Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Can a keel stub and stringers be repaired (hypothetical)
Repairing a boat that has had that kind of damage is a big job, but it is very much a doable one. If done properly, you may even end up with a better boat at the end of the day. A good friend of mine ended up on the beach at St. Augustine with his keel torn away and rudder damaged. He took the opportunity to modernize his keel, beef up the connections and design a more efficient rudder.
In my case, under a prior owner, the tip of my boat's keel hit a rock ledge, which according to the surveyor who handled this for the insurance company, the collision occurred going well over 8 knots and the boat was stopped dead. The impact crushed a badly constructed portion of the aft end of the keel stub. (According to legend, my boat came to the US smuggling diamonds from South Africa in a hollow in the trailing edge of her keel stub and the trailing edge portion of the keel that was damaged was this hollow.)
According to the surveyor who oversaw the repairs, and the photos from the yard who made the repairs, the repairs were very extensive. In Synergy's case, the ballast keel was unbolted and removed, some transverse frames and longitudinal stringers were cut out. The entire bilge was sounded for hollows and or delamination. None was found. The crushed hollow at the trailing edge of the keel stub was cut away and built back as solid glass. The entire bilge received an additional layer of glass, and then new, beefed up, solid sections of the transverse and longitudinal framing were constructed lapping onto the remaining frames. Additional tabbing was added to bulkheads near the damage. Bigger, thicker backing plates added to the keel bolts. It was a big job.
Now then, the good news was that Synergy did not take on any water and so nothing else was damaged. There were no liners to cut away in this portion of the boat, and the boat is designed so that much of interior can be taken apart with screws making this area of the boat more readily accessible. The keel root is comparatively short which helped limit the suspect area perhaps to 6-8 feet. This work was done at a yard with a very strong reputation and located in Maine, and so this kind of high quality repair was probably comparatively affordable and more easily accomplished compared to some other areas of the world. It was done in consulation with the original design office who designed the boat. In other words, I would think this was a pretty ideal case as these things go.
I would think that the worst case would be a boat that has a low market value even in perfect shape, and which has more extensive damage than Synergy, and which took on water or sank and so needs other items like upholstery, electronics, or an engine, located in an expensive labor and hauling fees area of the world. Even worse would be a boat with an encapsulated keel since there would be no good way to make that kind of repair. Such would be the case with many of the Hurricane Sandy boats.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 07-18-2013 at 10:51 AM.