I28 Keel Bolts - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 23 Old 12-07-2018
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

The second pic looks like there is meat missing from the bolt. When a steel part has serious surface corrosion, it actually gets bigger as the oxygen molecules are added. When stuff is missing, it's beyond surface corrosion.

Does the boat have a lead or iron keel? If lead, as an above post indicates, the keel needs to be dropped and the current studs removed and that can be expensive, even just sistering in new ones.

If an iron keel, you should be able to pull one out, from inside the boat, to have a look. I've done a complete replacement of iron keel bolts. It's a bear.


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post #12 of 23 Old 12-07-2018
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

It will help if the OP will provide some personal info. A good start is a sig line with location and type of boat.

As for a keel drop, we did that in about 2004 as preventative maintenance. Not too expensive (under 2K) given the value of our boat. We did find that the interface needed to cleaned up, solvent washed, and new sealant installed. We started out with one minor seepage in one keel bolt, and since then the bilge has remained bone dry. (Except for some winter rain water running down the inside of the mast, anyhow.)

Note that the designer usually does not have total control over all of the procedures used in constructing a production boat. He/she can demand some things and lobby for others, but factories and their production nabobs will have the final say over details that may be increasingly important 40 years later, but not significant for the first decade.

IMHO, an external keel should be re-bedded about about 20 or 25 years. It's just part of the PM on an aging hull. Like replacing old standing rigging or rebuilding an aux. engine, you set aside some reserve $ for it every season.
The Islander 28 was a great design, and IMO deserves to be cared for and preserved... and sailed.
But that is just one opinion.

We have an extensive thread about re-bedding lead keels over on the Ericson owners' site and if interested I can summon up a link for you. Any competent yard should be able to do this job, FWIW.

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post #13 of 23 Old 12-08-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

Everyone wants Bob to chime in of course and lets all take this opportunity to thank him from the bottom of our hearts for his excellent design. My boat had his big lead block in the bilge getting in the way of inspecting the keel bolts. Do you think this is necessary for good handling or should I give this lead away to some artisan. And more importantly, would you sail this boat until it gets repaired in a month or so?
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Last edited by captnseth; 12-08-2018 at 12:57 AM.
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post #14 of 23 Old 12-08-2018
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

Not following what you mean by big lead block in the bilge, but the pics are getting worse and worse.

I'm certain I would not take that out in challenging conditions, cold water, or in anything I didn't think I would survive the potential failure. If my read of your pics is right, the metal has decayed away.

Does the removed bilge pump in your last pic suggest that it lives with the keel bolts and they are constantly wet? If your keel bolts are stainless steel, that could explain the problem. Stainless can not remain wet, or it will ironically corrode faster than milled or galvanized steel. Some stainless steel keel bolts are encased in epoxy to try to prevent this. However, you never really know if water has entered a crack in the epoxy. Way more dangerous is when water enters the joint between the hull and the keel, below the water line. It's under pressure and, if it finds it's way to stainless keel bolts, they will corrode quickly.

It's a bit of a controversy. A lead keel and stainless bolts can last for many decades, if kept dry. Stainless doesn't marry well with an iron keel, due to the slight potential for galvanic corrosion, but it is done. Stainless is weaker than galvanized. While galvanized is stronger and, when threaded into an iron keel has no galvanic issues and can more easily be serviced. On the other hand, it may need more frequent servicing too.

I hope you get your issues resolved with as little pain as possible. Which is it... lead or iron, with stainless or galvanized bolts?


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post #15 of 23 Old 12-08-2018
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

Islander 28 has a Lead keel and alloy steel bolts. he has additional lead blocks placed on top of the keel to add ballast. for either a repower or the removal of the engine and outboard added to balance the waterline.
It is the part of the keel bolt that you can't see unless you remove the keel that is the worry.
Time to drop the keel and check
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post #16 of 23 Old 12-08-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

Sorry for the bad photo. I was dog tired after removing the 1st ballast block I just took a shot to show the block, not the keel bolts. Now after playing boat jenga I have removed both blocks and cleaned it up more or less well enough to see what is going on. I figured all the other bolts would be the same as the one I saw which is more or less true until I saw this which gave me pause. See the overlapping washers! Even I can tell this is bad. So I am putting this on the hard hopefully in the next 2 weeks. Both the boat yard and the independent guy that does this would replace with longer than 10" stainless tapped into the lead and encased in epoxy. I don't know where I come down on crevice corrosion but I think it is probably not a good idea to try and tell the people doing the work how to do it, am I wrong?

I still have questions. On the ballast front, should I put it back? I really don't want to, I already took about 75 lbs of old batteries out of the stern, shouldn't I be able to adjust this out in other ways? How? How can I tell and what are the consequences of doing it wrong?

On the 'can I sail this until I put it on the hard' question, please take a new look at the cleaned up bolts:

I just want to day sail a bit until I can put it up. Safe or unsafe?

Last question, see the large diameter electrical wire attached to one of the bolts, I assume this is lightning protection, but is goes nowhere, should it run to a chain plate?
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post #17 of 23 Old 12-08-2018
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

Sorry, this is not safe.

I see steel bolts and if I am correct some stainless steel (not a good mix) washers and nuts. I also see three strips of FRP that appear non-original. My bet ... Someone has been trying to patch this up for some time and accomplished nothing more than a coverup job.

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post #18 of 23 Old 12-08-2018
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

You know that no one can tell you that's safe. How would anyone know. Sailing it is a gamble.

Those pics don't look like there is any thread left above the nut. It may be impossible to get the nuts off and you could find yourself sawing the keel off from the joint. Messy, if that's necessary. Hope not.

There is really no question on where to come down on stainless steel. If you can keep it dry all the times, it's fine. Stainless in lead is most common. However, if water gets to it, via the keel joint, it will corrode quickly. The question is how secure your keel joint is. From the looks of the studs in the bilge, I would believe anything.

Good luck sorting this out. Seems a mess, unfortunately.


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post #19 of 23 Old 12-10-2018
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

Bob Perry offers used boat consultation service for $500. His website states, "That gives you one year's e-mail support with a couple of phone conversations thrown in." Getting the dope from the horse's mouth has to be worth half a boat buck.
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post #20 of 23 Old 05-05-2019
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Re: I28 Keel Bolts

I saw a couple of guys here in Victoria BC sister in some new keel bolts in a 27' Catalina, definitely a big project and the boat was out of the water on the guys lawn. They drilled long holes down inside the keel from inside the boat, and also cut little windows/cubes out of the lead keel from the outside, so they could add some fittings at the bottom to achieve something like the L-shape. Interesting comment about lead being too plastic for lag bolts to effectively hold that much weight / withstand that much torsional force.

I'm curious about the use of cosmoline or beeswax over top of stainless steel nuts and bolts. I had a very grumpy underwater welder tell me very curtly once that 'stainless needs to breathe' so coating it would make it less effective. Does anyone here know how to explain that in more detail? I find that most engineering and chemistry topics can be situational and nuanced, and that one simple rule doesn't always hold true (even though it can be a good starting point). Is it possible that cosmoline or beeswax are permeable enough, or that there is enough of a microscopic layer of oxygene under them to keep the chemistry of the stainless working? Thanks for any additional insights!

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