interlux VC Epoxy/Teflon V127 — followed by a coat of VC 17.
Of course, many sailors went by during the process, each one offering their own piece advice or solution to the problem. We just had to carry on with our plan and we will report later on in the season with the result of this repair.
We are confident now that the repair will hold. The first test will be next week when we set sail to bring Malaika from Toronto to Georgian Bay.
This blog will keep you updated on this exciting trip.