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Old 10-02-2013
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Keel Inspection

Is lateral movement of a bolt-on keel that causes flex at the stub normal on any sailboat? The boat is a fresh water 1984 Pearson 25 (aka US 25 and Buccaneer 250) with a lead fin keel that I can get to move about ˝ in. port and starboard as measured at the bottom of the keel. There are minor gel coat stress cracks at the shoulder of the stub where it meets the hull. The seam between the keel and the stub is tight, perhaps too tight as the keel boats are pressing into the cabin sole. I will drop the keel three inches to make an inspection, but if it is not obvious that a bolt or two are loose in the lead will it be advisable to “sister” the bolts and/or reinforce with fiberglass the portion of the bilge that sits over the stub. Any serious advice is welcome. Many thanks.
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Re: Keel Inspection

There was a decent article in either this months Sail or Cruising World that discussed this very topic along with a decent way to sister bolts on a lead keel.

Put a torque wrench on the keel nuts, you'll know if the bolts are spinning/loose.
Just don't do it in the water
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Re: Keel Inspection





You should be able to move the boat around and NOT have flex as the glass WILL fatigue

IF it is a US 25 type hull there was a good amount of plywood in the stringer system they used which got wet and tended to rot
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Re: Keel Inspection

Thanks for the quick responses and good advice. I'll check the keel bolts to see if they spin and ask for more advice if they do. The boat is a Pearson build that is generally very good, but the stringers are wood encapsulated by a layer or two of fiberglass. I will do a tap test on the stringers and report back. Also, the article on keel repair in Sail magazine is very good, but doesn't address some of the concerns that are specific to my boat, so I appreciate the advice I'm getting here.
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Old 10-04-2013
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Re: Keel Inspection

The good news is that all the keel bolts are seated solidly in the keel and the stringers are solid as well. The bad news is that there is still a little lateral play in the keel at the shoulders of the stub. I don't see a need to sister the bolts, but what do readers think of reinforcing the bilge with fiberglass at the point where it forms the shoulders of the keel stub? My thinking is that the original construction of the hull at that point was simply too light. Thoughts?
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