Keel Cable/Tow/NavigationLoss - SailNet Community

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Old 06-20-2005
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Keel Cable/Tow/NavigationLoss

I was out sailing yesterday in my MacGregor 25''. Boat is in fair condition. I was out near the mouth of hte James in Lower Chesapeake. I was moving along pretty fast when all of a sudden my boat stopped abruptly and hit it hard to starboard. Dropped my sails and tried motoring around - unable to move under my own power(it appeared). Started drifting around unable to move. Called SeaTow up and had a diver come out. Diver sail my swing keel appeared to be up and he could see nothing tangled to it (though I don''t trust that he got a good look). We started to pull off under tow and the whole companionway of the boat popped up and flexed the fiberglass about 3 inches. The keel cabled subsequently snapped. I believe this cable is rated for 7000 lbs at least so how could it just snap w/o damaging the boat? So i got towed in close to port and tried to outboard back in. Again I had no sense of control using my outboard and rudder. Boat wasn''t being propelled forward. I got towed into my slip where she is sitting. Nothing appears wrong with the boat except the snapped keel cable, but I don''t understand why i cannot steer it any. It would appear that with the keel in any position I should be able to retain motor control of the boat. Please let me know if you have any insite into this issue. My boat is slipped in about 6 foot of water, so I don''t think the keel would rub until i get a chance to fix it. Haven''t had time to dive in yet and check everything out, plan to next weekend. Let me know if you have any ideas as to the problem of not being able to navigate. Thanks.
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Old 06-20-2005
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Keel Cable/Tow/NavigationLoss

First off, your swing keel is down. It is a rusty Iron slab 6 feet long that is fat at the bottom and it weighs 300 pounds. Some of these have a dual cable system, one cable pulls it up and the other holds it down, but that is only the lightweight boards. The heavywieghts don''t need any help being held down. They only need help coming up.

But they can have a serious problem.

If they get anything wrapped around them, like a couple of crabpots, for example, and they are loaded with barnacles and oysters, you got a serious problem.

Get your boat hauled. You need to fix the cable anyway and inspect the bottom. Drop the keel and fix the whole problem. Inspect the keel pivot bolt under the saloon table and all the fiberglass around it. This area may well need repair after the muscling the towboat had to put on the boat to free it. you might have gotten the swing keel cocked forward in the grounding.
Write again when you get it out. I''m interested in what you find.
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