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MedSailor 04-07-2013 01:49 AM

That can't be good..... right?
Today I was in the yard, trying to re-arrange the overly-exotic zinc arrangement I have for all my bronze rudder hinges. The lowest hinge on the hull has a zinc that is drilled into the hull with a wire that goes to the hinge. Today I pulled out the 1/4" stainless fasteners that went through the hull at the bottom of the full keel and some water came out.

That can't be good.....

For reference, we're talking about a full keel boat, where the bottom portion is supposed to be solid, thick glass, with lead (and metal stuff) encapsulated into the keel. The bit that these bolts came out of is supposed to be solid glass and lead, yet a few tsb of water came out when the fasteners came out.

Is it possible that this was just the water trapped along the length of the bolt itself? Or.... by drilling through the gelcoat on the outside, did the previous owner expose non-waterproof fiberglass to water that has now soaked it up? (please excuse my lack of fiberglass knowledge, I'm a recovering wooden boat owner).


paul323 04-07-2013 01:59 AM

Re: That can't be good..... right?
I'm not familiar with the innards of your boat, but many boats with an encapsulated keel also have a "false keel" - this is a void typically behind the lead. Clearly it needs to be filled with something, but filling it with solid epoxy is expensive, so boatyards have been known to fill it with all sorts of low-density high-volume fillers.

Personally I would see if the water continues to drain out. If not, drill an oversize hole, fill with thickened epoxy; then re-drill to the correct size, and don't worry about it.

If water continues to leak out, you may need to remove some of the glass around the hole to expose the saturated area. This happened with me; the fiberglass "skin" had actually "rotted", and a 3'x3' area had to be removed to expose the core and allow it to dry out, then refill and refinish. If you are on the hard, this is not so intimidating as it appears, as fiberglass is a lot easier in many ways to work with than wood, in that the new epoxy chemically bonds to the old, leaving the repair as strong as the original (I hope).

It'll be interesting to see what others think....

SkywalkerII 04-07-2013 08:33 AM

Re: That can't be good..... right?
I agree with Paul. Over drill to get some more information.

I would over drill the size anyway so I could fill it with thickened epoxy and make a new hole. It will be stronger and water tight.

Good luck.


bljones 04-07-2013 11:08 AM

Re: That can't be good..... right?
Skywalker, nail on head, has hit. Force not enough to intrusion find. Drill and fill, one must.

P424 04-07-2013 12:36 PM

Re: That can't be good..... right?
I had an issue with a boat that had a crack near the front of the keel. every time it was pulled and set on stands water would come from that spot. Turns out the keel had water in it around the ballast.. There was a hole inside the boat down in the keel area behind the ballast. The damage from the outside had let water in and the hole inside was small and so low in the bilge it went unnoticed. Well It had to be drained and patched. Water leaked out for months till I used a Shop -vac and sucked out a bunch. Epoxy wont set up when water is present unless it was made to be used in water. . My question to you would be why wasnt the zinc screwed directly to the hinge ?

MedSailor 04-07-2013 12:43 PM

Re: That can't be good..... right?

Originally Posted by P424 (Post 1013282)
. My question to you would be why wasnt the zinc screwed directly to the hinge ?

Don't know, but that's today's project. ;)


jrd22 04-07-2013 01:56 PM

Re: That can't be good..... right?
Med- I'd drill a small hole in the bottom of the keel directly under the hinge to see if more water comes out. If it does then there must be a void in that area. You might be able to figure it out by tapping with a small hammer to determine the size and then drill holes and fill with epoxy, at least that's what I've done on rudders that had water in them. Good luck, wet day to be working under the boat.

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