Skerry Rudder Fastenings

I am considering the use of vertically mounted gudgeons on my Skerry - mainly for looks as they are SB and less obtrusive looking.  They would necessarily screw into the trailing edge of the skeg rather than the sides.  The mounting screws for the upper gudgeon would penetrate the hull and embed into a solid block already installed in the stem under the seat.  The mounting screws for the lower gudgeon would only hit plywood.  Do you think there would be enough holding power in screws penetrating through the plywood edge or would I need to saw out a section of the plywood skeg and replace it with solid wood?

Hooper Williams - Brevard, NC

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RE: Skerry Rudder Fastenings

   Hi Hooper

The lower gudgeon on my Skerry is bolted on -, 2 x 4mm stainless steel screws and self locking nuts. It's been fine.

I too was worried about wood screws as there's not much width on the skeg. As with all holes, I drilled, filled with thickened epoxy then drilled again.

RE: Skerry Rudder Fastenings

   I'd be leary of driving a potentially heavily loaded screw in to the end grain of the plywood skeg.  If it were my boat, I would bore a hole and insert a dowel transversely through the skeg at the location of each screw, leaving maybe 3/8" of solid plywood to the end of the skeg.  Cut the dowels flush, glue and seal them, drill your pilot holes, and drive your screws thru the dowels, or at least into them.  If the fit is good, the dowels wouldn't split because they couldn't go anywhere, and you wouldn't applying a load that would tend to separate the plies of the plywood.

RE: Skerry Rudder Fastenings

   Thanks guys.  hokker, you're thinking like me.  If I had thought about it for 5 minutes, I wouldn't even have posted the question.  It becomes very obvious that there needs to be some solid wood in there.

Thanks again,


RE: Skerry Rudder Fastenings

   Epoxy holds screws at least twice as well as wood. I'm dubious that a vertical gudgeon strap can properly transmit the horizontal loads, but if the hardware is sufficiently robust the recipe for optimum screw holding power is to:

-choose some over length screws, you want deep penetration into the ply edge

-over drill your holes in the ply edge to 90% of the screw length, and at least 2x the screw diameter

-drill a 75% of screw diameter hole at the bottom of your over drilled holes, for the screw tip to bight into

-mix a slightly saggy, thick ketchup batch using wood flour or silica or other high-density fillers, load into a syringe, slip a drinking straw over the tip, and fill the holes from bottom to top

-place hardware in position, and insert screws, driving their tips into the small drilled hole at the bottom to lightly secure things in position while the epoxy sets.

-clean any squeeze out

RE: Skerry Rudder Fastenings

Thanks Nemochad,

I wondered about doing something like that.  I'm going to try it.  The gudgeons are castings, they're not going to fail.


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