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Old 05-04-2003
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why keel bolts?

Encapsulated keels have their own problems. There are stories about people who have gone agrround, knocked a hole in their encapsulated keel, gotten off, and then lost their ballast piece by piece, out the hole. Worse is when the ballast is iron and hitting something causes a leak in the encapsulation. The iron then swells as it rusts, increasing the leak, and the rusting, all while the bilge stays nice and dry until the whole hull is split open and the boat sinks whereever it happens to be at the time. Some people in rock or coral-prone areas avoid encapsulated keels because of this. Even if you want to fix a crack, how do you dry out the insides first??? Fiberglass cracks (and leaks) relatively easily when it hits a rock. Lead absorbs more of the shock and deforms. You can bang the lead back into shape with a hammer. If the keelbolts leak, or there are cracks in the floors, (unless the hit was bad enough to actually sink you) they can be fixed. There are lots of ways of doing things, and each has plusses and minuses.
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