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post #1 of 9 Old 03-24-2010 Thread Starter
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Leaky Keel

My buddy picked up a 1973 Olympic Dolphin 23 with a swing keel last weekend. The previous owner towed it over to his place last night so I stopped by to check it out.

I noticed the back of the keel was wet. It turned out bilge water was slowly seeping from the back of the keel. If water can get out from there I'm sure it can get in too. Where do we start with this?


Last edited by itsme6582; 03-29-2010 at 10:50 AM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-24-2010
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Better photos would help. If that is the swing keel, it may not be water from the bilge, but water from inside the swing keel itself.

It looks like the keel is rusting. Is the swing keel iron or steel? If so, then dropping it and repairing it so that water can't get into it is a necessity. If the keel starts to corrode badly, it can cause some serious problems down the line.

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post #3 of 9 Old 03-24-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. Just that little bit got my mind turning.

I'll get some more pictures this weekend. We took this last night with a flashlight. The port side of the keel is rusted across the entire surface. The starboard side isn't rusted, it may have a few pits of rust but I didn't notice any. I don't know if the keel is iron or steel. How would I figure that out?

This could be water from the keel. There was hardly any water in the bilge. It seemed like more water was coming out than possible if from the bilge. At the same time, the boat's been out of water for 10 years and I imagine water in the keel would have worked it's way out long ago. Maybe towing her a few miles stirred it up enough for it to start seeping.

We were hoping to get the repairs finished in the driveway. Then launch her and take her over to the dock. If we have to drop the keel, we're obviously going to have to get her lifted at the marina (unless someone has an awesome suggestion). Raising her and putting her on jack stands would make some of the other work much easier and that might be a blessing in the end. The downside of dropping the keel is it will have to be the last thing done. I think it's safe to say this is going to require the most work. It would be nice if we could get it out of the way first.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-24-2010
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If the boat is on a trailer, you can often build a framework to support the boat and use the trailer to get the framework in place. If you lower the front end of the trailer as low as it will go, it may be possible to put a heavy wooden frame under the aft end of the boat... then you raise the front of the trailer as much as possible and put a framework under the front end of the boat. Done properly, you can then remove the trailer from underneath the boat.

BTW, I've done something similar with my boat when I had her out for sodablasting and bottom painting, and I doubt your boat is as heavy as mine.

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #5 of 9 Old 03-26-2010 Thread Starter
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Pics to be taken tonight. Another thing I thought about was this water may not even be from the keel. Shortly before noticing this we unclogged the cockpit bailers. Water may have run down the hull to the keel.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-26-2010
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Even if the water isn't from the keel, the swing keel needs some maintenance ASAP.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #7 of 9 Old 03-26-2010
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If the keel is cast it is iron. If it is a weldment with lead or whatever inside it is steel. It is most likely iron.

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-28-2010 Thread Starter
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The case of the leaky keel has been solved. We noticed to dripping keel just after we cleaned out the bailers and 6 inches of water drained from the cockpit. The water ran down the hull and then down the keel. We'll be grinding the rust off the keel and sealing it with epoxy. We also have to apply bottom paint. Not too worried about the swing keel swinging. Once it's down, it's down for the season. I'll post some picks of this dirty dirty boat eventually. We scrubbed the heck out of the deck yesterday and she looks fantastic. It's amazing how much crap was stored on her and everyone will get a kick out of the wiring.
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-28-2010
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Excellent.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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