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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Encapsulated or Bolt On Keel?
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Thread: Encapsulated or Bolt On Keel? Reply to Thread

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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-19-2011 09:20 AM
deniseO30 Where is this place with all these damaged keels??
06-19-2011 06:45 AM
Better Keel

Thanks for your insights. I'm getting quotes from local yard. They had three boats in for similar keel damage. Cost of a something more than a depth sounder might be a good investment too.
06-18-2011 05:27 PM
Frogwatch My S2 has an encapsulated keel and I love it. My philosophy is that unless I go aground at least once every time I go sailing then I am not trying hard enough to explore, of course it is all oyster bars too and not rock. However, I have hit a couple of things very hard including en engine block and a whole truck (after the storm of '93) and my keel is fine whereas a bolt-on keel would have been very suspect afterwards.
On bolt on keel, much of the strength is in those keel bolts, whack em a few times and fatigue cracking starts, scares me just to think about it. On an encapsulated keel, the tensile strength of the glass holding everything on is probably an order of magnitude higher than the keel bolts of an external keel and does not fatigue crack as do the bolts.
Even if I were to make a jagged hole in the fiberglass, it would be easy to repair using epoxy from the outside and I know I could do it myself. Fixing suspect keel bolts? Not something I'd want to do.
Think about grounding on sand with both types of keel. How many SMALL waves would it take pounding your boat on the sand for your external keel to make its strength suspect and require she be hauled for inspection? Do the same on an internal keel and nothing happens. External keel failures in-use kill people whereas encapsulated keels after an impact might fail slowly if at all and the boat would probably only show increased leakage at the dock.
I feel that the encapsulated keel is much safer. In fact, I would not even consider an older boat with an external keel.
06-18-2011 02:14 PM
WDS123 Great !
06-17-2011 07:57 AM

You are correct. Just had a pro take a look; did not see any other structural strain indications. Looks like cutting back damaged glass and foam then laying up filler and epoxy and glass to original shape and barrier coat.
06-10-2011 08:05 AM
JimsCAL Don't disagree WDShock. Hence my caveat about a careful inspection. We have no information about how this happened. With just foam with glass cover, it may have been caused by a relatively minor impact that wouldn't cause structrual damage at the lead keel attacement. And the soft foam could act as an energy absorber, deforming and not tranferring the load into the keel structure. Again, all speculation based on minimal information.
06-09-2011 09:58 PM
WDS123 Jim,

highly likely his structural grid is damaged after absorbing such an impact. I am going to speculate that there are going to be some cracks at the trailing edge of the keel - hull interface.

Agreed he could just cut away the damaged and water soaked jacket around the lead, but how is he going to inspect the grid ?
06-09-2011 08:17 AM
JimsCAL Based on your comment that pink material is very light, and assuming a careful inspection reveals no other structural damage, I would proceed as you suggest. Some glass cloth will be necessary to secure the foam to the keel. Epoxy is more expensive than polyester resin, but stronger and bonds much better. That would be my choice.
06-08-2011 09:41 PM
WDS123 From the limited amount of information in the photo ( no MFG info, no boat info ) I'd suggest contacting the original MFG and ask them how much a complete replacement keel shipped to your yard will cost.

Quadruple that figure and you will have a ballpark idea of the cost of repairs.


I have to strongly disagree with the poster who presented the case that a encapsulated keel is weaker or cheaper or slower than a solid lead keel.

the keel bolts are the same ( or should be ) with a solid lead or encapsulated keel.

The encapsulated keel will tend to have a more refined surface finish than solid lead, unless the solid lead is obsessively faired every couple of years.

The encapsulated keel is much more difficult and labor intensive to build than a solid lead keel. A solid lead keel is just cast and then bolted on. The encapsulated keel is a finished composite part.

I have no idea how the poster imagines it is difficult to create a well crafted laminate in the encapsulated keel, typically they are 2 part molds ( similar to rudders ) that are laminated before being joined.

In my experience encapsulated keels are. Far superior system than a cast solid keel
06-08-2011 03:27 PM
Then what?

Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post

So, having owned a Pearson Vanguard that had an encapulated keel that hit a rock at not a terribly high speed and had the encapulation readily crush, driving the aft end of the ballast through the comparatively weak membrane above the ballast and dislocating the water tank. And after trying fruitlessly to get a decent repair and never being able to get a bond between the ballast and the encapsulation shell, I can readily assure you that a lot worse can happen than,"The worst that can happen to a internally ballasted boat is that a little water gets into the ballast area." You can end up with a boat that cannot be repaired.

What do you do with a boat that cannot be repaired? Do you end up having to pay to have it disposed of somewhere? Tow it offshore and sink it? Any kind of an insurance claim?
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