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Date Posted: - Tuesday - 02/28/12 - 9:17am
Author: Seatz (M32 #49 "Blues Traveler")
Subject: Rudder problems on M32 "Blues Traveler"

Dear fellow Mariner owners,

We, Seatz (Holland) & Jennifer (New Zealand) both 30yo are the new lucky owners of M32 #49 "Blues Traveler"
we both knew Phil, the previous owner personally and it didn't take long for us to decide on the buy.

Here is a picture of her during the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2009:
Blues Traveler
She's been on the hard for the last 7 months and doesn't look like that any more so it needs a bit of work before we can launch her again.

Our intentions with the boat are similar to Phil, that is: doing big blue water stuff and long passages and explore remote places.
in the end we want to end up in New Zealand where we both started our sailing trip a few years ago.

This is our first boat so we still have a lot to learn but i'm glad there are still a few Mariners out there and with all the info on the website and forum we should be all right.

First thing i noticed when i was sanding the rudder is that the top and bottom dowel's were coming out, and after pealing off the flexible adhesive i noticed that the bolts and rod were loose and to my surprise they just both fell out after cleaning around them.
the bottom one is broken at the bolt but at the top the rod is broken 3 inches further inside.
when i looked at the broken bronze rod i noticed that electrolysis had eaten away more then 3/4 of the rod and only a little bit of actual bronze material was left in the center of the rod.

I'm a bit puzzled how this happened cause i assume that the top of the rudder shaft is grounded (haven;t checked this yet)
I also didn't see an anode on the rudder itself to protect it from electrolysis.
maybe the grounding wire is gone or corroded beyond like i;ve seen at most of the other groundplates/through hole fittings.

My concern is that all the 5 rods are just as bad as the top one and that i have to take the rudder off and replace the rods.
I've seen a post of Kathy M32 #3 and Steve B that had the same problem, but i didn't see any detailed pictures of how the whole thing is connected.

i can't do anything with the rudder yet because i just filled a 1" crack in the middle of it with 5200 and it has to dry for a few days first.

All in all the design of the rudder could use a bit of improvement. something like long trips of bronze wrapped around the bronze shaft and bolted onto the wood of the rudder.

The last thing i want is losing a rudder in the middle of the Pacific so i like to fix this properly before we launch here.

Thanks in advance for all your advice and i will send Bill an email soon to update the info on "Blues Traveler".

Seatz & Jen
M32 #49 "Blues Traveler"

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[> Rudder Posts -- Gitano Vela (M31 #95), - Tuesday - 02/28/12 - 2:13pm

The good news is that you have a Monitor wind-vane. The pattern that Scanmar issues for the Mariner 32 is from Blues Traveler (Phil Lacca). I recommend that you purchase an M-Rud prior to making any long passages, if one didn't come with the boat.http://www.selfsteer.com/products/monitor/mrud.php. Regarding the rudder posts - thanks for the info. I will be checking mine out more closely next haul out. I have done just about any repair/upgrade imaginable to our boats, so feel free to call if questions come up.
Fair winds

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[> [> rudder repair -- James (m-31" Pyxis"), - Tuesday - 02/28/12 - 4:16pm

I pulled my rudder for repairs after finding some corrosion in the bronze bolts that hold the rudder on the post. I found 2 of the 6 bolt were missing heads at the post the other 4 were very difficult to remove. I had to cut them out. After I epoxy filled and faired the rudder and then rapped the wood and post with fiber Glass. That was 2 years ago and the rudder looks great. I also placed a zinc on the rudder shoe and post.

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[> [> [> Blues Traveler Pyxix Rudder Repairs -- Gitano, - Tuesday - 02/28/12 - 5:44pm

Hi James. I just called your phone number - it didn't work. Are you in Mexico? Please email your phone number, or just give me a call. I want to pick you brain about those repairs you made.

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[> [> [> Rudder problem -- Seatz, - Sunday - 03/ 4/12 - 11:45am

Hi James and Gitano,
thanks for the response.

The bad news is that the Windvaine has been removed and isn't there anymore.
We are looking for a used one but don't have the $3000 laying around just now :)

I haven't removed the the rudder yet and by the looks of the other ends of the rod's and bolts it will be a big job since the plugs are epoxied in the rudder at the end.

James, did you replace the old rods with new bronze ones and which size did you use? i measured them and it seems to be 8mm. i can get bronze rod's shipped over from Rhode Island but they will be 3/8 i guess. would this fit or do i need to drill bigger holes?

It might be good to put a howto on this in the project section since it seems like a common problem after 40 years with these kind of rudders.

