Costs involved in inspecting keel bolts - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-24-2008
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Costs involved in inspecting keel bolts

I was wondering what the typical or fair costs would be for a yard to drop and inspect the keel and keel bolts? In my case the bolts are probably stainless as they are encapsulated and the bolts are easily accessible. Even though I have no direct cause for concern, the boat is now 6 years old in salty water and with an unknown number of groundings (0 for me so far) and if the costs aren't prohibitive I'd like to have that inspected prior to departing for parts unknown.
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Old 03-24-2008
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If your boat is on the hard, it might pay to have a new survey with emphasis on the keel bolts. That way you'd have a current survey and peace of mind regarding your keel. And it would probably be about the same cost, $10 to $40/foot.
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Old 03-24-2008
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The boat is on the hard - but the survey is still relatively recent and I don'T feel it necessary to resurvey since I've been the only one sailing the boat since I got it. I realize that I could chip away at the epoxy on the front bolts to look for corrosion and reseal, but I assumed that there was some more involved and professional means of checking the bolts . If dropping the keel is such a big (and expensive) task then that goes beyond my natural prudence inasmuch as there are no indications of problems.
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Old 03-24-2008
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It is a big and expensive task. Unless there is a cause for concern, leave it alone. If the nuts are accessible, find out the troque spec and make sure they are properly torqued - with the keel blocked! - and go sailing.

If not, just go sailing. If there is cracking in the keel sump/bilge or the keel/hull joint is separating, then there may be reason to drop the keel. Otherwise, don't do it. Chances are it's properly seated, sealed, faired and painted now.

If it aint broke, don't use it. I mean don't fix it.
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Old 03-24-2008
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Ok - thanks for the answer.
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Old 03-24-2008
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Rusty keel bolts

I've been thinking about the keel bolts on my Heritage One Ton as well. The steel frame to which the keel is bolted needs some attention, and I'm going to sister some of the frame members to beef them up when I haul out this spring (some chipping/grinding, ospho, bolts, and glass action).

There is a steel plate running down the center of the frame through which the keel bolts are set. Both the plate and bolts themselves have suffered a good bit of corrosion. A couple of keel bolt nuts are now sitting on small "islands" formed by the base plate corroding away. Basically, I need to reinforce the plate which means removing all of the keel bolt nuts.

As I already have a pretty long project list for this haul out, and there are no signs of any cracks along the keel line, I've deferred taking a wrench to the keel bolt nuts to the next haul out. Frankly, I'm afraid that attacking this problem now could turn into a much more involved and costly project than I can deal with I the time that I have.

Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't re-arrange the project list.

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-24-2008
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My understanding from talking to surveyors and shipwrights is that keel bolts shouldn't require inspection until 20+ years into the boats life. This is of course unless something occurs to warrant immediate inpsection.

Although I haven't seen this done I believe that techniques like ultra sound are being used in industrial applications and may be applicable for use on keel bolts. It could be worth investigation. A local surveyor may have more information.

Cheers

Ian
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