The boat sits right on the ground, so the only way to drop the rudders was to dig a hole beneath them. Not a fun task. Top layer of gravel. Below that is some kind of bedrock. The best method was to chip away at rocks and then once enough particles were broken loose, scrape them away with the shovel. So really I did more scraping away than digging.
All of this under near a really expensive and delicate fiberglass rudder. Fortunately, I didn't have to go down very far. But I wanted a clear view of anything that might be going wrong, and I knew I had to some fiberglass work and I wanted clearance for that. So I ended up digging down about 2 feet on the first side, and 12 inches on the second.
After the holes were dug, I had the educational experience of figuring out how to detach the rudders from the boat. Something I've never done on any boat before. It was interesting to find that the entire rudder is kept from dropping out of the boat by a piece of metal, a little larger in diameter than a pencil, with two cotter pins on either side.
Jon, the guy who runs the service department at the boat yard came over twice today to check things out and give me guidance. I felt so much better afterward. I can read articles on rudder repair, and watch videos, but I felt so much more assured from him saying "yep, you're things right."
It's pretty crazy that just yesterday I was looking at the rudders with despair, trying to find replacements online, and knowing that even if I found them they wouldn't arrive in time for our launch date.
Today I had the rudders dropped out, cracks ground down, and applied my first coat of epoxy. As much of a worry, this has been, I've learned a lot in the process, and fortunately, almost every step has made me feel better.
After sanding off the bottom paint, I found the cracks weren't that bad. After grinding down the cracks, I found they didn't go too deep. I was dreading to drop out the rudders, but I learned a lot about them in the process.
It's been fun. It feels good to replace worrying with knowing. I feel more confident in the structural integrity of the rudders, which I already know will make me feel more confident in rough weather.
Hobie is on his fourth night of falling asleep alone. I normally lay with him until he falls asleep, which I love, however, he is pretty much incapable of being in his room alone at night, which is really not cool. Between Hobie and Charlie both waking up throughout the night and needing our help to fall back asleep, we aren't getting any rest. I don't think the boys are getting the best quality of sleep either.
So I started making the transition to Hobie falling sleep on his own. Four nights in, he is getting pretty good at it. And Charlie seems to have picked up on what is going on, and now he has been laying in his crib falling asleep on his own. Suddenly LeeAnn and I have....(dare I say it)...FREE TIME.