1975 Ranger 23: bit of water over the keelbolts - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-05-2006
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Question 1975 Ranger 23: bit of water over the keelbolts

I'm a fairly green sailor and I'm looking for my first boat in order to rectify said green-ness. Here in Las Vegas (Lake Mead) the pickings are fairly slim, but I have found what seems like a pretty nice deal on a 1975 Ranger 23. The owner is asking $3600, which seems fair since the boat is in OK shape and comes with a new set of sails.

So anyway, I'm pretty much set on her, but when I met the owner for a final inspection we found a couple of inches of water in the boat (it stays in the water). He says she has a leaky window, and since he hasn't visited her in a few weeks this is normal after rain. We dried her out, and he gave me his marina key so that I could come take a look on my own.

I went down there yesterday and found a very small amount of water in the bilge.. I'm talking 1/8 inch.. but it hasn't rained, and this is after only 24 hours .I'm going back tonight to take another look, and my question is this: is a little bit of leakage around the keelbolts normal? If so, is it easily fixed? The bolts themselves are not corroded. Any other advice would also be appreciated!
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Old 05-05-2006
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That little bit of water you found didn't necessarily come from the keelbolts (which SHOULDN'T leak, by the way) On most boats water getting in from any source will find its way to the lowest point in the boat.
Window leaks, however, are common and can be rectified. The issue then becomes what damage has long-standing leakage done to other parts of the boat such as the veneers on the bulkheads/lockers etc, into the deck coring, or what ever.
Heads often have slightly leaking fittings and seals, especially if they have been neglected (as it sounds like this boat has, at least recently)
So I'd say the source of the leakage needs further investigation, and take it from there.
At that price, with decent sails (are you sure they are??) you can afford to do some TLC to bring her back. Word is they are well designed, surprisingly high performance boats.
Good Luck!
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Old 05-05-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster
That little bit of water you found didn't necessarily come from the keelbolts (which SHOULDN'T leak, by the way) On most boats water getting in from any source will find its way to the lowest point in the boat.
Window leaks, however, are common and can be rectified. The issue then becomes what damage has long-standing leakage done to other parts of the boat such as the veneers on the bulkheads/lockers etc, into the deck coring, or what ever.
Heads often have slightly leaking fittings and seals, especially if they have been neglected (as it sounds like this boat has, at least recently)
So I'd say the source of the leakage needs further investigation, and take it from there.
At that price, with decent sails (are you sure they are??) you can afford to do some TLC to bring her back. Word is they are well designed, surprisingly high performance boats.
Good Luck!

Thanks! When I say the sails are new, I mean they've seen about a season of light use. I've sailed on this boat, and the sails are still a bit stiff and impeccably clean. The previous owner raced as well, so there are a couple of genoas thrown in too.

I was in there again tonight; the water level is up a bit and it hasn't rained, so it's definately a leak, albeit a rather small one. I'd say there's about 1/4" of water in the small keel bilge, which has a very small area; it's about 2 feet long x 4 inches wide. Unless I hear anything drastic, I'm probably going to buy her. I'll probably haul out in a month or two and give her the full treatment; the bottom doesn't look like it's in bad shape (snorkeled it) but I believe she hasn't been out of the water in at least a year or two.
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Old 05-06-2006
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Survey

Have you thought about getting a survey? It's a small boat and $3,600 is not a lot by boat-purchasing standards, but it is still your money and you may have to spend at least that much yet again to get the boat in the shape you want it.

I had (still have but my brother-in-law uses it now) a 1976 Catalina 22 that was a project. It leaked, but the source of the leaks were windows and other openings. You indicated twice that there has been no rain but yet the water continues to appear. You really should have a professional look at the boat before you commit.
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Old 05-06-2006
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Leaking keel bolts

(1) Remove nut and washer on the inside. (one at a time)
(2) smear goop around the bolt
(3) wrap a bunch of ( cotton wicking or kite string ) with some goop on it around the bolt to make a gasket
(4) Replace washer & bolt, tighten
(5) kiss that leak goodbye.

