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post #5 of Old 08-09-2011
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My boat is an Etap 26 with a retractable bulb keel. Etap made a major design mistake in that the keel trunk which extends from the hull to the deck. It is not properly tied into the stringers fore and aft. So the keel trunk has sunk one full inch into the hull, taking the deck around the mast with it. What made it critical to repair was that the deck didn't move straight down, it tilted forward along with the mast step. The mast step contains the screw drive for the keel, and the keel stopped retracting shortly after I bought the boat. The previous owner only retracted if he ran aground. I sail in a area where I need to retract the keel about 12 inches most of the time to avoid running aground. So I had no choice but to fix it. The fix turned out to be more than four times more work than I estimated. If I had it to do over I'd do the repair in a completely different way, but I will NEVER do this again! Because the boat hasn't been sailing, but I am still paying marina fees year after year, I could easily have paid far more for a boat that I actually got to use!

I'm glad to see your boat has an outboard. The good news is that a sailboat with a bad outboard is still worth quite a lot, and a new outboard is $2K to $3K. If you have an inboard replacing the engine looks more like $8K to $12K. So if the engine dies while you own the boat you would take a huge hit. My boat came with an inflatable dinghy that leaks air badly, but it has an almost new 8 Hp outboard, the 'spare' for my inboard!

Gary H. Lucas

Gary H. Lucas
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