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CHOCKfullOnuts222 01-26-2009 11:14 AM

1972 Venture 222 - Keel Pivot Bolt
The keel hasn't fallen out of the boat yet; but after hearing all of the horror stories about MacGregor's dropping keels while out on the water, I'm terrified. What exactly causes the keel to fall out? I'd imagine it must be pivot bolt failure, and not the keel itself, right??? What causes the failure---mechanical wear, or corrosion? Typically, I mean...?

Are there regular service intervals for pivot bolts? Replace every so many seasons?

Capnblu 01-26-2009 01:50 PM

Like most things, If you are wondering IF you should, you probably already should have. The failure point will probably the lifting lowering mechanism including linkage points, cable etc. the uncontrolled lowering of the mass of the keel will damage the structure surrounding the pivot point, if the forces are large enough there will be a very big mess to contend with. A loose pivot pin probably is still stronger than the weakest link in your lifting/lowering setup. But never overestimate the skills of the last person who put it back together. The bolts that hold the pin in place can only be assessed by removing them.

CHOCKfullOnuts222 01-26-2009 05:10 PM

Okay. I guess the safe way is to just replace the keel with something of known good condition. Does anyone know where I can find a good replacement keel for a 1972 Venture 222?

Perithead 01-26-2009 05:53 PM

No, there probably is no need to replace that keel. Generally keels can be refurbished and brough back to "like new" condition.

What you should probably check out and maybe replace is th pivot pin, the cable, and the point on the keel where the cable attached. in order to properly instpect the pivot pin, you need to remove the keel and remove the pivot pin. Since your doing that, go ahead and replace everything.

Refinishing the keel can be a job. Sometimes they don't need much more than paint but if it's rusted bad, you may need to clean it up good and repaint it or cover it with fiberglass.

There are some useful links at my website, Sailing and Such. Go to the Sailboat Projects section then to Restorations. Check out the Catalina 22, and the Venture 24, they both have detailed information about removing and restoring a swing keel simular to yours.

Hope it helps and good luck!

CHOCKfullOnuts222 01-26-2009 06:32 PM

My keel is in sorry shape, I have to admit. It's the steel-encapsulated-in-fiberlgass type, and the fiberglass has come off before. Everything from below the bottom of the boat down (with the keel in the down position) came off because of a large crack and a bunch of zebra muscles. The steel was rusted pretty heavily--not wasted, but ugly. And because I didn't have the facilities to remove the keel, I ended up "splicing" the new fiberglass (rough job) to the old stuff left from up in the trunk. Before you see the pictures, I know it's ugly and it's slowing me down. I unfortunately only had the cradle for a few days, and had to do something fast and cheap. It has worked to allow the boat to sail, but it's not a permanent repair.

What's got me the most nervous is that when I'm sailing, and the boat leans over in the wind, I can feel and hear a solid "clunk" in the bottom of the boat---like the keel is thudding against the side of the trunk. I reallllllllllly don't want to run the risk of losing the keel altogether. Blue Water Yachts no longer carries keels for the old MacGregors/Ventures, so finding a replacement would be ROUGH.


How much does it cost to have the keel refurbished?

timebandit 01-26-2009 08:22 PM

There is a book about redoing your boat and here is what your keel looks like nude.


Perithead 01-26-2009 08:51 PM

Your keel job really doesn't look that bad. Not sure how much of the bad stuff you removed before painting it, you need to get down to good metal. Also, Im not sure what kind of paint you used to paint the keel. That is really the basics of refurbishing a keel.

Its not really something you have to pay to have done.

Not exactly sure about the "clunk" you hear, but the problem is probably right around the pivot pin. It could be anumber of things in this area.
1) The fiberglass structure that the pivot pin is mounted in could be weak and allowing it to flex from side to side.
2)The keel could be "wallered" out as we say it. Meaning where the pin goes through keel, could be worn and the hole could be larger than it should be allowing it to swing on the pin.

Basically you are going to have to remove the keel to get to the bottom of this. Once you do that, you can figure out what the problem is.

Although, if you are going sailing soon, while you tack and the boat heels over have someone watch the spot where the pivot pin is. (If it is visible of course)

CHOCKfullOnuts222 01-27-2009 09:04 AM

Timebandit: I have that very same book coming in the mail right now. :D

Perithead: Thanks for the feedback. There was some flaky rust removed on one side, and stubborn surface rust on the other. I sanded it all off as best I could without access to a sandblaster, and then coated the whole thing with rust converter primer before I started laying in my filler. Unfortunately, I didn't use good paint when I did that keel job. I didn't have much money (one year out of college, was working at a bank ops center back then). I spent about $300 on fiberglass and filling materials (which felt like a fortune at the time), and had nothing left for real bottom paint or a good epoxy coat. In the end I bought a $4 can of brush-on Rustoleum. I figured that since it was waterproof and sort of rubbery when cured, it would be the best non-marine coating to try out. It's lost its shine, but to this day, it still hasn't flaked off of the fiberlglass--which surprises me.

The keel has moved freely up and down in the trunk since then; no scraping, rubbing, sticking, etc. That pivot hole is what's worrying me. I plan on pulling the bolt before the boat goes back in the water this June, and that should be a good indicator of what's going on in there. Marks or grooves to the outer edges of the bolt would definitely indicate a "wallering" problem on the shaft.

I'm thinking that I'll end up pulling the keel when I pull the boat out of the water at the end of the next season, and spend the fall and winter refurbishing the thing. It's going to take me a while to do it around my job...and I don't want to miss half or more of the boating season...:)

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