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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:30 am 
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Location: Edgewater, MD
So as many have experienced in the past, we've had some problems tuning our rudder assembly (resulting in a couple broken rudder blades). Unfortunately we sail in some pretty shallow waters and when the rudders dont kick up as they are supposed to - they break off where the upper-most mounting hole is. So we obviously need to tune our rudder cams to prevent them from locking up so often, my question is, would it be worth-while to upgrade to nicer blades while we're at it? Are the EPO or newer blades any stronger/faster than the plastic POS's we currently employ? If so, anyone have some they would like to unload? Thanks

In the meantime we have just cut the blade shorter and drilled new holes. Seems to work fine.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:56 am 
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Location: Jersey Shore
A composite blade (EPO I, II, III or fiberglass racing rudder) will perform significantly better than a plastic blade (lexan, etc.). Its one of the most wothwhile upgrades you can make to your boat. You will have improved steering, improved upwind performance, and less rudder ventillation. That being said, I would not put $500 to $1000 rudders on the boat until you sort out your kick-up issues. You do not want to break one of these rudders. Also, if you're sailing somewhere that your rudders kick up often from running aground, then you may also want to think twice about getting higher end rudders. The nicest rudders on the planet won't do you any good if they are kicked up half the time. And dragging them along the bottom is going to ruin them pretty quickly.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:34 pm 
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Location: Florida
Additionally if your rudders don't kick you can do serious damage to the transom.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:10 pm 
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I am currently trying to find some EPO rudders but cant afford new ones for 450 each!! I have found some red EPO2's for $260 slightly used. I originally wanted to find Some cheep EPO1's for $75 or so but they are hard to find. We already have some older hobie fiberglass rudders but are pretty scratched and the leading edge is starting to split and wear out. So my question is, Is it worth it to find EPO1's and fix them up, or fix my fiberglass rudders? Or just buy the EPO2's and not have to repair any of them. Any help would be great!! thanks a lot guys!!!
Jason

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:58 am 
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Elkyjason wrote:
I am currently trying to find some EPO rudders but cant afford new ones for 450 each!! I have found some red EPO2's for $260 slightly used. I originally wanted to find Some cheep EPO1's for $75 or so but they are hard to find. We already have some older hobie fiberglass rudders but are pretty scratched and the leading edge is starting to split and wear out. So my question is, Is it worth it to find EPO1's and fix them up, or fix my fiberglass rudders? Or just buy the EPO2's and not have to repair any of them. Any help would be great!! thanks a lot guys!!!
Jason


How much is your time worth, and how bad are your fiberglass rudders? I'd promote new sails over new rudders, I just raced with some older plastic rudders this weekend, and they was some spongy tiller feel, but speed wasn't as far off as I would have expected. If you're bottoming out, and have something that only needs a bit of work and you've got some time to spare... don't buy fancy rudders that'll probably continue to get damaged. Buy stuff that'll last.

Tom

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:06 am 
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 12:44 pm
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Most likely reason you break them (at the top casting connection) is not from hitting stuff, but from sailing with the rudders partially kicked up (sailing in shallow water). This can place a huge load on the rudder's upper corner.

Typical is to sheet hard (round the boat up) and then pulling hard on the tiller to keep the boat from rounding up... this breaks rudders.

If you need to steer when the rudders are not fully down, you can steer by adjusting sails.

Round Down: sheet the jib in... sheet main out.

Round Up: sheet the main in more (possibly release the jib).

Get the sails balanced to reduce effort needed to steer and be gentle with the helm.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:08 am 
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Location: Jersey Shore
Any of the composite rudders (EPO or "Racer Rudders") should be fine. However, you probably want to stay away from the kevlar EPO II rudders if you find a used pair. Apparantly they had issues with delaminating. If you get a pair of original EPOs, they will likely need to be re-coated with epoxy if they have been left out in the sun (very common but they can be brought back to virtually like-new condition).

I still use the original EPOs on my racing boats. When faired, wet sanded, and polished, I think they work as well as any rudder out there if not better (I actually took a pair of early generation EPO II rudders off my boat because they didn't feel as good as the original EPOs). I think as long as you have a good, stiff rudder with a well balanced helm, you will be fine. Any upgrade from the injection molded rudders (lexan, ABS, PCG) will be a vast improvement.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:49 pm 
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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Agree with the above.

I picked up a clean pair of white fiberglass race rudders for around $150 from a guy parting out an old boat. The are not EPO3's but they are a huge improvement over the lexan rudders. If you have a decent amount of wind and keep your mast moderately raked, you will notice the difference immediately. Tacking is much better, the rudders are more responsive, and they cut the water much better (less hum). The lexan rudders flex too much under those conditions and slow down your tacks.

When I bought them, I tossed in some extra money and bought the whole rudder system so I can keep my Lexan rudders to use on the beach or other places where I'd abuse the glass ones.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:10 am 
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Thanks for al the replys. I went and looked at a boat and found that he had a set of original epo's and cat tracks. Ended up coming home with them both and the boat for $200!! I was so excited to have found both!! The boat is solid no de laminating but pretty scuffed up. so now we will have our race boat and a fun boat for friends and stuff. So the rudders are in really good shape. Just a few miner scratches but that's it. I originally was thinking about re-epoxy them. But now I am just thinking about wet sanding them and try to just polish them and see how they look. There is no fibers showing through on them. What do you guys think?

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1981 Hobie 16 cat fever
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:00 pm 
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If you leave them in the sun, they will need to have a coat of epoxy or something to protect them. If they spend their life under covers or in a box, then sanding/polishing is probably enough.

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