Great article on replacing the rudder on Epiphany from Mark H.!
Enjoy – Greg S. – Wailana
I wanted to add to a couple of the current topics on your blog. BTW, I very much appreciate all the info and opinion that you’ve collected to date from the various contributors. It’s great stuff for the Express 34 information starved world.
First, the rudder. I purchased (now named Epiphany) back in 2012 and the survey indicated that the rudder skin was completely delaminated from the core. The surveyor attributed this to the cold Vermont winters and leaks around the rudder shaft allowing water to leak into the foam core of the rudder and then the freezing action to break the fiberglass skin from the core. In any case, I purchased a secondhand Express 37 rudder (carbon affair from Waterat of Larry Tuttle fame). I was told the rudder I bought was a second generation Schumacher design. Once I pulled the rudder out, I compared the planform (one on top of the other) and there is very little difference, except for the shaft length and the rudder tip. In fact, I only needed to shorten the shaft by 5-7 inches (I don’t recall the exact value) and add a new bottom Jefa (at PYI Inc.) bearing and new stainless sleeve for the post. It fit like a glove and actually looks like the rudder Schumacher intended (based on the blueprints I’ve included). For the purposes of information sharing, I include pics of the old rudder with most of the skin and some of the core removed. The original post appears to be hollow stainless steel tubing welded to the framework within the rudder. Given that the boat had been in fresh water for the previous 16 years, the lack of rust isn’t too remarkable. I had intended to rebuild the rudder to have as a spare in case my used carbon rudder failed. Since the carbon rudder is working like a champ, I will like toss the old rudder out at some point. There are only so many jobs I can do. I bring this point up as if you can locate someone building Express 37 rudders, you have a solution. Note, for some reason, my original rudder was entirely elliptical whereas most appear to be a clipped elliptical. I can’t explain the difference.
Second, standing rigging. I replaced all the standing rigging as soon as I purchased Epiphany in 2012 with the belief that the included rigging was original (maybe it is, maybe not). I went straight back to Buzz Ballenger (http://www.ballengerspars.com) the OEM for the Express rigs. He had all the specs on hand and quickly delivered a perfectly fitting rig. It was a very fair price. I cannot over state this, if you are looking for standing rigging for the Express, call Buzz. Also, this year I broke from my 30+ years of sailing and added a roller furler to the boat. I love it (maybe that’s a reflection of getting old). I don’t notice any discernible difference in speed (yes, I know there must be some) and the spin hoists and takedowns are much easier and faster with the furler. Single handing the boat is now really easy.
Third, the head. I had to add a little bit of ledge to the floor to mount an Airhead composting toilet. Although I haven’t used it in anger for an extended duration, I’m sold on the concept and implementation.
Forth, the dehumidifier. I think I have exactly the same Frigidaire model that you do (purchased as Lowes). It’s made a big difference in the smell and general comfort of the boat at the dock.
Fifth, fixing rotten core. I’ve now done enough balsa core repair that I feel that I have some level of expertise. I’ll share more on that another time.
Old rudder stock from Express 34
“New” rudder mounted on Epiphany, fairing out some skin ripples from voids in the core (had to inject epoxy into the rudder to fill the voids.