Join Date: May 2009
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Wauquiez Gladiatuer grounding damage
Over the weekend I ran my Gladiatuer's lead skag keel hard against a rock bringing our 5knot speed under power to a dead halt. Aside from initial shock and embarrassment everyone on board was fine. The impact did not put us on top of the rock so I was able to easily reverse free of the obstruction and navigational control of the vessel was unhindered.
After initial visual inspection of the boat, including the bilge, we continued on our way under power (calm wind conditions prevented sailing) to our destination for the evening. I continued to monitor the bilge (which always has a little fluid in it) for any increase in level through the night and into the next day. My confidence continued to improve as little to no sign of damage or failure appeared as we returned to our home port on Sunday - although I was sure the impact would show on the lead keel. Midway on our return the wind picked up and we enjoyed a wonderful sail into port, further easing my concerns of lasting damage.
During our clean-up of the boat on the dock, using my snorkel, I dove into the icy water to perform a final check. As expected, about 1'-1.5' up from the bottom of my 6' draft keel the lead was scratched and deformed (minimum depth recorded on my depth sounder was 5.2'). What I did not expect to see was evidence of stress in the hull behind where my keel met the bottom of the hull. Water temp and my lung capacity prohibited me from getting a really good look at the damage but recently exposed white fiberglass shown through the bottom paint. This new information prompted me to pull up some of my cabin floor panels in the same area where I found minor cracks in one of the floor joists.
Since then I have contacted several Wauquiez Pretorian owners whose experience & knowledge I respect - one owner's boat experienced a similar, if not more significant, impact when he was not on board. Everyone seems to agree that since I am not taking on significant water the damage is most likely surface deep but will require a haul out and yard work to repair. If flooding is not an issue then the next concern would be the keel falling off while underway. This seems unlikely due to the lack of any visible damage to the keel bolts and the stout nature of these boats. It has also been pointed out that the damage is in an area of the hull that extremely thick and strong.
At this point I know that i will need to repair the damage but my question is how soon. My wife and I are planning a week long trip in the San Juan Islands over the first week of June and I was hoping to address this issue afterwards. Does anyone have any insight or experience with this issue on a similar quality boat?