Now the keel has been rehabbed, where the pintle that supports the rudder bolts to the wood, and the rudder has been reinstalled. Before that reinstallation we also added copper sheet to the lower part of the inside of the rudder tube. This was to address the serious collection of unusual marine growth within that cavity. Tube worms! Looking inside that closed space, after taking the rudder out, felt like something to do with a National Geographic special. Quite a few mussels too, and some barnacles, none of this good on a wooden structure that is ordinarily completely inaccessible. (See photo above.)

Because we are using ePaint for antifouling, we couldn’t just paint the inside of that well. ePaint uses reactions with UV light in order to work, and that’s a dark spot. Regular antifouling would have been an option, but would not have been accessible for new coats in the future. So we got some soft copper sheet and, thanks to Theo again, and some intricate cutting and folding, that area is now lined with copper. It’s bedded in Dolfinite, which was its own huge challenge. Suzanne, who did the dolfinite part, said “put this picture on the blog, and tell them that I was singing ‘what I did for love…'” Which she was.
(You’d think this was an ad for dolfinite, but it’s not – we just like the dolphin picture (as well as the product). As always, I am not receiving anything for mentions of particular materials, or anything else, in this blog.)
At least we get some laughs, but it really was a pesky job. Still, it feels worth it – it’ll be good to not have to worry about a worm farm in there, and potential rot of that part of the hull. If somebody reading this is planning to build one of these Chebacco boats, and to use it for more than short stints in the water, it would be a LOT easier to do something about this during construction…

Once the copper was sorted out, and the rudder back in place, the tiller “clamp” went on, along with the tiller. There was an issue about getting the tiller to sit at the correct angle for the autopilot, and doing this without tearing up the clamp – during installation, paint was inadvertently scraped to bare wood in just a few rounds of fussing with the tiller. Addressing this issue involved a screw and washer on each side of the tiller strap spacers, and a little metal shield for the clamp. As I said in the previous post on this steering subject, we now have a fantastic conversation piece; in this particular part of the process, we’ve had some good fun with the idea of the tiny little armor outfit, available for sailing gnomes…

All of this steering/rudder work has been going on gradually for months. The rudder even got several coats of bottom paint while it was off and so easy to work on in the heated shop, and the aft edge of the keel got its own turn with antifouling before the rudder went back on. This brings us to the present, as far as the steering rehab, where we are now working on the rudder stop. The next post will talk about that process.