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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-06-2009
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Keel + Gap = P.I.T.A.

Hey guys and gals,

I am still on the hard. I have been fighting weather, waiting on parts and just enjoying the view of the 60 ton lift going back and forth all day. It's loud.

Check out this gap. I have tightened the keel bolts. They didn't budge nary a nano-bit. They seem as solid as can be. The rust stain isn't actually rust. It's sediment I stirred up in the bilge. So, the bilge is leaking through the bolts. The reason I know this is since I opened the gap the bilge pump doesn't go off anymore. It all leaks out. What a SL of rain, I tell ya.

Before I knew the extent of the gap, I had spoken to West System and was recommended Gflex 655 to fill the hairline. Now that I have knocked out the bluish filler (bondo?) I am thinking of filling the thoroughly cleaned gap with the 655 and then glassing it in with a thin layer of cloth. Is this foolish?

I am new to this, very capable of doing the work, but with all the choices out there, I am needing more expertise. Anyone?

She's a 1977 Orion S&S 35.
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Keel + Gap = P.I.T.A.-dscn6096.jpg   Keel + Gap = P.I.T.A.-dscn6098.jpg   Keel + Gap = P.I.T.A.-dscn6099.jpg  
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Old 07-06-2009
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You..

You can try to band-aid it but I wouldn't. You have both internal and external leaks. Sealing one or the other will only trap stagnant water devoid of oxygen which will then eat your keel bolts for lunch.

You really are a prime candidate for a keel reset. If she didn't leak water from inside to out, or the reverse, you could possibly patch it up from the out side after majorly drying it but you have it bad. You really need to drop the keel and re-bed it.
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Old 07-07-2009
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ugh.
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Old 07-07-2009
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that looks ugly and scary.
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Old 07-07-2009
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I had the same problem on my Columbia. I pulled the keel, and with the West system made a new bed for the keel. Had to lift the boat to sperate the keel. make the foot, and put the boat back in place. Lift the boat to clean up, and caulk the job, and place the boat back down. It was a messy three day job, and the extra cost of the lift. If you don't do it you will be pulling the boat again soon.BEST WISHES ON THE JOB ......i2f
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Old 07-07-2009
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I'd point out that if the keel supports inside the boat have sagged, tightening the keel bolts would do little to close the gap. You really need to take the keel off and see what is going on.
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Old 07-07-2009
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Drop the keel, do it right, don't be sorry later.
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Old 07-08-2009
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I'll do this. Opinions please.

Here's my plan. Thanks in advance for yer ideas.

First I will completely dry the bilge.

I will open the joint.

Then back off the nuts on the bolts.

Have the yard brace the keel and lift the boat about 4 inches. Then I'll get in the gap and clean clean clean, removing all former sealant, and oils.

Then rebed it with 5200 (or a good alternative.)

Have the yard drop the boat back onto the bolts.

Put a dollop of sealant on the washers and nuts.

Tighten and torque the nuts.

Then fill the gaps with 3M premium marine filler (or good alternative.)

Fair it, prime it, paint it.

Whattaya think?
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Old 07-08-2009
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You are going to need more than 4 inches. It's a much dirtier job than you are expecting. Set the boat to the side, and expect the worse. If that doesn't happen then feel lucky. Just by the look of the nose on the keel. It appears you may need to make a new foot for the keel to sit in? What is the term for where the keel sits?

As SD typed your supports may be sagging? We had to heavily sand the bottom of the boat, and fill with epoxy. Waxed the keel heavily, and rejoined them over night. Next day pulled them apart , cleaned our mess, caulked, and put the boat in place. My bilge was dry after that........i2f
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Old 07-08-2009
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And now for a pessimistic point of view: If that's the front of the keel, maybe it got "bent down" when the keel struck something hard and low, pushing the aft end of the keel up into the hull and causing damage all along the keel stub to the hull.

Because that isn't just "loose" uniformly, that's "bent".

I'd have the keel stub inspected very carefully for fiberglass damage, this may need a structural repair to the hull.

5200 is a nice way to bed a keel, if allowed to cure properly and IF the keel and hull are mated properly (not possible if there's damage) it is strong enough to hold the keel up even if all the bolts fail later.

But either way, you need to find out why you don't have a neat clean fit between the hull and keel, simply filling it in and screwing bolts down tight still leaves it untrustworthy.
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