most difficult boat repair

The Most Challenging Sailboat Repair Of All Time? Part 1

We undertook a full refit of our sailboat in Thailand back in 2014, but ten years later encountered the most challenging sailboat repair we’ve faced since owning SY Esper.

Once more, hauled out at Medana Bay Marina, we had to sort out our steering issue, which we believed was being caused by the rudder. The only way to be sure was to take the rudder off and check…

most challenging sailboat repair
The boat yard

Could removing the Rudder be our most challenging sailboat repair?

We started off by trying to lever the rudder and knocking the rudder stock from above. But nothing moved.

At this point, we were beginning to wonder if this really would be our most challenging sailboat repair of all time, it certainly felt like it!

So, in week two we asked our mechanic, Hendro, to make up a steel collar to fit around the top of the bronze fitting. Which he did, in between all his other jobs. This, of course, delayed things further because he’s always in big demand. It ended up taking a week to be made.

most challenging sailboat repair
Net casting at Medana Bay

Then, in Week 3, we spent most days whacking the fitting to budge the rudder. This sounds easy enough, but we couldn’t afford to damage the bronze heel, so it took a careful balance of brute force and gentleness.

most challenging sailboat repair
The Marina Dogs Were Less Than Impressed

By week four we had achieved absolutely nothing. So we rolled up our sleeves and put our thinking caps on.

To find out what we did next, watch the video…

  • 00:00 Preparing lines for haulout
  • 01:55 Hauling out (at Medana Bay, Indonesia)
  • 03:35 What should we do about the anitfoul?
  • 04:30 Checking the hull and prop
  • 07:50 Removing the rudder: Week 1
  • 09:02 Removing the rudder: Weeks 2 & 3
  • 09:30 Removing the rudder: Week 4
  • 10:34 Removing the rudder: Update
  • 12:41 Another Oyster 435’s solution
  • 14:13 We begin cuttingā€¦

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