I will try to email Kathy and other people who have done this before to get some more info before i start ordering the wrong stuff. it might take a while to ship to St. Thomas as well.

Thanks again.

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[> [> [> [> thred new rods -- Ardi "Tygeta" m31, - Sunday - 03/ 4/12 - 7:36pm

I did it for my boat, not a big deal. Cant remeber the size of the rods but i think it was 5/16 silicon bronze.
They start from 12" the top one, to 24" the bottom one if I remember right. They are not all horizontal but the first and the last. I got the silicon bronze rod and cut in the right length in 6 pieces, on each one I hammered one end to make it thicker so wouldn't go through the rudder shaft and to be in the safe side I put a washer, on the other ends with a tool that i bought in a hardwear store I made the threds for the nuts. Then I ran it through the shaft and the teak rudder without taking the rudder out. Do not tighten them to much because the rudder will expend from the water. So make the ends, put a washer, run it through , put anothet washer , put a lock washer and then put the nut on. You gonna need a vise though, to hold the ruds to hummer the ends and make the threads.
Good luck.


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[> [> [> [> [> here is a web-site for silicon bronze -- Ardi, - Sunday - 03/ 4/12 - 8:10pm

Get one long piece 8' and cut it yourself http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?pid=7821&step=4&showunits=inches&id=301&top_cat=850

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[> [> [> [> [> [> Rudder problems on M32 "Blues Traveler" -- Seatz, - Monday - 03/12/12 - 11:42am

Hi Ardi,

thanks for the website.
it turns out the rod is 5/16 Diameter (0.3125")

And i got the rudder of last weekend but now i wish i hadn't because it was actually still attached very well.
first i got those wooden plugs out and discovered that another nut was broken off.
After trying to loosen the other nuts they all broke off and once all nuts were off there still wasn't much movement between the ruddershaft and the wood. then after prying and hammering a putty knive between the shaft and rudder and using a big screw driver and crowbar i finally got some space between the shaft and rudder and with some more brute force i could see the rods finally.
unfortenatly i did damaged the wood quite a bit which is a shame.
Then i had to hacksaw the rod's and finally got the whole rudder off.

i did read in some posts how the rod's were attached to the rudder but because the shaft was covered in a few layers of paint and antifouling i could't quite see how.
then after sanding it down i noticed the little round rim.

But as you said you don't have to take the rudder of and just hammer the rods out. that didn't work for me because the end of the rods were all corroded. although the beginning at the shaft were ok.
and the most bottom one doesn't come out because there is not enough space between the shaft and the keel. even when you turn the wheel all the way sideways.

sorry for bad explanation but English is not my first language.

Now i wanted to order a 8ft piece of the C655 5/16 bronze rod from onlinemetals because they are one of the few that have that size and they are pretty cheap.

Problem is: they only use UPS as a shipping option and to the US Virgin Islands that would cost me $120.
Other problem is that i can't really use the boatyards address here because things do get lost easily so i use USPS and have it delivered to the post office by "General Delivery" but UPS doesn't want to deliver it to the USPS post office and i have to pick it up from there office which is a lot of hassle and sometimes included extra fees and costs.

I can have the rods. (could be 2 pieces of 4ft) send to a address on the US mainland which only costs $12 and then have them send it by USPS to the USVI which is between $30 and $40 but i don't really know anyone in the US (except for a few "friends" in NY that never have time) that are willing to do this for me.

Anyone here like to help me out please?

now i really wish i hadn't removed the rudder because the rods were still good at the beginning of the shaft and i could have reinforced it a bit and launch the boat.
now we are delayed even further.

Thank you in advance.
s/y "Blues Traveler"

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Don't ! -- Ardi, - Thursday - 03/15/12 - 6:41pm

Get a hole 8 feet rod , don't tell them to cut it. You will cut the pieces there when you can measure them. Else you might end up with 2-3 short pieces that will not fit.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> already did -- Seatz, - Friday - 03/16/12 - 11:14am

Too late. i already ordered 2 4ft pieces.
based on my measurements i can cut the 6 pieces out of this.
they are not all the same and the new one don't have to be as long as the old ones because the holes in the back of the rudder are quite deep and the thread doesn't have to stick too far out.

i did add 2 inches to every pieces just to be on the safe side and to make the wider end on the rudder shaft.

maybe when the whole thing is done i will write an article and post it to Bill for on the website.
i did take same pictures of the whole process of taking of the old rudder.

