So having now drawn up a schedule of works my first job was to take the propeller shaft out and start work on preparing the engine bay to take the new engine and its different mounts. To do this meant removing the existing rudder blade, having duly removed pins, nuts and bolts (oh yes and having dug an 18" deep hole underneath the blade) i could remove it.
It came out of the boat not so much with a thud but more of a slosh, so i got it into the workshop to take a further look.
The first thing i noticed was its bladder weakness - wherever i stood it upright in the shop big puddles would form around it, now i know shes old but those problems shouldn't occur until very old age!
Nevertheless i drilled a few holes in the bottom of the blade and all that came out was rotten foam (core material) so i drilled many more around the whole blade making it look like Swiss cheese, i then left it for a couple of days to dry out. At the same time i scraped all the anti-fouling off of one side to reveal the raw grp colour tinged with a black hue which wasn't a good sign. Still the rudder blade was now no longer incontinent but you could move the blade independently of the stainless steel shaft.
After much thinking how to cure this rudder of its rotten core i decided to make a new blade based on safety grounds and the fact that the current blade was skeg-less and so would be a great opportunity to optimise the shape of the rudder and incorporate a skeg into the design.