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champlain94 07-29-2013 05:18 PM

Bolt on Keel
Would you purchase a boat with a bolt on keel VS encapsulated. I looked at an Ericson which is a great sailboat. I had no idea they have bolt on keels. There is water in the bildge of this boat. Im not sure where its coming from but it tasted salty. I researched bolt on keels. Wow it cost a lot of money to have them dropped and repaired properly. There is enough maintenance and cost with owning a sailboat. This is all new to me. What is your opinion?

bobperry 07-29-2013 05:28 PM

Re: Bolt on Keel
Nothing wrong with a bolt on keel. Time was when almost all production boats had bolt on keels. Encapsulated or "internal ballast" keel boats are cheaper and easier to build. But when you smack a rock with an encapsulated keel you may penetrate the skin of your hull, i.e. the keel is a part of your molded hull. With external ballast if you smack a rock you may only put a ding in the lead. Keel bolts can last a long time. I would always prefer a bolt on keel. I live where it is very rocky. Maybe your salt water in the bilge is from you stuffing box.

benesailor 07-29-2013 05:42 PM

Re: Bolt on Keel
Bob's right on the money.
My cast iron keel gets scratches. I understand that iron is the cheap alternative to a lead keel but i like the durability. My buddies Columbia/Hughs got a huge gash last year in the erie canal in transit. Took some serious fixing. We think it was a piece of steel.
I've had no leaks at the keel joint that i can tell; it's 20 years old.

Tim R. 07-29-2013 05:51 PM

Re: Bolt on Keel
The Ericson bolt on keel is fine. The keel stub in the Ericson is solid glass unlike some Catalinas and others that used plywood in some models. The salt water could simply be from the prop shaft packing gland. A proper survey should give you a decent idea of whether or not that keel should be re-bedded.

bobperry 07-29-2013 05:55 PM

Re: Bolt on Keel
The mighty PERRYWINKLE was built in 1978 and had a bolt on cast iron keel. My bilge was so dry that I would have to vacuum it. I'm not kidding. But I also had a sail drive so I had no stuffing box.

blt2ski 07-29-2013 09:56 PM

Re: Bolt on Keel
I've got an 85 with a steel bolt on, no issues other than the packing gland when I had it, and WAY more issues with the PSSC fitting with water getting in the bilge etc. Even tried to sink me back in January.......grrrrrrrr.....

I'd rather have the issues with a bolt on vs an encapsulated keel personally!


ScottUK 07-30-2013 03:35 AM

Re: Bolt on Keel
I would prefer an encapsulated keel. You might get some water coming in with a hard grounding but it beats losing your keel in a hard grounding.

bobperry 07-30-2013 09:00 AM

Re: Bolt on Keel
Perhaps you could provide us with a few documented cases of that happening.
Just a few.

blt2ski 07-30-2013 10:11 AM

Re: Bolt on Keel

Originally Posted by bobperry (Post 1066364)
Perhaps you could provide us with a few documented cases of that happening.
Just a few.

I can think of one, that was a Jeanneau SO37 in England, no body figured it out for two weeks, took the 2nd charter person to realize something was wrong.

That is the ONLY ONE I know of for sure. I would bet a super hard grounding would do as much or more $$$ damage to a boat that is encapsulated than not. Encapsulated keels are only recent in that we had to have a fiberglass boat to pull this off. Also considering what SOME of the manufactures use for ballast vs the bolt on types.........not sure I really want lead shot in concrete poured into my fiberglass keel!

Then again, the earliest iron/lead on the bottom of a keel had to be bolted on, or rocks in the bilge or equal. many types of ballast needed thru the years. Even today, oil tankers use water in the oil tanks when going back to the oil source once empty.


davidpm 07-30-2013 10:40 AM

Re: Bolt on Keel

Originally Posted by bobperry (Post 1066364)
Perhaps you could provide us with a few documented cases of that happening.
Just a few.

We ran a Catalina 27 into a rock at at speed.
The typical damage happened.
The bolt on lead keel rocked back and pushed the hull up enough behind the stub so the boat leaked.
Had to be ground out and re-glassed.

I suppose one could attribute that more to it being a fin keel than bolted on.
Not sure what would have happened to an encapsulated keel.

Bene 32s5 with iron wing keel, hit rock then ran aground in storm
Bent stuff up enough to cause cracks in the glass grid.
Was totaled

I know encapsulated keels suffer damage too and it can be severe.
I get the sense that the damage is different however.

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