Seepage in area of keel bolts! - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-22-2008
KVK KVK is offline
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Seepage around keel bolts

i am looking for some ideas regarding our newly aquired sailboat. I have noticed water seepage near the aft pair of keel bolts. When the boat was purchased, she was on the hard and the bilge was spotless, all painted nice and white. After a month in the water, around July, i noticed the iron oxide forming on the washers of the keel bolts. The washers and nuts appear to have corroded the most from the brackish waters of the chesapeake. There was some sealant under the washers and the bolts look clean. All of the sealant / caulking was removed and was used to fill in a small void aft of the bolts. The bolts appear to be installed through a wooden block, because in removing the caulking, wood fibers were identified adhered to the caulk. is this cause for alarm and should the keel be dropped and bolts replaced?


The boat was pulled recently and she has flush / countersunk thru hull fittings, of which two are suspected to be leaking and in need of rebedding. One thru-hull is used for the flush water in the head and the other is used as a drain for the galley sink. The brass ball valves attached to the thru-hulls are very green, and one of the thru-hulls is less than 12-inchs from the water seep in the bilge.

i am suspecting the thru-hulls as the source of the small seep next to the keel bolts, however, i do not detect any holidays / delam in the fiberglass. Is it posible for the thru-hull to leak and "drain" into the bilge area without causing any delaminations in the fiberglass?

My plan is to rebed the thru-hulls and was wondering on what sealant to rebed.

Thanks for the help!

Last edited by KVK; 12-23-2008 at 06:48 PM. Reason: no responses
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Old 12-24-2008
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Use 3M 4200..

Welcome to sailnet btw... and I'd highly recommend you read the POST in my signature to help you get the most out of your time here. It has tips on searching sailnet, writing a good post, etc..

I'd also recommend you read Maine Sail's page on installing through-hulls... Located HERE.
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Old 12-24-2008
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Rockter will become famous soon enough
It's bolt-on keels again.
I am lucky to have a boat where the keel is cast into the glassfibre.

For your boat, yes, it could have a leak path such that it would not delaminate the fibreglass. I wonder how the wood will do though.

What is the boat?
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Old 12-24-2008
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BTW, it would probably help if you said what kind of boat you just got. Many boats have specific problems that are very common on them, and saying what boat you have is generally a good idea, since someone here may have specific knowledge or experience with the same make/model.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 12-24-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
It's bolt-on keels again.
I am lucky to have a boat where the keel is cast into the glassfibre.

For your boat, yes, it could have a leak path such that it would not delaminate the fibreglass. I wonder how the wood will do though.

What is the boat?
Who needs keels?

KVK

get some of the chalk dust (blue) available at home depot, the kind used for snap lines - sprinkle it down around where you suspect a leak and if there is one it will leave a trail.

Doesn't help this time because you are on the hard, but next time (and there will be a next time) it will work.

Welcome to sailing.
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Old 12-27-2008
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thanks for the feedback...and the boat in question is a modified Santana 30. Schock made 118 of these and ended the run in 1980. It is frustrating not being able to pinpoint where the water is entering the hull. I reviewed some pictures of the bottom before buying and noticed a nice crack around the prop shaft mount...and that's almost 12 feet from the bilge.

any and all ideas are helpful, and thanks sailingdog for the thru-hull links and specific instructions...and my two thru hulls in question were like the example of how-not-to install a thru hull fitting. After the holidays, the work begins!!

Merry new year to all.
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Old 12-30-2008
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I am asking for some help and have questions as to how do “timbers” along with keel bolts secure a keel to the hull? Are the timbers shaped and then glassed in the hull layups? I have two timbers, the size of 2x4’s, and makeup the compartments of the shallow bilge. I don’t understand how these timbers and fiberglass can support the heavy lead keel. My first post was concerning the seepage around the keel bolts, which are installed through one of two “timbers”.

Residual caulking was removed from around the bolts and I discovered a saturated greasy, “organic” mud for lack of adequate terminology. can this greasy mess be from the prop stuffing box and the “leak” is the dripping of the coolant water? If so, how is it able to travel under the sole and get trapped behind the keel timber? BTW - the boat is a modified Santana 30 and the keel was replaced in mid 1990s. There is no visible water dripping from the prop’s stuffing box and flowing on the sole in the engine compartment. (I realize the stuffing box needs my attention if it isn’t dripping !!) any help is appreciated.
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Old 12-30-2008
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KVK...don't know your boat specifically....but generally...any water entering a boat anywhere will make its' way to the blilge through the holes provided and destined into the hull structure.
Your water in the bilge could be coming from the packing gland, the keel/hull joint, or a deck leak etc. ...it will always end up in the bilge and mixed up with all the other stuff that migrates there always produces a rich brew if allowed to fester and remain.

Floor timbers are usually foam or wood that is overlaid with fiberglass roving and glassed to the hull. They are quite strong enough as built to bolt the keel to, you may be assured! Now...if the glass has cracked and deteriorated and allowed bilge water in...you may have wooden timbers that are a soggy mess and incapable of supporting your keel and need to be re-done. A small test drilling through the laminate in the area of concern can determine the condition of the timber. Be sure to fill the hole back with epoxy.
Given that the keel is a replacement and the area must have been modified, I am thinking that you are on the right track.
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