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Re: Help pinpointing a leak
I'm not going to say the yard did anything wrong launching your boat; because you were not there when it was launched. However; if I were the boat owner and the yard launched my boat without my permission or presence I'd be pissed. Maybe they do things differently in areas where you must haul during the winter; but I'd at least want a phone call and an ETA for launch on the day it comes up in the schedule.
How are they supposed to know if the boat is taking on water unless someone spends some time aboard immediately after it's launched? How are you supposed to know if they did anything to damage the keel while moving the boat?
You might consider talking to your insurance company; find out if they would cover your losses if the bolts are not failing due to corrosion or any other maintenance issue. If you remove the nut over that bolt that has 10 washers under it; you might find a threaded rod welded to the original bolt with failing threads. That would point towards failing keel bolts at the keel/hull joint.
On the issue of the location of the leak (inside the stringer); it should be a sealed bilge section there. There should be no holes to the keel/hull joint inside the stringer to allow water in even if the keel/hull joint has a gap. I suspect that since the core is disintegrating inside the stringer; bilge water got in there and was not removed before. Then it froze and expanded causing a crack to the bottom of the keel stub.
If the keel was 'alarmingly loose' on haul out; what was it's condition when they launched it? What was it's condition when it was hauled 18 months ago? You could not have caused this sort of problem by sailing it a few times (even if you sailed it hard). I suspect that the owner knew there were problems with the keel bolts; tried 3 times in the fall to sell it (holding off during the regular season so it would not be noticed for 8 months); and unfortunately you were the person who bought his problem.
I'm really surprised your surveyor did not mention the stacked washers on the keel bolt. That should be a dead giveaway that something is not right with the keel. If he is a SAMS or NAMS accredited surveyor; there is insurance they carry to cover them if they miss something.
You need to get the keel dropped and have the stub checked by a surveyor who knows naval architecture and can recommend a way of repairing the boat.
Last edited by KeelHaulin; 06-11-2013 at 04:33 PM.