Should you check and tighten your keel bolts - SailNet Community

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Old 08-05-2007
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Should you check and tighten your keel bolts

Just wondering: I was at the club yesterday and a guy was talking about his new boat and he said he had to check and tighten the keel bolts. Is that necessary? Shouldn't they be corroded and tightened in place. If you wrench them tighter could you damage something?
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Old 08-05-2007
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Tartan34C will become famous soon enough
Unless you have a reason to tamper with them donít touch. Some new boats needed them tightened after some short time period which let everything settle in. But older boats donít need them adjusted. If the boat is old enough you may pull a bolt or two to check for corrosion. And if you suspect the bearing area is crushing you may pull a bolt to check on that. If that is a problem then you need to fix the underlying cause instead of just tightening the nuts or keel bolts.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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Old 08-08-2007
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Skip feels that every thirty years the keel bolts should be pulled and checked. We ended up replacing all of MISTRESS's keel bolts. Yesterday, Skip had an opportunity to check out the bronze keel bolts on a 1927 sail boat. When he tapped them they shattered and only the inside 1/8 was holding it together before that. He said there were rings around them like a tree has. These were stress rings.
Years ago, when he was working on another old wooden sailboat he was not able to finish the job, but warned the owner of the yard doing the work that the keel bolts needed to be checked. Some friends of ours help deliver the boat with the owner when the work was done. The keel fell off in the harbor, in Bermuda. They were all damn lucky that it happened there and not during the crossing. The keel bolts had never been checked by the yard as Skip had requested. Before you consider doing this yourself, seek the advise of a good Shipwright.
Kathleen
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Schooner MISTRESS

Last edited by SchoonerMISTRESS; 08-08-2007 at 03:19 PM.
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