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Cracked Keel Joint

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    Posted: 09 October 2002 at 10:00pm

I hauled my boat last weekend and noticed a small crack on the keel.  It appears to outline where the keel is bolted to the shoe and goes from starboard side, around the leading edge, and around the port side. 

I plan on grinding out the crack and filling it with some epoxy/filler.  Is there anything else I should do to prevent this from occuring again next year?   The keel bolts seem tight. 

I'm not sure what the cause of the crack is, but was wondering if this has occured on other boats. 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Foghorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2002 at 10:25pm

Dave,

Yep, this can be quite common. As you describe, it is on the keel joint where the keel meets the stub. This is a cosmetic problem in most cases.

Of course to repair this correctly you should be sure to re-torque the keel bolts by using a power bar before doing anything further.

Bill Layton can probably give you the best advice on this subject but maybe I can just cover the bases. Often when people repair this joint they end up using sealants and filler that are incompatible or do not let the products cure sufficiently before finishing off.

Most often it's  just a case of cleaning out the joint and then filling (not usually epoxy - too hard to sand) and then cover with epoxy bottom coating to a thickness of 6 mil.

Maybe Bill will chime in with his thoughts on this topic.

Cheers,

 

Paul White
Decompression
CAN 214
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Layton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 October 2002 at 11:31pm

Hi Dave & Paul,

The keel joint cracks because the lead keel has some movement against the fiberglass stub. The best system I've come across is as follows:

1. Remove each keel nut one at a time and lubricate with vaseline, then retorque it as tight as you can with a 36 inch powerbar. The aft keel nut (the small one) should be retorqued with a 24 inch powerbar.

2. You now can remove all loose cracked filler on the exterior joint.  I like to remove a 4 inch ban/width all around so that 2 inches of lead is exposed and 2 inches of gelcoat is exposed. Then I fill with west system epoxy using a sandable filler such as the 407 low density filler. Once its all faired I then coat directly with antifouling.

The key here is that by retorquing with vaseline you eliminate the galling that naturally occurs between the stainless nuts and keel studs. You achieve a much higher torque and as a result the clamping pressure between the lead and glass is greatly increased. This alone will keep your joint crack free for many years. I did mine this way in 1988 and it still looks good. Unfortunately we didn't know this when we built the boats. But after a few repairs.....we learn what should have been done!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2002 at 8:17pm

Does anyone know how many keel bolts there should be?  I see something that looks like a keel bolt, but it does not protrude into the bilge far enough to get a nut on it. 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Layton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2002 at 10:08pm

There are a total of 5 keel bolts. Four of them are under the square center cabin sole (with the lifting panel) and the fifth keelbolt is under the large cabin sole which the steps sit on. (this is the small one)

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2002 at 7:55pm

Paul and Bill,

Thanks for your advice.  I do have 5 keel bolts with nuts, so I should be able to proceed as suggested.  I was nervous there for a while, but was able to take a closer look at the situation this afternoon and found five keel bolts.  I appear to have an extra hole between the first and second bolts (from the bow).  The hole has a alot of silicone sealer in it, so I can't determine why it is there.  I think I will leave it as is. 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Layton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 October 2002 at 11:57am

Dave,

The extra hole was for a locating pin so that the liner was positioned in the same place on all boats. Once the liner was installed the hole was filled with a fiberglass filler compound. Some owners looked at it and mistakenly identified it as a leaking area. Unbeknownst to them, this area is the deepest in the bildge, and any water collected in the boats interior would eventually come out in this area first. To date I've never seen a keel leak. But rather we see many window leaks, starboard lazerette bin leaks, fwd hatch leaks and sometimes a hull-deckjoint leak. If your softlockers have stains on them this would be indictitive of window leaks and/or hull-deckjoint leaks. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Winner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2012 at 9:03pm
Hi all,

Just prior to launch this year I noticed that my boat, which has a hull in otherwise excellent shape, has a small, perhaps toonie sized area on the keel that has flaked off a bit. 

Is the best option to patch this up when I haul out later this year the West System with 407 filler or because it's a small area, would a stick of AquaMend do the trick with less fuss?

http://www.polymericsystems.com/epoxies-adhesives/epoxy-putty-sticks/aquamend.htm
Chris
Eclipse #240
Thunder Bay, ON
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Layton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 July 2012 at 9:14pm
Yeah west system with 407 will work fine. I use that too
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seawolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2012 at 5:37pm

Just following this thread and I will share my experience. I put the boat in the water in the middle of June after a thorough search I eliminated leaks from the hull/deck joint, windows, cockpit lockers mast step, and even the vents for fuel and holding tank. After the last leak was identified and fixed I had a dry boat……

 

Then in the water the boat went and still remained dry. However I had to pull the speed transducer for trouble shooting and some water got in the boat. After mopping up the bilge, I notice more water would find its way to the bilge especially after sailing and heeling. I continued to mop up thinking this was residue water slowly finding its way to the lowest point. After the end of the weekend I was pretty satisfied I dried up most of the water.

Then I was away from the boat for 3 weeks and came back to about an inch of water in the bilge. Hmmmm. After checking around I found that my water tank (the portable collapsible ones) was leaking and there was another inch of water in the port storage locker next to the galley. Okay, there is a path for water to seep into the bilge from the locker to the bilge via the rib. Again I moped up and dried up. At first I continued to see a noticeable accumulation if water, but as the weekend progressed and my constant, almost obsessive monitoring and a roll up paper towels,  the leak, er, I mean accumulation slowed to an almost non-existence.

 

Now this sounds strange, but a little water kept seeping out the silicon hole between the first and second keel bolt. Not much, and has slowed down to a ¼ teaspoon per hour. And the third keel bolt looks to have a little water seeping around the square washers, but I am thinking this is water coming out of the access hole which goes through the rib. I have dived under the boat and looked for any signs of cracking or crazing, I found none.  And I did do a little bit of fairing and bottom paint to it this spring which I notice no problems.

 

Being that no one has ever seen the problem of water leaking through the keel bolts, I don't think this is what happening, however it's unsettlling to think about when you are heeling at 30degrees! I will be back on the boat for a week, starting next week, so I will continue to monitor and mopping. I suspect as the water is removed the accumulation will cease and once again I will have a dry bilge, at least until I spill the rum….

 

Then my next plan is to check the nuts, which means removing one at a time, greasing and re-tighten. If I still have water coming from the silicon hole, I am thinking of carefully remove the silicon and drying out the hole. If I don’t do this while the boat is in the water, I will do it September when I am back on the trailer, I just want to ensure I have the keel bolts dried out before the winter sets in and creates bigger problems.

 

 

Mark Gilmore

Commodore, SFSA

Flathead Lake, MT

S/v Seawolf

 

“Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”
James A. Baldwin

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