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post #1 of 30 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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keel bolts leaking facing reality

Last season, my brother had a fairly serious run-in with a rock on my Tartan 30.
Didn't seem bad at the time, and the keel-hull seam appeared to be fairly tight.
But after launching this year, it is quite apparent things are not so good deep down in the bilge.
What used to be minor weeping is pretty much a steady stream.
The bottom line: the boat takes on about 20-30 gallons a day and the bilge pump kicks in about every 45 minutes.

My plan is to haul it out, loosen the bolts, clean up the surfaces, shoot some Sikaflex in there, retighten the bolts and expoxy and fair the seam.

So, here is my question:

Am I right to haul asap? Or am I being overly concerned. How much water does your boat take on, hard grounding or not? And, do you suspect, as I do, that there are lots of boats out there that are only a pump failure away from sinking?


This forum is loaded with posts on this very issue, leading me to suspect there are many, many boaters out there with tons of water sloshing around the bilge at all times while they get around to fixing it. To me, 20-30 gallons a day is a scary situation. A pump or battery failure could sink the boat pretty quick if it goes undetected. Not to mention other issues like crevice corrosion and structural deterioration. What are your thoughts: How many boats are out there with dark secrets hidden in there bilges?

Thanks.

Joe
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post #2 of 30 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

IMHO, you should haul and DROP THE KEEL ASAP.

Been there, done that;

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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

For more on the topic see this thread; https://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-...-nuisance.html
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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

That's a serious problem. If it were my boat, I'd haul out immediately and get it fixed. Either the bolts or the keel stub have been damaged. To fix it properly, it is likely going to take more than just cleaning up the surfaces and re-tightening the bolts.
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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

Thats a lot of water
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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

Mom always asked, if your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?

Just because lots of stupid people are out there taking crazy risks, does not make it OK.
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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

Always one to answer a question with a question, in this case the answer to whether you need to haul out and do something immediately is the answer to "How long can you tread water?" Serious, when you say there is a lot of water coming in, its not a joke and its not something to take lightly. Worldwide the problem of keels coming off on new and older boats has led to the formation of a special committee at World Sailing, and while the new boats losing keels has garnered most of the attention, at a recent International Yacht Design Symposium that I attended, I talked with someone who was looking into this issue and who basically described failing keel bolts as a ticking time bomb that will impact a lot of older boats with bolt on keels.

As other's have said, tightening bolts is not the answer. You need to drop the keel and deal with this properly.

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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

Thanks for your replies. I hope to get it hauled as soon as I can get the logistics worked out.
I also agree it will probably take more than bolt tightening, and I am prepared for that.
Should be an interesting project, and I will try to get some photos up, but I doubt I will be able to get started for a couple of weeks, at least.
I am really surprised how quickly it went from some minor weeping to major streaming. I'm guessing a long winter of freeze-thaw cycles pushed things over the edge.
In any case, I am glad you guys were here to back up my fears. Last thing I want is to become a headline: 'Man drowns after boat loses keel, sinks; Coast Guard attributes sinking to improper maintenance'.
Joe
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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

Quote:
the bilge pump kicks in about every 45 minutes.
That's about 4" per hour, I'd haul out ASAP and you'll need to drop the keel as suggested, otherwise you are trying to fix an "outside" leak from the "inside" which never seems to work for me.

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Re: keel bolts leaking facing reality

Interesting Sailboats: KEELS FALLING OFF

This is a serious subject and one I take seriously, as are you Joe so this is not directed to you or your situation necessarily. As our Boats get older I wonder how many are in the serious condition category. Some were mine some not. My experience has been;

Drilling into the lead and Installing SS lag bolts on a 25' Annapolis. As with most smaller Boats it's just not worth the expense of this kind of (proper) repair and though not exactly to the point of safety, its just reality.

I had a separation just wide enough on the leading edge to catch a crab pot string. Columbia 8.3, We hauled after sea trials (this was obviously a purchase) and with the weight of the Boat on the keel was able to tighten the nuts and fair the joint and we kept sailing.

On another case the nuts were pretty badly corroded and not prioritized correctly by the surveyor, some were hardly there. They were all replaced and the studs were perfect (what could be seen anyway).

All (none of the) cases of course were not failures BUT were also not fully investigated by dropping the Keel.

These FG Boats are getting pretty old and the Fiberglass will be there long after things such as this rear their ugly heads. I guess as a cautionary tale we all need to be aware going forward because we have lived through (probably) the sweet spot on good used Sailboats not needing these repairs. I have to wonder who has experience dropping a keel and all is OK with no repairs warranted. Surely there are no statistics to look at until it's an investigation.
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