Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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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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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.