Weeping Keel - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-20-2006
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Weeping Keel

Last year at haul-out I had the keel ground down, epoxied and
painted in a small area that continued to weep water.
I just hauled and the area still seems a little weepy. I asked
about re-doing this and the guy at yard said he would just leave it.
IS this the best course or does anyone have any experience or
suggestions? The boat is 30 yrs old.
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Old 12-20-2006
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By weeping do you mean water weeps out of the joint between the hull and keel after the boat is hauled?

If it was properly sealed and epoxied (ie properly repaired the first time) what this most likely means is that the keel is flexing at the joint causing a gap/crack to form in the joint. Water gets in and then weeps out when you haul.

Without knowing what type of boat and what type of keel mounting it has it is hard to be specific, but I would start with re-torqueing the keel bolts to specification and then re-doing the repair. More radically you can drop the keel and reseal it. It all depends on the exact cause. It is hard to say without seeing it or seeing pictures.

On C&C yachts this was a common problem called the "C&C smile", but it was more of a cracking than a weeping. The fix was to tighten the bolts, grind out the crack and seal/fair with epoxy. The fact that it weeps is disturbing and should be fixed at some point.

If you decide to torque the keel bolts and re-do the repair then I would suggest opening up the crack with a grinder now to let it dry out over the next couple of months.

Cheers,

Todd
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Old 12-20-2006
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My concern would be, if fluid is weeping out by gravity after haul-out, consider the amount of water forced into the keel through hydrostatic pressure when floating?

If it was my boat, I'd regrind the breached area now, allowing all contained fluid to run out during winter drydock. Before launching next season, I would then reseal the fissures with epoxy and recoat with antifouling paint.
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Old 12-20-2006
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If your keel bolts are loose then you would likely have seen water weeping into the bilge when it was in still afloat. Was there some unexplained water there?
I just went through this with a fin keel boat I purchased last winter. All summer there was water getting into the bilge until I replaced the nuts and washers and retorqued them all. I did not have to drop the keel and reseal it as I had feared and I had a pretty big leak.

Gary
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Old 12-20-2006
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One other issue, not mentioned, is that the solution should not involve the entrapment of the leaking water. This could cause more damage out of water than in when freezing is considered. Without knowing more about what specific area is leaking and what the substrate material in the area is composed of I cannot offer any more advise, other than getting all the water out prior to any repair.
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I think this is one of those situations where you should get good professional help, to investigate and recommend a solution. A very good marine engineer would be called for. If you have had water leaking into the core area where your keel bolts are and the core is saturated then you have a very serious situation.

If it were my boat I would drop the keel and make sure the core/laminate is in good order. If it's not, repair it or have it repaired before re-attaching the keel. Anytime a keel flexes that much there is something wrong, whether it be design, manufacture or just an age problem.

The loss of a keel while sailing is an extremely dangerous situation.

hth, Deep
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Neicy hasn't described the type of keel he has. I had a similar situation after buying my boat with a 5,500 lb lead shot ballast, fiberglass encapsulated, modified fin keel. My surveyor detected high moisture readings in two isolated pockets, close to the bottom and recommended drilling and draining the voids - then filling with epoxy.

The yard that applied a barrier coat to the hull did the work, under climate controlled inside conditions, allowing a few weeks for draining after drilling several holes - then inserting plastic dowels into the drillholes, sealed with West System epoxy.

Upon haulout after the first season, the plugged holes weeped - so I drilled, allowed to drain all winter, resealing with WS epoxy before bottom painting again. I believe the problem is fixed, since no further weepage has occured . . . but I monitor the condition closely.
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Old 12-21-2006
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Sounds like a classic case of depression if your keel can't stop weeping, suggest a good hterapist and prozac, send me $150!
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Old 08-05-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailaway21 View Post
One other issue, not mentioned, is that the solution should not involve the entrapment of the leaking water. This could cause more damage out of water than in when freezing is considered.
I have a similar problem with weeping from cracks. My boat has been hauled for 3 years now and everytime it rains water will weep from the keel side cracks. One major crack on starboard side at the bottom, 2 minor wet lines on the port side down low. The major crack has about a 1 foot square area of buldging with rust stains. My concern is not the repair, but the source of the water trapping in the keel. I need to check all points of water entry from the top down. Like Michigan, Wisconsin winter freezing can kill anything that retains water inside it. Boat 79 morgan 45. Any tips on what is under the skin ,how to repair it and searching for the leaky source will help too. I'm guessing this is an encapsulated iron keel?? Have not removed the floor and tanks to get to the top of the keel attachments.
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Weeping Keel-img_1265.jpg   Weeping Keel-img_1259.jpg   Weeping Keel-img_1260.jpg  
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Old 08-05-2007
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I am at a loss to explain the significance of the rain. From your photos I would say that your first point of attack is the cracks themselves. Every time the boat is in the water, the water will migrate into them and, through osmosis, will proceed further and further into microscopic voids expanding the damage. These will take quite some time to drain back out versus the time the water took to get in, and freezing in the interim is going to expand the voids, breaking down the fiberglas in the process. The iron is rusting and expanding, exacerbating the damage. Get the grinder out and see how extensive the penetration is, being diligent to follow it until sound material is encountered.
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