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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 08-21-2008
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Effect of grounding.

I recently looked at a boat - the brand will not be known but it is similar in hull shape to the Wauquiez 35. Fractional rig etc Jeff would be pleased though my inclination would be more conservative - Baba type given one I would mostly be solo, and two going anywhere substantial would involve a gale or two.

This boat broke off its mooring and came to rest against a wharf during a prolonged severe storm. Presumably some intervention was made and fenders rigged as there was little damage to the topsides.

However the boat draws 6' and there was 3' of water at low tide the bottom being mud. The tidal range is about 11', plus no doubt the effect of wave action. So for at least 4 hours possibly three times as much not counting the waves this thing was bottoming.
It has a spade rudder and fin keel. Damage to the keel was cracking along the fairing at the join to the hull. Part appeared to have been ground out at the yard pending repair showing pink glass not just fairing to my mind.

The keel attachment seemed a bit unusual to my mind although my knowledge is limited.
On top of the keel below the boat was something like 4x4" wood. On the inside there were floors running across about 18" apart. Between these the keel bolts were attached to blocks of wood say 8 x 4"x 2" thick. The bolts and washers had been replaced recently. The structure is foam cored but apparently not in the keel area.

The insurance assessor and boatyard reported no other apparent damage except to the fairing but would not guarantee the repair seemingly of the fairing. The owner planned to insert additional floors and extend the keel boats through them. There appeared no damage to the rudder although I did not check it closely apart from externally and for movement.

My question then is, is there likely to be more damage and how would you know and is that type of repair adequate strengthening?

On a different line it has an open transom and sugar scoop. Normally I would rule this out being inclined to belt and braces, however would washboards with some form of drainage built in be just as secure?
Thanks.
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Old 08-21-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_gee View Post
Damage to the keel was cracking along the fairing at the join to the hull.
i don't like this; in this kind of accidents the keel damage is common; there can be a lot of damage or a just bit

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris_gee View Post
My question then is, is there likely to be more damage and how would you know and is that type of repair adequate strengthening?
yes, there can be also rudder, propeller, shaft damage and of course hull cracking. it is repairable but keel damage is like a car that was repaired after an accident -> it will drive but it will not be the same anymore; u would know with water on the floor in the cabin and/ or the boat sinking to the bottom; the boat must be brought in a dry dock in order to check the damage!
the rudder can be checked by moving it up/ down, left/ right (port/ starboard) and forward/ back -> of course no noises nor air

Last edited by Karletto; 08-21-2008 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 08-21-2008
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Be aware, that in a grounding like the one you're describing, there can be a lot of unseen damage to the laminate, where the internal structure has been damaged, but mere visual inspection will show it to be fine. That may be what happened in the recent Texas A&M Cape Fear 38 capsize.

If they aren't guaranteeing the repair.... they may suspect that there is more damage. The use of wood in the keel attachment system is highly suspect IMHO. Wood can rot out pretty easily if there is even a small leak.
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Old 08-26-2008
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IMHO stay away

I wouldn't touch that boat
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Old 08-27-2008
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As the damage appears on one side, just trying to think it out, I suspect what was occurring was lateral movement. While this could have been some hull flexing given the actual backing pads don't seem that large. I also wonder about whether it was some flex in the keel bolts themselves. Although these had been replaced relatively recently (mild steel) I wonder not being an engineer if the thousands of small deflections could weaken the steel?
I agree there is a possibility of unknown damage but am unsure how much weight to attach to this. I also suspect the keel attachment design is not the best and might be improved by a plate above the floors, or preferably designed by an expert rather than the owner.
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Old 08-27-2008
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Stainless steel isn't generally going to fatigue very easily, since it has a minimum load requirement for it to start fatiguing... unlike Aluminum, which starts to fatigue under any flexion.
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Old 08-27-2008
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Yes but it is mild steel not stainless.
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Old 08-27-2008
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The last time Paloma (internal ballast keel) was on the hard for a bottom job and new zincs at Southern Yachts near Galveston Bay, a good 80% of the boats in the yard for repairs were good size boats with bolted on keels and spade rudders. The problems were about 60/40 bent rudder posts and separated keels. These were all fairly new, expensive foreign-made boats.
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Last edited by johnshasteen; 08-31-2008 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 08-28-2008
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A sailboat should be able to stand on its keel without structural damage, but (a) you don't know if this boat was designed and built to be this strong, and (b) the storm would have put a lot of dynamic loads on the boat for a lot of cycles that could damage a boat that otherwise could tolerate its weight on the keel.

I wouldn't be too concerned with the strength of the keelbolts. They can be pulled and inspected periodically. Although anyone who would use mild steel bolts was cheaping-out big time on a critically important structural system on the boat. That in itself makes me wonder what other critical corners have been cut to save a buck. Mild steel is going to corrode rapidly, so they might as well be replaced with stainless now, anyway.

It's the fiberglass structure I'd be scared of. Pounding in the storm could very well have caused layers of fiberglass to start delaminating. Once that process starts the damage continues to grow until the keel falls off, without warning, and most likely in conditions unfavorable to your survival.

Delamination occurs inside the fiberglass laminate. The inner and outer surfaces can look fine, while the interior is critically weakened. The only way to tell that things are OK is to grind off all gelcoat and/or paint both inside and outside. Good laminate will be translucent. You mentioned pink, which would be from red coloring in the resin. Delamination shows up as white layers that makes the laminate opaque.

And, if you find this, you need to cut the bottom out of the boat and make a new one.

So that's the risk this boat presents. There could very well be damage in there that would kill you without warning. It'll cost a lot of money to detect that damage, and even more (waaaay more) if you find it to fix it.

The statement that the owner planned to add new floors leads me to ask: Why? Why did he think more structure was necessary? And what the heck is this thing anyway with a wood 4x4 between the hull and keel? I can't imagine a boat leaving a reputable builder like that. Who, exactly, engineered this thing?

There are lots of boats out there. If you really, really love this one so much you're willing to potentially re-engineer and replace the bottom of the hull, then go for it. If you're looking for inexpensive, find a dirty, neglected boat that is fundamentally sound, and invest time cleaning it rather than rebuilding this one.

Good luck,

Tim
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Old 08-29-2008
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Thanks to all for the responses.
I did consider the boat seriously as a possibility and capable of doing what I want, although not what I think best suited to me and my needs. It would have saved the time and money of going to the US.
However I am not in love and felt there were design issues and potential problems so will pass.
A broker told me most people take a quick look at the interior then get a surveyor. I tend to take 3 hours if interested. You sure need your wits about you when buying unless you have more money than sense.
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