Goop: Any waterproof stuff, polysulfide, polyurethene would be a modren types, but any old fashoned kind would work, ... beeswax and tallow, red lead putty, underwater seam compund.
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Old 05-07-2006
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First of all, the Ranger 23 is a really great boat. It is one of my favorite boats of this size and era. They were reasonably well constructed for what they were and they sail very well. In many ways these are an ideal boat to learn to sail on.

Sailandoar's advice makes sense as a quick, temporary fix but in the long run, while this may keep water out of the bilge, it does not protect the keel bolts and exposed laminate in the bolt holes.

A much better solution, and one that is pretty rotine on boats of this age, is to lift the boat off of its keel, clean up both faces of the joint, bolt holes and keel bolts. Inspect the keel bolts carefully for erosion and corrosion, and the holes for signs of deterioration. Seal the edges of the keel bolt holes with epoxy and grind out and repair any hair line cracking with glass and epoxy. Mask off either side of the joint and caulk the living daylights out of the joint, keel bolt holes and under the backing plates with a high quality urethane or butyl caulk made for underwater use. Reassemble but do not snug down the bolts until the caulk has the opportunity to cure (in many cases a week or more). That should be a near permanent cure for the leak that is far less onerous than it sounds on paper.

Good luck,
Jeff
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Old 05-09-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailinJay
Have you thought about getting a survey? It's a small boat and $3,600 is not a lot by boat-purchasing standards, but it is still your money and you may have to spend at least that much yet again to get the boat in the shape you want it.

I had (still have but my brother-in-law uses it now) a 1976 Catalina 22 that was a project. It leaked, but the source of the leaks were windows and other openings. You indicated twice that there has been no rain but yet the water continues to appear. You really should have a professional look at the boat before you commit.
Unfortunately surveyors that know sailboats are tough to find here in Vegas; everyone I've talked to has specialized in powerboats, and while they were willing to take a look I wasn't interested in paying that much money to someone who doesn't specialize in sail.

I took another look tonight and the water level hasn't increased from where it was on Friday, so I think I'm going to make the offer tommorow. The only other problems she seems to have are some issues with the outboard.

I could use some advice on cleaning the hull while in the water. The PO is a diver so he did it that way, but I have no such skills and I probably won't be hauling for a few months. The bottom paint seems in OK shape but there's definitely some slime down there.
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Old 05-09-2006
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Even if you're not a diver, you can always rent a hookah kit and use that to help you clean the bottom. A hookah unit is basically an air compressor with a long hose and a scuba-type regulator on the end of it. No tanks required, no time limits on how long you can stay down for either.
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Ranger 23 is a great boat. Check on I net for owners group for info on problems and repair procedures. I have heard and seen that an inherant problem with this boat is the keel connection points- they were weak and prone to failure from damage (groundings). Another sore spot ( I am repairing one now) is leaking around chain plates at deck penetrations and bulkheads rotting. Neither repair is that involved, but you should check the owners group before committing.
I would put the Ranger 23 up against a J 24 any day. There were also 2 rigs for that boat, tall and short.
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Old 05-09-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoatPete
Ranger 23 is a great boat. Check on I net for owners group for info on problems and repair procedures. I have heard and seen that an inherant problem with this boat is the keel connection points- they were weak and prone to failure from damage (groundings). Another sore spot ( I am repairing one now) is leaking around chain plates at deck penetrations and bulkheads rotting. Neither repair is that involved, but you should check the owners group before committing.
I would put the Ranger 23 up against a J 24 any day. There were also 2 rigs for that boat, tall and short.
Yes, when I first looked at this boat I read about the potential chainplate issues. The bulkheads are a bit waterstained at the chainplates but still seem very solid; as for the keel, aside from the possible leak it looked intact from my snorkel-perspective. She has the tall rig.
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