Crack in bilge on E-29 - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-17-2009 Thread Starter
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Crack in bilge on E-29

A young friend just bought a Ericson 29 with an encapsulated keel. A surveyor (post purchase!) noticed a crack in the glass on top of the keel, in the second (forward) access hatch. He had a theory that maybe some water got in and froze making the crack, but admitted he didn't have a clue. Don't know the history of the boat, but it's currently on the West Coast. I'm finding the freezing water theory hard to believe. At the surveyors suggestion, the new owner filled the crack with some epoxy (apparently without cloth or even thickener), so the shots are not very revealing. I'm wondering what the "water" would have been doing in there to allow it to "freeze" and expand! Anyone know, or have any other theories on what might have caused the crack? Should he be concerned? I think so! The boat has not been hauled for inspection.
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-17-2009
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without grinding away a bit of the glass and epoxy, it is hard to determine what the actual damage is... grinding away some of the fiberglass and epoxy will be necessary to do a proper repair job in any case, so it shouldn't be an issue. Your friend really needs to see what is under the epoxy, since it could be serious damage.

He really should have had a survey as a part of the purchase, rather than post-purchase, since this would have given good cause for either reconsidering this boat entirely or a severe price adjustment.

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post #3 of 15 Old 05-17-2009
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Yes; that's bad advice. It looks like in your picture the failure is where the keel stub meets the hull (concave section on the exterior). This section distributes the keel loads out to the hull and it is important that the glass fibers are continuous through that section or you could have a failure (the crack could open or the keel and keel stub could fall away).

I'm really not sure how you would fix this such that it would be a reliable/safe repair. Personally I think it is one of those problems where the cost of fixing it might exceed the value of the boat. You need a second opinion on it; and I think you might want to look into a claim against the surveyor for not finding such an obvious problem before purchase (accredited surveyors have insurance for these situations via their Association IIRC).

Putting epoxy in the crack is not a suitable fix. My speculation is that the boat was severely grounded pushing the keel up and causing cracks to the bilge side of the keel stub; or dropped off of a lift causing the same.
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-17-2009
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I've got an E27 of the same design. I'm not buying the freezing issue either, but it may not be a catastrophic failure. There is a ton of info around on how they made those keels.

I'd look at the bottom, grind out the old epoxy and take it from there.

The idea of a severe grounding or lift drop is an interesting one. But, I'm sure sand thing the keel back would show the repair or the damage. There's quite a lot of glass around the keel itself. It you hit anything with one of these designs, it shows up.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-17-2009
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There is no keel stub, and there are no keel bolts. The lead was cast as one piece and then lowered into the fiberglass cavity. The hull would have to come apart for the keel to get loose. That being said, I really don't know what what the problem shown in your photo might be. Sorry!
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-18-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
Yes; that's bad advice. It looks like in your picture the failure is where the keel stub meets the hull (concave section on the exterior). This section distributes the keel loads out to the hull and it is important that the glass fibers are continuous through that section or you could have a failure (the crack could open or the keel and keel stub could fall away).

You need a second opinion on it; and I think you might want to look into a claim against the surveyor for not finding such an obvious problem before purchase (accredited surveyors have insurance for these situations via their Association IIRC)..
To clarify, the buyer didn't hire the surveyor until he had purchased the boat (for insurance purchases, of course). Still, I was surprised that the surveyor apparently mentioned the damage in his report, but blew it off and didn't encourage further investigation. Especially given the fact the survey was done dockside! I'm probably naive, but I would have thought the insurance company would have caught it. I guess everybody's just going through the motions Shouldn't surprise me, seems to be the new way to do business!
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-18-2009
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While you may NOT progress to this level it is not going to get better without some correct repiar

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post #8 of 15 Old 05-18-2009
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If there was water in there and the boat had frozen it could have done that damage as the surveyor suggested. It might just be wear and tear too. The crack looks like it runs fore and aft. If one side of the keel structure has a heavier layup than the other side, and/or if the boat has/had gotten waterlogged, the lateral force exerted on the keel when the boat heels could just have been enough to open it up on the one side. There may also have been some stress applied to the hull if it was blocked poorly on the hard.

If it was my boat, and I had not paid a lot for it, I would probably dry out the bilge and epoxy several layers of cloth and resin in there on both sides of the keel with two or three more layers on the cracked side. It would be a good idea, as SD suggested, to grind out the brittle resin that is there now and put a strong fillet there. The boat could be good for another twenty years...


But I'd make a point of NOT sailing the boat too far offshore
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-18-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgeissinger View Post
There is no keel stub, and there are no keel bolts. The lead was cast as one piece and then lowered into the fiberglass cavity. The hull would have to come apart for the keel to get loose. That being said, I really don't know what what the problem shown in your photo might be. Sorry!
The hull IS coming apart; that's why I suggested either having it re-surveyed by someone who KNOWS WTF they are looking at or go back to the surveyor and ask for a second look or possibly put a claim in (but clearly not an option since it was an insurance survey). We know how the hull/keel is constructed; the question was about the LARGE CRACK running along the turn of the bilge at the keel stub (in a high load area).

I did not know that the survey was an after-thought to get insurance. It's possible that the surveyor was trying to do the owner a favor by not saying the problem is more significant in his report to allow the boat owner to obtain insurance; but I don't know what he was thinking or exactly what the problem looks like either.

To me, this longtudinal crack looks rather large; and scary. Is it just the picture or is the crack over 1/4" wide and ~6-8" long at the top? At the least I would think the area should be ground back to good glass and then layers of glass and epoxy filled in to the void; with a few layers of cloth over the top to aid in load distribution. But again, this is pure speculation; I'm not able to look directly at the problem.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-19-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
To me, this longitudinal crack looks rather large; and scary. Is it just the picture or is the crack over 1/4" wide and ~6-8" long at the top? At the least I would think the area should be ground back to good glass and then layers of glass and epoxy filled in to the void; with a few layers of cloth over the top to aid in load distribution. But again, this is pure speculation; I'm not able to look directly at the problem.
Yes, your dimensions are correct, approximately 6" by 1/4 or 3/8".
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