SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Gear & Maintenance (
-   -   Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice (

markdthorne 11-20-2013 07:26 PM

Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice
I posted the following post in the Ranger section however have not received any feedback, therefore, I was thinking that I posted it in the wrong place (I'm new). Any advice that you can give would be greatly appreciated!

I have a 1973 Ranger 23. I love the boat and have sailed it many times and many miles. I keep it in the New York Harbor (Jersey City Side) and sail in the harbor as well as some inshore coastal sailing (inside of 15 miles).

I pulled this boat this week and found that the keel has about 1 to 2 inches of play in it. Quick overview:
1. The bolts are tight and in good shape.
2. The keel to hull joint it sound, with no cracks.
3. There is no leakage in the keel sump.
4. When the keel is moved, the hull flexes for 12 to 18 inches on either side of the keel.

I called several reputable fiberglass people in the area and no one is interested in looking at the boat. A suggestion that I received was to enjoy the boat until it starts leaking.

Therefore, I have three questions:
1. Does this sound like good advice (could this be dangerous)?
2. Is this a common issue (not a lose keel, but a flexing hull causing the keel to wobble)?
3. If I were to endeavor to fix this (cut out the floor, grind out and rebuild 1 inch of new glass across the inside of the hull/add a few stringers and rebuild the cabin floor) would this work, or simply crack/break the first time I hit a large wave/was knocked down?

Any advice that you could give. Thanks again!

Faster 11-20-2013 07:40 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice
Have you had opportunity to compare with other R 23 owners? How much force does it take to get the 'wobble'.. a couple of inches of movement sounds alarming but without knowing the construction details of the central part of the hull/bilge it's difficult to say.

From your description this is all 'hull flex' rather than any looseness at the hull/keel joint.. so it begs the question as to whether this boat has sustained damage somehow that weakened the hull, of if this is indeed 'normal' for the type.

I know that my brother had a Ranger 28 years ago.. there were no floors (crossbeams) or stringers (longitudinals) in that hull, the cabin sole was essentially the inside of the hull itself - I can't say we ever noticed that issue - but don't recall looking for it either....

markdthorne 11-20-2013 07:57 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice
Thanks for the reply!

I have searched for other R23 owners and have found examples of leaks, and keels that needed to be re-bedded, but not a hull a flex like this.

To make the keel move, it does not take much. Once you get the 1500# keel moving it shakes on its own.

The R23 was not made with stringers, however, it does have a cabin sole. When riding in the cabin in choppy conditions you can feel the cabin sole flex.

The tone of your comment is consistent with my general sense of caution. Just wanted to see what other (more experienced) sailors had to say.

Thanks again!

CalebD 11-20-2013 07:59 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice
Hi Markdthorne,

I keep my boat 25 nm up the Hudson from you (Nyack). We used to race against a Ranger 23' who kept us on our toes. Nice boat for it's size.

Sorry to hear about your hull/keel flexing. Obviously not an ideal situation.
I'm not a naval architect but I think your 3rd option (stiffening inside the hull) is the only way to really address this. Perhaps a naval architect like Bob Perry will drop into render an expert opinion.
If you do nothing about this you have your option #1. I think the answer to #2 is that older boats are more likely to reach this state.

As for getting a reputable fiberglass person to work on it, good luck! For starters it is much more difficult to do epoxy work when it is cold (< 50F) outside. For another, most people who do this charge more than you will want to pay - could cost more than you paid for your boat to fix this right.

If you really like the boat it might be worth trying to fix this yourself. Epoxy work is not rocket science but it is time consuming.

I live across the river (Hudson) from where you keep your boat so I could come over to meet you and have a look at your hull/keel situation, if you like.

I'm going to guess that most other responders will say: "ditch the boat for a newer one".

AlaskaMC 11-20-2013 08:05 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice
Just a total naive comment from me. Our boat, an M25 specifically warns against letting the keel "hang" from the boat when out of the water. (It is a swing so not exactly the same of course) It was designed to hold the weight of the keel in the water, not on the trailer or slings as it distorts the hull and would swing side to side (rather than up and down as designed). Not sure, but is it possible that the Ranger is the same and was not built up to handle the keel hanging when the boat is out if the water? Rather it was meant for the keel to rest on the ground?

EDIT: Something tells me that I am wrong on this as I looked up some pics of Ranger 23s on trailers and it "appears" that the keel is not resting on the trailer but is suspended. If that is normal, then the wobble wouldn't be.

markdthorne 11-20-2013 08:11 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice

Thank you for your kind offer to have a look. I may want to take you up on your offer. My treat at the Taqueria!

The funny thing is that this is the same boat (So you know why I like it, meticulously maintained, great woodwork, nicely rigged, and lots of character)

I would be very interested in what you think. I will PM you about getting together.


lillia28 11-20-2013 08:13 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice
I've seen one other boat that sounds like what you are describing. Is the hull cored? I am just south of you, Sandy Hook, and second Caleb, I can take a look, if you like. If its a cored hull, I"d guess delamination of the core, but I'm sure you know that. Is there a Ranger owners club or such? The other boat was a seafarer. It was on stands, and the hull flex allowed it to rock back and forth as you walked on it. I didn't like the boat enough to look any further.

markdthorne 11-20-2013 08:17 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice

That makes sense, the R23 however, is not cored. If you are ever in the area, (we are a ways from sandy hook) let me know, I would greatly appreciate any advice that you could give. I'll PM you.


lillia28 11-20-2013 08:18 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice
there's a ranger 23 yahoo group: Ranger 23 sailboat association. They might have some experience.

lillia28 11-20-2013 08:20 PM

Re: Ranger 23 Keel Wobble Advice

Originally Posted by markdthorne (Post 1142753)

That makes sense, the R23 however, is not cored. If you are ever in the area, (we are a ways from sandy hook) let me know, I would greatly appreciate any advice that you could give. I'll PM you.


I commuted to EWR for years! Jersey City is a breeze!

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:33 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome