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  #1  
Old 08-23-2010
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Thumbs down Her Back is Broke!

Well... I noticed an attempted repair aft of the keel fin where it attaches to the hull. I lifted the boat to get the weight off the keel. The fin sagged back into place as the weight was lifted. It moved about an inch to two inches vertically. It appears to me that the keel was broken from dropping it or perhaps years of hard groundings etc.



Since a previous owner attempted to repair the cracked fiberglass it appears that it was sailed in this condition. Since we plan to only sail in lakes and in mild water conditions I am not sure how big of an issue this is. It seems big.

My options are to salvage parts and scrap the boat and proceed with the refurb on my 72 MacGregor. Or, spend lots of time and money on a major repair on the SF22. Or, find a happy medium in there somewhere.

I would much rather have the sailing characteristics of the SF22 but I would rather not have the keel snap off and capsize.. Besides the obvious, "you get what you pay for" comments, are there any thoughts out there on how I could proceed? I paid $300 for the boat, trailer and 9.5 outboard and it is my sincere belief that the owner I purchased from did not know about this damage as he never sailed the boat. Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-23-2010
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It that an encapsulated keel? Seems to me you could open the sole (floor) and install a stringer or more, drill down into the keel and install bolts to pull it up?
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Old 08-23-2010
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Seems to me you have a few options:

- Cut your losses. Part out the boat/motor/trailer and maybe even come out ahead.

- Undertake a proper repair. If you are not especially familiar with fibreglass structures or working with 'glass and resins, you will need to get some pro advice or do the research.

I'd say one option that you don't have is to just cobble it up and sail it without doing a proper repair. Inadvisable, in my view.

I know what I'd do. Life is short.
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Old 08-23-2010
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Well, the price was pretty good.. you could probably sell the trailer for about that much and come out even.

For the boat.. man.. there's a lot to deal with. First, you are going to have to dry it out, and that's likely to take months. Some might suggest drilling a number of 1/8"-ish holes through the laminate to speed up the process. I might agree with them, given the amount of fiberglassing you are going to be doing anyway.

Step next is gong to be trying to find out how much water damage has been done. Clearly, the entire bottom is delaminated, as evidenced by the 2" 'sag' you described.

OK, this part is only half tongue-in-cheek. First, get a big sawsall. Maybe a nice chainsaw, even. Insert the saw at about the waterline, and cut horizontally around the boat, following the waterline until you return to the original spot. Remove the bottom half. Then build in a new one.

Of course, that's silly. But you'll be doing most of that same job, only in pieces. You'll grind the fiberglass away from the keel joint.. and not just the front of it. If the whole keel is dropping, then the whole keel is suspect. Then you'll have to replace any rotted coring you find, which will likely be significant.

To replace rotted core, here's the short version: cut/grind/peel the outer laminate layer back until you get to good core. grind out bad core. Replace with good core. That third step is a real pain in areas with compound bends (such as, for instance, keel joints and waterlines). Then fiberglass over the new core. Then barrier coat, then bottom paint. Some would suggest the use of gelcoat in there, between the fiberglass and barrier coat, and there are intelligent arguments both ways on that issue.

Now, there's the keel. Obviously you'll have to figure out where the water got. Most likely, the entire thing is delaminated. Now, maybe you can use some GitRot and then follow with a vaccum-bag resin treatment. But likely, there is a buildup of crud in there that will compromise the resin bond. Which means stripping off the existing glass, cleaning, and reglassing.

Or here's a third option... and probably the one I'd go with:

Just fix that big hole (grind, scarf, reglass). Tighten the keel bolts, maybe reinforce their backing plates on the boat. Put some barrier coat on the glass, and sail until the keel falls off. Sail on 'friendly' days, keep your jacket on, and know that if the keel falls off you'll need to drop sail in a hurry. I know a guy who sailed a long way without a keel. It's not wise, maybe, but it can be done. And it's better than both a) not having a boat while you fix your mac and b) spending three months and 8 grand fixing a $3000 dollar boat.

Oh, and when everything is said and done, sell that trailer for $300 so you can smile about not getting taken on the price
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Old 08-23-2010
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Thanks denise030. The problem is that it flexes inward when weight is on it and relaxes back into place with the boat jacked up and the weight removed from the fin. I think you have the right idea though. Perhaps installing a beefy spar would do the trick? I don't know.

John, thanks for the input. Its just very disappointing. I know what I will probably do but I haven't come to terms with it yet.

CapTim, Thank you for the reality check. Sounds like you've been there, done that. I don't think I want to go there.
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Old 08-23-2010
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Well if you do scrap the boat the Lead would be worth a nice penny.

Stringers, I guess can support the stress up or down if done right. Seems like allot work though.
I would think maybe lifting it enough to see the hull flex back and then reinforce the insides. Major structure is needed to reshape the bottom and secure the keel again. There's a company that makes fiberglass lumber, it's sold by Jamestown distributors. But, if you love the boat...
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Last edited by deniseO30; 08-23-2010 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 08-23-2010
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Sell the trailer. Sell the outboard. Give the boat to someone who wants it as a yard ornament, read idiot.
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Old 08-23-2010
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I'd scrap the boat. Cut the keel off for the lead content (you'll get your $300 back right there and then some), strip any hardware of value off the boat (spars, cushions, interior fittings, etc) and sell those, sell the trailer and outboard and apply the proceeds to your Macgregor.

Even if you repair it to use the boat do you honestly feel you'd be comfortable with the thought of "When will the keel fall off?" always in the back of your mind? If it were me it would ruin my joy on the water wondering "When?" while sailing.

Keels that move that aren't supposed to are never good things. I'd sooner troll the local yards looking for another SF22 hull that has been abandoned, make them an offer and make one good boat out of two than risk the loss of the keel at sea. You assume that even with your jacket on you'll get off safely. What if you're down below and she knocks flat as the keel heads for the bottom? You could easily be trapped or injured below in a hull heading for the bottom. Not to mention any potential costs if you need to remove the wreck afterwards.

Just not worth the risk to me unless you're really handy and feel confident in your repair. I was nervous just replacing keel nuts. Can't imagine doing the keel joint itself.

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Old 08-23-2010
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Ok, The scrapping and salvaging has begun! Rather than sit around stewing and wondering about it I decided to at least start gutting the cabin. I think I will cut out a piece of the sole enough to see what kind of damage there is below.

As I worked this afternoon I kept seeing things that I needed for the MacGregor and came to the conclusion that I really haven't lost a boat but gained about a thousand dollars worth of parts which is really why I went to look at this boat in the first place, parts!

I will continue the salvage on my Seafarer refurbish thread if anyone is interested in watching the tear down. Thanks for all the input folks.
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Old 08-23-2010
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