Can a keel stub and stringers be repaired (hypothetical) - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction
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  #1  
Old 07-18-2013
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Can a keel stub and stringers be repaired (hypothetical)

Say you had a boat you loved or found a new love. This new love was damaged and "totaled" (hypothetical) I'd never consider such a task; yet I read about boats on the wooden boat forum where they do restore boats doing the same things.

There she is.. on her side.. keel ripped from her bottom. the stub all torn out and the stringers flexed and damaged.

You look, and you think.. and think... You want to save her! You have a brain storm and develop a plan and confidently announce "I CAN DO THIS!"

As your friends, family, yard owner.. slowly back away from you.. the creative wheels start spinning in that marvelous mushroom between your ears.....

Getting things under way;
The yard lifted the boat without keel but you had to build the support system. The keel is set up on a trailer/dolly to roll back under when your ready. But the bolts are gone, twisted, etc.

"They" come by occasionally. Each time you explain your progress and how and why your doing certain things. They kindly listen and nod and look.. don't say much as you explain you plan to make the old girl seaworthy again......

Sawzall in hand.. you start cutting....
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Can a keel stub and stringers be repaired (hypothetical)

Denise,

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.

Jeff
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Can a keel stub and stringers be repaired (hypothetical)

thanks Jeff.. almost a romantic story of your boat there. There may still be some diamonds in there!

Oh, I know to save a glass boat is not like saving history. Why I'm making a hypothetical discussion. One never knows the ideas and creative solutions could someday help someone that had a problem like a grounding.

Did you see Hemingway's Boat on the cover of Wooden Boat Mag?
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Re: Can a keel stub and stringers be repaired (hypothetical)

Everyone says that about diamonds perhaps still being there. The yard was explicit that they cut away this 'half-arse built hollow spot and built it back solid'. There is no there there anymore.

Yes, I did see the article about 'Pilar'. That was an interesting article in a lot of ways. I thought the most interesting part was the discussion of the curatorial thought process, and careful stewardship practices on the original Pilar that was paid for by the Cuban government.

I thought that the Hollywood stage set version was far less convincing than would be suggested by the way that the article author seemed to gush on about.

Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 07-18-2013 at 11:39 AM.
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