Keel Locking Bolt Problem - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-26-2013
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Question Keel Locking Bolt Problem

I have a Venture 17, which is in pretty good shape, despite being a 1974 model. My wife and I have sailed it a few times, and it's pretty nice, with one exception - I can't quite get the swing keel to lock in place with the locking bolt. The keel winch, although rusted, works fine to lower the keel, but it doesn't seem to get it in place so that I can pass the locking bolt through the hole designed for it. Or, rather, I can pass the bolt through the hole where it's supposed to go, but the hole in the keel isn't lined up correctly.

Basically, what seems to happen is that I lower the keel using the winch, being careful not to let it drop (while the instructions advise you to basically unlock the winch and let it spin, this seems dangerous to me for numerous reasons, so I gently lower it). It goes down, and I've even gotten out of the boat in the water and verified that the keel is down with my feet - which it is. However, when I go to put the keel locking bolt back in place, it doesn't prevent the keel from coming back up if I use the winch to lift it.

I'm not quite sure what could be the problem. I've inspected the keel, and aside from a very small patch of cracking/blistering (less than the width of an index finger, but almost as long), there doesn't seem to be any issues with it. My only guess is that it's somehow getting stuck just before it gets into position where the hole aligns with the keel locking bolt hole in the cabin.

By the way, I've been trying to visually see if it's aligned from within the cabin with a flashlight. Unfortunately, I can't see it very well (and obviously, it would be a bad idea to put my finger in there, as I don't want to lose it).

Any suggestions on what I might be able to try to get it aligned? How dangerous is it to sail with a keel that's not locked in place? I'm only sailing on inland lakes (not the great lakes), so the wind is going to be < 15 knots typically, with waves no higher than 15 or 20 ft at most.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

On my mac Venture 22' the PO had actually pulled the centerboard to refit it and managed to glass over the lock down hole. I had to pull the 500lb thing and re drill it. ie., make sure there is a hole.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

Well, if there wasn't a hole, I wouldn't be able to put the bolt through the hole when the keel was fully down. However, when the keel is fully down (or what appears to be fully down), the bolt will still go through the locking bolt hole. So, I think the problem is that the keel isn't _completely_ down, so the hole isn't lined up.
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Old 08-16-2013
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwir3 View Post
...I can't quite get the swing keel to lock in place with the locking bolt. The keel winch, .... doesn't seem to get it in place so that I can pass the locking bolt through the hole designed for it. Or, ... the hole in the keel isn't lined up correctly.

Going by what you've written here I was perhaps mistaken in believing you could NOT put the bolt through the keel. In which case how do you know there's a hole? In your response you indicate that
"...if there wasn't a hole, I wouldn't be able to put the bolt through the hole"

I thought you were UNable to put the bolt through?

Perhaps I was reading your post wrong. My reference was to having no lockdown hole in the centerboard, not having no hole in the centerboard housing.
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Old 10-06-2013
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

Why lock it? in an unlocked position the swing keel may 'pop up' and not ground you or break something. in locked position you will lock it up somehow.

just curious, as I sail a mac too

fair winds
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Old 10-07-2013
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickMick View Post
Why lock it? in an unlocked position the swing keel may 'pop up' and not ground you or break something. in locked position you will lock it up somehow.

just curious, as I sail a mac too

fair winds
The first thing that pops to my mind is that you lock it when there is likelihood of a knockdown. If she moves toward a turtle the weight when locked acts as counter balance, will assist in righting the vessel. When not locked it can swing back into the hull.
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Old 06-22-2014
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

kwr13, Did you find a solution to your keel locking bolt problem?

I am a new owner of a venture 17 and I have the exact same problem. Today I even rigged a line around the bottom of the keel so that when it was lowered I could pull from the front of the boat. I was unsuccessful in pulling the keel far enough to locate a hole in the keel that would lock it down. I am at a loss at what to do. It looks like I will have to pull the keel out of the boat this next winter to sort it out.
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Old 06-22-2014
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

Sorry, meant Kwir3
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Old 06-27-2014
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

Hi just practicing:

No, I haven't found a solution yet. Basically, what's happening is that when the keel is down, I can put the bolt all the way through the hole in the hull for locking, but then can raise the keel. Thus, its apparently not going through the keel and the hull, just the hull.

I've tried pushing on it with my feet while in the water to try to push it fully down. No joy. I think I'm going to get it on a drydock later this summer to see if I can diagnose the problem further.
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Old 06-27-2014
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Re: Keel Locking Bolt Problem

Just a possibility of what is going on here and I hope that I am wrong. If your boat was left with the keel up for long periods of time in the water, it will wallow out the keel bolt hole. In doing so it prevents the locking hole from lining up. This is how some Mac owners check for the keel without dropping it with some other measurements from the outside to see if the keel is getting worn.

So not to be a doomsayer but this you should check. Put her on a trailer, block up the keel and lower it from the boat. When this hole gets badly out of round (and what you describe is kinda a tell tale), it risks breaking from the boat as it is worn near the edge. This is why leaving one in the water with the keel up CAN be an issue. And before anyone flames me, I keep mine this way as I have no choice, my marina is too shallow. But, I keep an eye close to this issue. Also, it is only kept this way in fresh water.
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