ALBERG 37 Association Obtains Rudder Mold

Thanks to Ed Kunkel of Littleton, MA, the owner of the 1967 (hull #3) Alberg 37 RODEO, recently donated a rudder mold for the Alberg 37.  It seems that Ed had to have a new rudder built, and subsequently purchased the finished mold after his new rudder was installed.  The rudder mold was subsequently shipped (9/14/2006) to  Tom and Kaye Assenmacher in Kinsale, VA, where the mold will be made available to A-37 IOA members who might need to build a new rudder for their boat.  As the Alberg 37 ages, rudder building/rebuilding will become a matter of importance and safety.  Ed has graciously offered to lend technical assistance to those needing to use the mold.

The rudder story - excerpts from an Email from Ed Kunkel:  "It started about fifteen years ago.  I was in the Bahamas anchored off a deserted island when a squall line came up.  The anchor dragged and I wound up on the beach in two feet of water.  The boat was propped up by the rudder.  With the help of a two foot tide and some creative rigging we were able to refloat.  The only damage was a slight tweak in the rudder.  About five years ago I decided to replace the rudder.  It was fine structurally but the tweak bothered me.  I found a rudder manufacturer outfit in Florida that had acquired the mold.  I contracted with them to make a new rudder.  On the first one the hinges did not line up.   They tried to fix it but it was still not acceptable.  They tried again and this one fit but the shaft broke on the maiden voyage.  They had tried to weld the bronze.  Bad idea.  I was already into it for several thousand dollars.   Realizing that I was not going to get an acceptable rudder from them and I could not use my boat because I had cut the shaft out to remove the old rudder, I told them to give me the mold and we would call it even.

My business is aerospace composites so I knew we could make a good rudder at the shop. I researched the bronze rudder shaft and found a company, Bristol Bronze, in RI that specializes in building bronze parts for sailboats to fabricate the shaft.  I used modern materials (i.e. epoxies), etc to make the rudder.  It came out great, good for another 40 years.  I just had a survey done this spring because I changed insurance companies.  I used the same surveyor that I had used ten years ago.  They survey come out excellent, with the surveyor saying that he was very impressed with all the upgrades I had made and that it was a pleasure to survey a “proper yacht” for a change.  That made me feel good."

Should anyone in the future require the use of this mold, please contact Tom Assenmacher, P.O. Box 32, Kinsale, VA 22488 or Email: a37ioanospam@sylvaninfo.net (remove "nospam" prior to sending email).

The following are a few photos of the mold being used which were provided by Ed.

RudderMold-1-w.jpg (40844 bytes) RudderMold-2-w.jpg (36992 bytes) RudderMold-3-w.jpg (35967 bytes)

RudderMold-5-w.jpg (29696 bytes) RudderMold-6-w.jpg (51156 bytes) RudderMold-7-w.jpg (41933 bytes) RudderMold-8-w.jpg (33520 bytes) RudderMold-4-w.jpg (33311 bytes)

(Editor's Note: The construction of this rudder is considerably more robust than the original rudder - namely the use of a one-piece rudder stock below the prop aperture vice 2 shorter pieces (one at the middle gudgeon, and one at the bottom.)