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Arjen 04-01-2013 01:35 PM

wet keel
Got my boat out of the water. front 2 foot of the botom of the keel (where it is damaged from hitting things) is wet. Drilled holes. Out came a few gallons of water.

Now it just remains wet and people tell me to let it dry a few months. Both because i dont have this time available and the cost of having it in the dry dock is way too high compared to the value of the boat, this is not an option.

What other options do i have ?
How can i get it dry enough to fix the damage and apply new paint ASAP ?

SchockT 04-01-2013 01:45 PM

Re: wet keel
I assume you have a fiberglass encapsulated lead keel?

I had that problem on my first boat. Water just kept seeping out of the holes I drilled in the bottom, so I couldn't even seal the holes. I went out and bought a cheap mini shop vac, taped the hose over the holes, and left the vacuum running overnight. When I came back to the boat there was no more water seeping out and it was dry. I repaired the holes, and never had another problem.

overbored 04-01-2013 01:46 PM

Re: wet keel
Type of boat? is this a encapsulated keel? fiberglass with lead inside?

Arjen 04-01-2013 02:45 PM

Re: wet keel
Full keel, fiberglass with concrete inside.

Jeff_H 04-01-2013 03:59 PM

Re: wet keel
The answer heavily depends on the boat and its construction. A lot of boats, if not the majority of boats with encapsulated keels have large voids between the encapsulation envelope and the ballast. If the ballast is lead, and the void pretty small, its no big deal.

But with iron, or worse yet,with a mix of iron and concrete, it is very important to get it as dry and sealed as possible, since rust will pry the keel apart over time. In that situation it is hard to say whether this has resulted in a structural weakening of your boat. The connection between the ballast and the envelope is often a critical part of the structure, and when the ballast is iron and matrix, once that bond is destroyed, it really cannot be properly repaired without incurring a major expense.

The other issue is that a boat with an encapsulated keel, can drive the ballast up into the bilge membrane in a hard grounding which allows water to get into the ballast from above, or a small hole in the encapsulation membrane to cause the boat to leak.

The other issue is that there can often be moisture trapped in the glass itself. In that case there is no easy way to dry out the encapsulation envelope and any water saturated glass should be cut away and replaced.

I have heard of people using heat lamps and building tents with de-humidifiers in them, rigging up 'vaccum bags' and sucking as much air through the cavity as possible and so on. But none of these are especially quick if the plan is to do a permanant fix. My sense is that you should be able to drain the encapsultation as best you can. Then repair the majority of the holes by leaving a small hole at the top an several small holes at the bottom so it can continue to drain. Then make seal the holes with 'underwater setting epoxy' and glass over the plugs until you can make a permanent repair.

But the difficulty of making a proper repair are in part the reason, that I would never buy a boat with an encapsulated keel.


pauloman 04-01-2013 07:08 PM

Re: wet keel
there are kevlar (tm) reinforced epoxy putties that will bond to wet or damp surfaces that have saved sinking boats, leaking swimming pools etc. but they cannot be shipped out of the US.....

TQA 04-02-2013 03:59 PM

Re: wet keel

Originally Posted by pauloman (Post 1010863)
there are kevlar (tm) reinforced epoxy putties that will bond to wet or damp surfaces that have saved sinking boats, leaking swimming pools etc. but they cannot be shipped out of the US.....

But Loctite Fixmaster is easily available and sticks when wet and cures when wet.

Which reminds me I need to look at the expiry date on mine.

tommays 04-02-2013 05:48 PM

Re: wet keel
Does it freeze in your area of the Netherlands because if it does it becomes pretty important to get out all the water ?

Arjen 04-02-2013 06:21 PM

Re: wet keel
Im in Guatemala. Thanx for the tips. Considering it all, i decided to take a grinder, remove all or most of the wet fibreglass and just replace it with new fibreglass.

Those issues with iron in the concrete rusting and water leaking in the ballast from above i am not gonna think about. And when i dont think about them, they will not be there because our thoughts create our reality. Or something... I hope.

harmonysimone 04-02-2013 06:44 PM

Re: wet keel
2 Attachment(s)
Hey there,
It sounds like you already figured it out, but I'll chime in anyway in case someone finds this info helpful. We have an encapsulated keep with wood and lead and we had a "keel smile" from a previous grounding. Water had clearly penetrated the wood at the front of our keel, but we weren't sure how far back it went. Everyone told us to wait as long as possible...but unfortunately we couldn't afford to wait longer than two weeks (because in addition to waiting for it to dry, the repair itself can take a week or two).

As mentioned in a previous post after grinding back the front of the keel we got some tough plastic, duck-taped it around the repair spot and hooked it up to a wet-vac. We let the wet vac run nearly every day for four days (the engine on your vacuum may burn out, luckily ours didn't). Since we had wet wood we also sprayed the area with alcohol to expedite the drying process and put screen between the wood and the plastic so that the water wouldn't get trapped. I highly recommend using a vacuum, we were amazed at how much water came out once we had a good seal.

I think I uploaded pics, but I really don't know how that works.

Best of luck to you!

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