Cal 21 Keel - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 58 Old 01-18-2011 Thread Starter
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Cal 21 Keel

I am planning to doing some work on the keel of my Cal 21. I have done a thorough online search in hopes to gain some more info but have come up a bit short on detail. The keel leaks when the boat is heavy or has decent speed. I believe the leak is coming in around the pin. I plan on removing the fiberglass around the pin to get a better look to see what surprises I might find. If anyone has worked on their keel and has some advice please get in touch. I would love to have pics, advice, anything before getting started.
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post #2 of 58 Old 01-20-2011
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I have a 1972 Cal T4 that has a fixed keel with 2000 lb of lead at the bottom of the keel. When I had it hauled out 6 months ago I was concerned about the keel bolts because the boat is over 30 years old but she wasn't leaking like yours. I had the guys that were repairing my boat come in and drill down through the bilge to put self- taping threaded stainless steel rods, 8" long, into the lead keel and then had them put washers and stainless steel nuts on. They then encapsulated them in some sort of epoxy to keep the air and moisture out. I had them put two at each end and two in the middle for a total of eight. I am not sure if a Cal 21 has a lead keel or a steel bullet keel like the Cal 20. If it is a lead keel like mine I would recommend not dropping the keel unless you just have to because it will cost you a lot more to do that and replace the bolts than just have more put in like I did. The second option that I looked at was to have them encase the keel in fiber glass but that was going to cost more than putting the bolts in. I think the later model Cal's all had their lead keels encased in fiber glass but I could be wrong. Just an idea, good luck with the keel.
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post #3 of 58 Old 01-26-2011
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Hi Sailnova, there is a little bit online about the actual keel and the bushing the keel pivots on.

www3.sympatico.ca/sailpair/21stuff/21keel.html

From the above "With the age of all Cal 21's now, all owners should check this at least once to determine it's condition." it sounds like if you are getting leaking in through the keel pivot you are probably wise to get in there and check out what's going on throughout the whole system. I haven't removed a cal 21 keel from the pivot. I'd guess that you want to 1) remove the pivot, 2)take the keel out of the slot, 3) check rusting integrity of keel, 4) check keel slot/trunk (re-glass trunk if cracked or questionable) 5) throw it all back together. Are there gaskets around the pivot, maybe it's just shot gaskets? Anyway, this doesn't answer any questions, but a few things to look into. Anyone with details on the pivot connection, experience, or known pitfalls in this?
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post #4 of 58 Old 01-30-2011
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sailnova, My 21 is a 1971 version. Just acquired it this winter. Plan to drop the keel this Spring and make it look and work like it did originally. Will also try to identify any potential problems with pivot/locking pin/whatever. Agreed that detail is not easy to find. If you have already gone through this process I would appreciate any info you have acquired. best, rippy
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post #5 of 58 Old 01-31-2011 Thread Starter
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I started in on the keel pin over the weekend and have a few photos to share. We took out a lot of soggy plywood from the center of the cabin to get a good look at the keel pin. In order to access the keel pin we had to remove fiberglass from around the pin...and this is what we found. Both sides have a wooden housing or "block" that is surface attached to the fiberglass. I do not know if this is original. The starboard side (photo) block is in two pieces but the port side is a single piece...next step???
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post #6 of 58 Old 01-31-2011
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21 keel pivot

Great stuff! That 2 piece wooden block sure must have started out as 1. My boat is surrounded by a couple feet of snow and covered by tarp right now. I have only looked at the interior a couple of times but I don't think the bolt or the area where the pin goes is hidden under any glass or plywood. Do you know what year your 21 is?
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post #7 of 58 Old 01-31-2011 Thread Starter
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My cal is a '71. If anyone gets a chance to snap a couple of photos of your cal 21 keel pivot I would greatly appreciate it! Progress is going to be slow going for the next month but I will continue to post in hopes to get a bit of advice...

Rippy, thanks for the info!
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post #8 of 58 Old 01-31-2011
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Righto, we have the same boat I guess...at least when they were new! I am off to Mexico for February. When I get back I will investigate further. Hope the snow is about done by then. I am in Hudson valley of NY. Rod Johnson is the most knowlegable guy I have found on the Cal 21 story.
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post #9 of 58 Old 01-31-2011
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I have some picts here of my boat, I hope it may help:

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post #10 of 58 Old 02-01-2011 Thread Starter
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Bonito, Do you get any water in your cabin? It looks like there is a cap over the end of the keel pivot. Is there an additional fiberglass "box" around your keel trunk? Thanks for sharing the photos!
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