eyebolts embedded in epoxy

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Rudder Eyebolt failure

Postby mark48 on Thu Aug 19, 2021 2:29 pm

Greetings all PS owners and builders,

Puffin, my CLC PS (launched July, 2018) sustained a semi-catastrophic failure of its rudder's upper eyebolt while at its mooring last week. Luckily a passing sailor noted the rudder dangling off the transom and lashed rudder and tiller to minimize motion until I retrieved the boat for a closer examination. The photos below provide more graphic documentation, but suffice it to report that the eyebolt simply fractured about a half-inch within the rudder leaving the rudder attached solely by the lower eyebolt and the tiller (which I typically lash to prevent untoward rudder motion while Puffin is moored). The dangling rudder abraded the rudder's forward face (photo), tiller, and transom opening.

I now ask all readers for help and advice:

1. Why did this happen? I installed the rudder's eyebolts exactly as described in the PS manual (pp 256 - 259). Some PS Forum writers have noted above that embedding SS bolts in epoxy is a set-up for failure, but John Harris has done this for years without issue. (BTW, my epoxy was MAS, not WEST.)

2. What do I do now? How do I extract the stub of the eybolt from the rudder (without further damaging the rudder? If I can restore the rudder stock sufficiently somehow, should I reinstall the rudder per the manual - or do something different entirely? Thicker bolts?

3. Should I be concerned with the rudder's lower eyebolt? Other eyebolts? Did I have a metallurgically defective upper rudder eyebolt (among the otherwise excellent CLC-supplied hardware packages)?

4. From the looks of the abraded wood, these rudder surfaces require sanding to wood, repeated epoxy application, and repainting (as will the tiller and transom). Agree?

Thank you all in advance for any advice or suggestions you post. If this had to happen, I suppose I should be grateful that it happened while Puffin was moored rather than underway, but I think that's likely the end of my sailing season. :(

Mark Nunlist
Rudder abrasions.jpeg
Rudder abrasions.jpeg (237.86 KiB) Viewed 134 times
Upper Rudder eyebolt residual.jpeg
Upper Rudder eyebolt residual.jpeg (231.18 KiB) Viewed 136 times
Eyebolt fragment.jpeg
Eyebolt fragment.jpeg (145.34 KiB) Viewed 133 times
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:55 pm

Re: eyebolts embedded in epoxy

Postby doug@dougbraun.com on Fri Aug 20, 2021 11:52 am

What is the diameter of that bolt?

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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:47 pm
Location: Princeton, NJ

Re: eyebolts embedded in epoxy

Postby mark48 on Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:30 pm

Hi Doug,

The bolt is 5/16" in diameter as best I can tell. It was one of the four "WIC#6492 Rudder Eye Bolts" supplied in the hull hardware package when I purchased the kit and hardware from CLC.

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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:55 pm

Re: eyebolts embedded in epoxy

Postby slash2 on Sun Aug 22, 2021 3:49 pm

I’m curious about the idea that SS corrodes when embedded in epoxy ( or I guess any oxygen deprived location). I understand that oxygen is needed for the SS to create a passivated coating, but if there is no oxygen then it also can’t rust, right?

I do see, perhaps, at the epoxy water interface that corrosion may occur - maybe enough oxygen to rust but not passivate?
Steve Sawtelle
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2021 2:27 am

Re: eyebolts embedded in epoxy

Postby Wayne G on Thu Sep 02, 2021 10:11 pm

From the photos it looks like the eyebolt sheared and did not fail due to corrosion; would expect to see the diameter reduced at the failure point if it was corroded.
I assume that the bolt was originally flawed and was compromised as it was torqued in.

You should be able to drill out the bolt remnant by using a succession of increasingly larger drill bits. You may also be able to use a bolt extractor ( drill a center pilot hole and then use a tap that tightens anti-clockwise) but as the bolt is epoxied in place it may not easily release.

I would simply replace with another eyebolt of the same size epoxied in place as you did the original.

I’d also do as you suggest and sand, epoxy and paint the scuffed up parts of the rudder.

Probably a good idea to replace the lower eyebolt also.
Wayne Gray
Orlando Florida
Wayne G
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:19 am


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