By Grace Ombry
The C&C 41,
Perseverance at anchor.
After the repairs, she
was still able to finish
first in the Bermuda
One-Two offshore race.
Robert Patenaude had ten miles left to reach
the finish line in the Bermuda One-Two offshore
race when a 30-ton whale hit Perseverance,
his C&C 41, seriously damaging the
rudder. Not content to drop out of the competition,
he called on his racer friends to
help him remove the 160 lb, 9'-long rudder
from the boat while it was still in the water.
He reasoned that if the contenders in the
Puma or Vendee Globe races could make
major repairs without dropping out of a
race, he could too.
He took the rudder out in a slip at St.
George's Dinghy & Sports Club and began
making the repairs under a tent. The rudder
post was bent backwards, so he cut a wedge
off of the top of the aft end of the rudder and
bolted the trailing edge of the rudder which
was opened up by the hit. He then fixed
cracks on both sides of the rudder with WEST
SYSTEM Epoxy and fiberglass cloth. Even after
three days of drying time the foam core
was still wet. He collected 12 of the sample
G/flex 650-K Repair Kits (which we had donated
for skipper's bags) from his fellow racers.
G/flex is capable of bonding to wet surfaces.
He added WEST SYSTEM 406 Colloidal
Silica Filler to the G/flex, then used it to bond
stainless steel bolts into the rudder.
The repaired rudder didn't look fancy, but it
was strong. He tested it at 25 knots in 8'
waves and it worked perfectly. He was back
in the race in time for the leg that began June
18, 2009, and grateful to the friendly and
generous racers who had donated their
G/flex samples to him. He immediately
emailed us, requesting that we replace their
samples, and we were happy to do so.
Two weeks later, he sent us an update. With
her repaired rudder, Perseverance had endured
two squalls with winds up to 40 knots
and 9'-10' waves, and in the Gulf Stream
handled northeast winds of 20-30 knots, upwind,
which meant a lot of stress on the boat
and rudder. Yet Perseverance finished first in
Pulling the 160 lb,
9'-long rudder onto the
dock after it was removed
from the boat
while it was still in the
The trailing edge of the
rudder was opened up
by a hit from a 30-ton
Repairing cracks on the
side of the rudder with
WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and
Epoxyworks 29 / Fall 2009
Copyright © 2009, Gougeon Brothers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, is expressly forbidden without the consent of the publisher. EPOXYWORKS, Gougeon Brothers, WEST SYSTEM, Episize, Scarffer and Microlight as used throughout this publication, are trademarks of Gougeon Brothers, Inc., Bay City, Michigan, USA.