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Old 07-18-2011
JacobI JacobI is offline
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Examining for potential swing-keel failure

Greetings everyone,

This is my first post on SailNet, but I have been reading a tremendous amount of material. I'm new to sailing; I took a class a few weekends ago and I'm hooked. Now I'm looking to purchase my first boat to sail exclusively on a nearby lake.

I'm looking at several late-80s Catalina 22s. The closest marine surveyor is about a 4 hour drive away, which is just not cost effective with the low price point of the boat, so I'm trying to be as diligent as a I can be.

I've found a lot of good "inspect a used boat" checklists and they've been very helpful. But one thing seems to keep stumping me: checking the swing keel to make sure it won't fail on me.

From what I can read, there are 2 basic ways it can fail that I should be worried about:

1) The cable that raises the keel can fail. While this has to be fixed to trailer the boat, it's not terribly dangerous.
2) The keel can fall from the boat, either because the copper pin failed or the hole on the top of the keel expanded to the point that it wore through the keel.

Most of the boats I'm looking at have only been freshwater sailed and have spent about half the year in the water, then dry stored in the winter.

Having read a ton of articles about this, I am stuck with one big question: is there a good, quick way to figure out if the boat in front of me has a keel that's about to fall off? I've read a lot of good articles about removing the keel and working on it int he offseason. It's very possible that something like that is in the works for this winter, but I want to make sure whatever I buy can make it through the rest of this sailing season at least.

Can anyone suggest a good way to make this check while the boat is still on the trailer? I don't need to know that it's perfect, just that I can sail with it for a few months before winter comes.

Thanks!
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