i have the old style rudders but I've heard those should be upgraded (they're pretty clunky and I've heard of people having issues).
I like the older rudder housings better than the new ones. I HATE the cam in the new ones and when I have to use them I cut the cam and go hookless (Another long story). If you are talking about the rudders themselves, yes, replace the while plastic rudders when you can with EPOs. Much better performance out of the boat when the rudders don't flex with weather helm.
looking through the ports I can see lighter places in the bottoms and further inspection on the outside shows what looks like some grey fiberglass showing through so I think i have a bottom job to do
The Glass (Poly) is much thicker than you think. The gel is thin and it is common to see the gel worn off. If excessive then yes, get the bottom job, but if not....sail the boat.
We sail out in the gorge and have been blown over in the Hobie Wave more times that I can count in heavy wind but I'm guessing the 18 will be a bit harder to get back upright.
planning on building the Solo-right apparatus.
The Gorge? Crazy ass place to sail but some of best sailing I have ever done. We were there for the 2014 NAC for the Hobie 18s. The 18 is a good boat for the Gorge but not for single handing
. DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT take your new crew out there and expect them to ever sail again!!!! You will freak them out! The 18 is not hard to get back up but make sure your mast doesn't leak. It is an older boat and probably hasn't been maintained very well. If the mast leaks after you flip..............well, yeah, good luck with that.
Good Luck and Make sure to contact Div 4 as others have mentioned. They have one of the best 18 fleets in the States. (Other than CA)