O'day 302 lost keel - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 54 Old 06-29-2009 Thread Starter
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O'day 302 lost keel

One of our club members lost his boat this weekend. Fortunately it happened right in front of the club, and someone saw the boat go over. Myself and two others raced out in one of our pontoon boats and pulled 4 people out of the water. No one was hurt.

Here's what happened as far as I know. I haven't examined the boat, and likely never will be able to.

A father and his 3 adult sons went out for a sail on a beautiful Saturday. Winds were 10-15 mph. They were sailing about 100 yards off the east shore, across from our club, about a mile across the lake, and it was just before dusk. The boat started taking on water. The water ingress was slow at first, and the crew assumed that they had lost a hose for the head. One of the crew went below, threw the 3 life jackets that were already laying out up into the cockpit, and started bailing with a bucket. The engine was started and the crew turned into the wind to drop the sails. The water started coming faster, and the situation was looking bad. Then the boat shuddered a bit, and the water started coming in like a geyser. The sails were still up, and the boat was knocked over almost immediately. The crew who was below swam out of the companionway and grabbed a floating life jacket. One of the crew grabbed the horseshoe. I had just pulled my dinner off the grill when someone yelled that a keelboat just went over. I saw the entire bottom of the boat, but it took a bit for me to react. I guess I wasn't really sure I was seeing what I was seeing. The engine started smoking badly, which was my first clue that this was a really bad situation. Someone called 911, someone else got on the vhf to the coast guard, and 3 of us headed for the docks. When we arrived on the scene 5-10 minutes after the boat went over, most of the boat was underwater. The mast is in the mud, and there is a small amount of air trapped in the hull keeping it afloat just breaking the surface of the water. According to one of the crew, there is a large hole (4-6 inches) torn in the hull at the back of the keel joint. My guess is that the boat had corroded keel bolts. The aft bolt was likely the only one in relatively good condition. When the forward bolts let go, the aft bolt took a piece of the boat with it as the keel came off.

This morning one of our club members tied a couple of white plastic barrels to the wreck. There was a lot of traffic on the lake today, there was no sense in having to do another rescue.


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post #2 of 54 Old 06-29-2009
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Holy *#^#^!!! Glad everybody was okay in the end. Sounds like some good thinking by all on shore and a good move as well tying the buckets to warn of the hazard.

I had a wooden boat once with a poorly supported keel (design flaw) and this story makes me shudder! As you might expect I now have an overbuilt (heavy) encapsulated fiberglass keel on my new boat.

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post #3 of 54 Old 06-29-2009
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Denby—

Better check your keelbolts.

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post #4 of 54 Old 06-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Denby—

Better check your keelbolts.
I do a visual a couple times a year.

Dennis
O'Day 302

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Be careful or i will do what the voices tell me to do
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Hey stuffit "Get a life"
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I wonder what the cause of the keel failure was??

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post #6 of 54 Old 06-29-2009
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Apparently, there is a design weakness with the 3 digit series of O'days, at least the larger boats like the 302 and 322. This in not the first one to have lost its keel, and where there is smoke there is fire. There are lots of boats with a very similar design in the same age range and their keels are not comming off, so its not just an age related thing. I owned an O'day 322 and if I still had it, I think I'd be considering dropping the keel to at least inspect and likely to replace the bolts and having a backing plate designed to fit in the bilge to spread the load over a wider area. I am a bay sailor, but the bay is nearly 25 miles wide where I sail and loosing your keel in the middle of a crossing would be a very dangerous situation, especially if you weren't buddy boating with someone.

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post #7 of 54 Old 06-29-2009 Thread Starter
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The really fortunate part of this sinking was it's timing. The boat sank on Saturday, and the 4 men who came out of the water said that some of their wives and children were supposed to come sailing Sunday. That would have put at least 4 more people in the water, including small children. Since the crewman who went below could only find 3 life jackets (there were more but he didn't know where to look), it could have been ugly.


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post #8 of 54 Old 06-29-2009
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glad no one got hurt! But this news doesn't help me feel better about my "encapsulated" keel that doesn't have bolts (at least not that I know of) Even though it seems very very solid.

Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #9 of 54 Old 06-29-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denby View Post
I do a visual a couple times a year.
Visual of what? I would put a torque wrench on them to see if they hold torque or break off.

When I was rebuilding my boat, I checked my keelbolts with a torque wrench. Since there are little to no specs available for my boat, I guessed on the torque based on the bolt size. I figured they could easily hold 150 pounds, so I set the torque wrench at 120. None of them moved.


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Originally Posted by US27inKS View Post
Visual of what? I would put a torque wrench on them to see if they hold torque or break off.

When I was rebuilding my boat, I checked my keelbolts with a torque wrench. Since there are little to no specs available for my boat, I guessed on the torque based on the bolt size. I figured they could easily hold 150 pounds, so I set the torque wrench at 120. None of them moved.
Haven't done a torque test but I check the bolts and nuts for any sign of corrosion and when the boat is on the slings checking the keel to hull joint.

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O'Day 302

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