Lift Keel Appears to be Missing - SailNet Community

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Old 04-07-2009
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Lift Keel Appears to be Missing

I am new to the sailing community and at the end of last year I purchased a 24' sailboat that I was told has a "swinging keel." The boat was dry docked and I recently went to check on it before it gets put back in the water. My first impression was that it was a fixed keel. However, I noticed that the bottem of the keel has a slit where it appears another keel would drop down. What kind of keel is this? Also, it appears that this piece is missing. Is this dangerous to sail? Do I need to replace this? Can I easily find a piece that would work? If it doesnt need to be replaced should I seal it up? I apologize for what are probably obvious questions, but like I said- I am new to sailing and trying to learn. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 04-07-2009
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swing keel, or centerboard, the seller lied. shame shame. it will sail without it but the boat was designed with it. what make model boat?
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1968 CAL 24. Is it accurate to say that the weight of the keel is what keeps the boat upright, but without the missing piece I will loose some control not safety?
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If the boat was truly a swing keel, then the boat would probably be fairly dangerous to sail without the swing keel in place, since the swing keel provides a good portion of the stability and ballast for the boat.

If the boat is a centerboard boat with a stub keel, and the centerboard is not weighted and mainly to allow the boat to point better, then you could sail it without the centerboard, but you would have far more leeway than you would if it were installed and lowered. This can be a safety concern, since the ability for the boat to point and sail well to windward may be important if you're trying to sail off a lee shore, or trying to make progress to windward while short-tacking.

If you have a bill of sale and it says that the keel is present, I would go talk to the seller....since they've now committed fraud—since the boat doesn't have a keel, and the boat was sold with the understanding that the keel was present. The lack of a swing keel/centerboard would certainly impact the price of the boat.
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Are you sure the keel is missing? There should be a steel cable coming into the cockpit to raise and lower it. This cable usually goes to a winch of some kind. It's pretty hard to see the keel when it's in the up position.

Usually this keel would be made from steel plate. You may be able to have a new one made if it's missing, but it may or may not be worth it, depending on the condition of the boat.
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And what was the name of your surveyor? Listen to Thumbs there is a good chance it is still there!
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It may be there. When I released the cable it didnt drop. Any suggestions to try and release it...if it is indeed there.
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Not knowing where the was last in water, It could be nothing more that marine growth (barnacles) holding up in the keel. Put a block of wood up under the keel to keep the board from dropping on you and use a piece of flat steel as scraper so you can get up in keel and dig out the growth. If the center trunk has a cap on top you can remove that and force down from the side. either way if it is growth causing the problem you got to get it clean.

Last edited by bubb2; 04-07-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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if it's not there, the cable will pull right up and out. I am sure it's there but stuck. That is pretty common. Also, it won't come down unless it on the water. If it's on the trailer you won't be able to lower it at all.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThumbs View Post
If it's on the trailer you won't be able to lower it at all.
I was not thinking of that Thumbs If it in a yard on stands, you can use a 3rd pair of stands and 4x4. lay the 4x4 across the stands and jack the boat up a little from the stern. I am talking only a foot, that should be enough know if the centerboard is moving.
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