Thanks again.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Don't thred them more than it need -- Ardian, - Saturday - 03/17/12 - 8:35am

The threds would corrode faster than the rest, so don't thred them beyond of what you need. When you put the nuts they have to be a little lose because the teak ruder will expend from the water, that is the problem with cracked ones that people fiberglass. Don't fiberglass the rudder, that will make it rott from the standing water encapsulated in fiberglass.Use Anti-Corrosion Spray at the threds-nuts and the other end, you can find it in almost any marine store. No need to epoxy the teak plugs, just put bottom paint and plug them in. Mine have been there just fine for 6 years so far. Put a lot of bottom paint in the rudder, tripple of what you use in the hull, fill all the scratches and gaps.

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> ic -- yan b, - Saturday - 03/17/12 - 2:22pm

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> howto remove the 2 lower bronze rods? -- Seatz, - Tuesday - 04/ 3/12 - 10:10am

Hi Ardi,

thanks for that info, that's very useful and i knew i shouldn't epoxy or fiberglass the rudder because of the problems other mariner owner's had with there rudders.

I finally got the bronze rods last week end have started to flatten the ends of the rod but i can't get the 2 lower ones out because the rudder only goes 45 degrees sideways and the flat end is hitting the back of the keel.
i looked into disconnection the rudder post and the gear and wheel so i can move the whole thing 90 degrees but this seems quite a mission. the only solution i can think of is cut a bit out of the end of the keel and then fill it with epoxy again.

anyone any better ideas?

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[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Try to bend them as they come out -- Ardi, - Wednesday - 04/ 4/12 - 10:35pm

I can't recall how I did but they are not hard to bend , So as they start coming out of the rudder shaft bent them so they don't touch the keel. Don't remember exacly how I did , long time.

Good luck.

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[> Postal middle-man -- Mark AEOLUS M31, - Tuesday - 03/13/12 - 2:57pm

Seatz, thanks for sharing your rudder dilemma as I for one have been worrying about the old bronze rods. Sounds like it would take quite a bit to have the rudder drop off unexpected. At least you'll have peace of mind that that can't happen.
As far as the shipping goes if you don't get a better offer I'd be glad to ship the rods on down to you. I live on the west coast of FL. west of Tampa, the zip is 34683. Let me know if I can help.

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[> one day I will be sailing also. Nice ship btw!!! -- Marcos S, - Saturday - 03/17/12 - 2:26pm

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[> Rudder Pattern/Diagram/Dimensions - Mariner 31 #72 -- Emory Gleason (Sad), - Friday - 07/27/12 - 1:28am

Does anyone have a rudder pattern/diagram/specific dimension for a Mariner 31 near to hull # 72?

Tango Adagio formerly PyWaKet lost a rudder in the middle of Puget Sound due to same corroded rudder bolts being discussed in this article.

I need to make another, but do not have the old rudder for a pattern.


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[> Rudder size -- Ardi. M31 Taygeta # 98, - Friday - 07/27/12 - 8:50am

I would take a 2'x4' plywood,place it vertical on the side of the rudderpost holding it with clamps, get the line of the shape of the rudder based on your rudder post.At the top THE RUDDER AND THE RUDERPOST is 10",REMEMBER THAT. If the rudderpost is 1 1/2 (not sure about that, measure yours) the rudder itself would be : 10 - 1 1/2 + 1/2 = 9" where 1/2 is the one third of the rudderpost, the round side that will go around the rudderpost. The aft side is vertical, the bottom is horizontal so that agle is 90, the fore is angeled and has the curve for the propeler fit, the top one is about 1" higher aft and goes down toward the rudderpost. The ruder posts in our boats are all fabricated individualy so they can't be all the same. Yours might be a little diferent from other boats. Now, the side of rudder that is attached to the rudderpost is not flat, it is rounded to fit the rudderpost about 1/3 of it in, for strengh and so it does'nt drag water as well, this side is at least as thick as the diameter of the rudderpost and get thiner aft.
I don't think anybody can help you with exact measurements because we have sanded and painted them a lot over the years. So...
The rods that hold the ruder are not all horizontal. The top and the botton one are the only ones that go across the rudder horizontal. The second from the top goes from higher fore to lower aft, the third goes from lower fore to higher aft, the forth goes from higher fore to lower aft and the fifth goes from lower fore to higher aft . They create some trapesoids so the 2 or 3 pieces that the rudder is build out of don't move up and down.

Hope you have enough info now. Good luck.

What are you going to build it out of ? Teak or glass ?

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[> [> Mariner 31 Rudder Size -- Emory Gleason (Thankful), - Friday - 07/27/12 - 12:24pm

Thank you for your prompt rudder specifics and advice.

My intent is to build the replacement from teak.

Best regards,


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