Rudder Care

Your Foss Fiberglass and Urethane Rudder

Foss has been producing sailboat rudders for over 35 years for most major boat companies.  The fiberglass blade with its rigid urethane core has proven to be an extremely strong dependable rudder.

The near neutral buoyancy of your rudder helps the performance of your boat by reducing the total weight, as well as reducing the moment of inertia in the stern.  Near neutral buoyancy also is helpful should the rudder ever need to be removed for steering system repairs. The boat does not need to be hauled out of the water to remove the rudder.

Tough fiberglass and urethane plastic used in the construction is nearly indestructible. The urethane core is composed of a strong closed cell urethane.  Water, gasoline/diesel, solvents or marine borers will not damage your rudder blade, even if the fiberglass coating has been damaged.

When you paint your rudder for the first time, particular attention should be paid to the paint manufacturer’s instructions for preparing the surface. Solvent washing is not enough. The rudder must be sanded to remove a heavy coating of mold release wax.  The seam area should be hand sanded so as not to remove the fiberglass. We recommend that white paints be used.  White is a popular color and makes it easy to see weeds and other debris that can catch on your rudder.

Cosmetic surface repair may be performed by cleaning, drying, roughing up the damaged area and applying putty or any similar filler. Once the patch has dried, it may be sanded smooth and painted directly with bottom paint or any coating you desire. Should a small blister appear it should be filled with resin or cut away and repaired.

We do not recommend the use of dark color bottom paint for your rudder, as they generate heat whenever your boat is out of the water and in the sun. Since your rudder is made of cellular material this heat can cause dimensional changes and cosmetic damage.  If the rudder is painted a dark color it should be shielded from the sun with a white wrapping whenever the boat is out of the water. YOUR RUDDER WARRANTY EXCLUDES DAMAGE CAUSED BY HEAT.

You should make periodic inspections of your rudder to look for possible damage or electrolysis. Left undetected slight rudder stock bends or shaft erosion may lead to failure in heavy conditions. Should you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at 352-529-1104.