SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Another Venture 17 keel repair question

Hello fellow sailors! I have a 'new to me' 1972 Venture 17. After a good look at the keel, I need to repair some significant cracks in the fiberglass. It looks like the keel roller on the trailer was a bit low allowing the axle to hit the keel starting the damage. From what I've read, it appears the keel has several pieces of steel welded to a center steel section. Question: is there wood laminated in front (leading edge when the keel is swung down) of the steel? I have read Fix it and Sail along with several on line tutorials as well as West Systems fiberglass boat repair and epoxy data sheets. My thoughts are to keep the keel on edge like it sits under the boat (flipped over actually) to help keep any bow from setting in. Ideally, I'd like to scarf in below the section that enters the keel pocket as it fits well and looks to be in good condition there. Any advice, thoughts, or comments?
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,198 Posts
Its possible that not many people here have worked on a Venture 17 keel. I know I certainly havent.

If you are on Facebook you could try Trailer Sailors and Pocket Yachts FB Group. Its a very active group I am sure you would find Venture 17 owners there. Or I think Macgregor has its own forum too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Its possible that not many people here have worked on a Venture 17 keel. I know I certainly havent.

If you are on Facebook you could try Trailer Sailors and Pocket Yachts FB Group. Its a very active group I am sure you would find Venture 17 owners there. Or I think Macgregor has its own forum too.
HI! Thanks for the reply. I understand on the possibility of not finding anyone that might have undertaken this type of project.

I did join New England Trailer Sailors but ran into a dead end there. I'm not on Facebook but may go through the wife's account to have a look see. It looks like most of the Macgregor talk is about the 26.

I appreciate the input.
 

·
Doesn't sail enough
Joined
·
623 Posts
I had a Siren 17, didn't even realize there was a Venture model the same size which preceded it!

So you're saying the keel structure is lead attached to a steel structure, then the whole thing glassed?

I'd want to know that what's underneath those cracks isn't rusting out and falling to pieces before I just glassed the whole thing up again and called it good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,129 Posts
The Venture has a 1.42 ' shoal draft keel section on the hull with a laminated 4.5' centerboard/swing keel coming out of it that hangs about the same as on the Venture 24 even though the 24 appears to eliminate the shoal keel component that is part of the hull.

In this video by Mr Angus he shows his repair to his Venture 24 centerboard/swing keel. It looks to my eye like there is a 3" to 4" iron or steel bar near to the edges of the centerboard and just fiber reinforced Bondo used to fill and fair it out without any wood so chances are that the 17 is similar.


I would be tempted to treat the metal with Ospho to convert any rust left in the iron/steel into iron phosphate neutralizing it before adding any bondo or fiberglass.

Once you start grinding it should become obvious what needs to be done, just don't stop short and be sure to get past the area where its rusted inside.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I had seen that video searching YouTube and noticed the trailing edge was formed out of filler. There's a few other sites with photos that show wood on the leading and trailing edges wrapped in fiberglass. We'll find out what's in there once I get cracking on the rebuild. I'm currently refinishing the rudder. When I start on the keel, I'll be sure to take photos and post how it's put together for anyone that runs into the same problem down the road. I currently have West 105/205 but probably should get some 206 so that I have a bit of additional work time. If I do need some body filler, I assume vinyl ester is the 'stuff' for underwater use? Of course, over coated in epoxy and gel coat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,129 Posts
Fiber Reinforced Polyester such as Kitty Hair or Duraglass will do with a good barrier coat however if budget allows for it the 3M Reinforced Vinyl Esther might do nicely too especially if you are going to leave the boat on the water however I usually see it used to do repairs over the fiberglass mat and then faired over and not underneath the mat. West 403 or 404 with will also do nicely especially in high stress areas at the pivot bolt, lock pin and cable attachment point.

Don't use a polyester automotive filler that has talc in it.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,007 Posts
There isn't enough information in that photo to really tell what is happening or even what part of the boat you are looking at. The other thing is that Macgregor tended to make changes during production so that there could be pretty big variations in how the centerboard is actually constructed.


If we are actually looking at the centerboard (drop keel), rather than the bilge area of the centerboard trunk, then my first suggestion is to grind away any areas of loose or cracked glass until you get to either solid glass or the core of the centerboard. At that point take pictures so that we can evaluate the conditions that you have discovered.

Depending on what you find, the next steps would be:
1. If there is steel and it is intact, neutralize any rust
2. If there is wood, and it has rot, replace the wood as necessary
3. If you have ground down through the laminate (f.g. reinforced portion of the skin on the board) then clean up and grind the sides and edges of the centerboard roughly fair, and glass over them with several layers of cloth and resin. I personally would favor epoxy for its better adhesion, ductility, hardness and minimal imperviousness. But epoxy is more expensive and harder to work with than something like Vinylester resin, so if epoxy is not an option then I would use vinylester resin. I would not use polyester. For reinforcing I would use a mix of biaxial and heavier conventional F.G. fabric.
4, Once you had perhaps 2 to 4 layers of cloth, I would fair with either thickened epoxy (I would recommend MAS epoxy or a non-amine blush version of West System if you use epoxy) or with thickened vinylester. My pet trick for fairing is to use a notched trowel (squeegee with notches) and to apply the thickened resin so that the grooves from the trowel leave distinct and comparative straight lines the long dimension of the item that I am fairing. The raised portions are easier to grind to a fair shape. (Use a batten or make a template to check fairness). Once fair it is easy to fill the grooves flush with the tops of the now faired raised portions of the filler. Once sanded fair again I would put on a coat or two of epoxy or vinylester resin (depending on which you used for the project) to seal any open pores in the filler. And finally sand the surface smooth and apply a barrier coat either of epoxy, vinylester or a product like Interprotect or Petit protect which also make great primers if you intend to put bottom paint on.

The above are sort of the worst case procedures, but also the ones that you are most likely to encounter. MacGregor who built the Ventures closed their doors back in 2015, and the successor company, Tatooyachts appears to have closed as well so I don't think that you can buy a replacement board.

Jeff
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,129 Posts
Blue Water Yachts still has a few of the swing keels left:
https://boatgelcoat.com/product/keel-swing-2/

They are about 80 lbs and the same swing keel was used on about 11 different models from 1968 through 1987 - Macgregor 21, Macgregor 22, Macgregor 25, Venture 17, Venture 21, Venture 22/224, Venture 23, Venture 24/224, Venture 25. $695 but still available in limited supply today. They also have all the pivot, lock bolt, cable tubes, etc for that boat along with a number of other parts specific to the Macgregors.

Looking more closely at picture of the Swing Keel sitting in the cradle it appears the damage goes all the way from front to back so you may even have to replace some of the steel inside and do some welding. It may be time to bite the bullet and buy a new one while its still available. The poly vinyl filler is almost $150 a gallon depending on where you can buy it and your going to need a lot of it to deal with that much damage so really price out what it will cost you to repair it yourself compared to buying a fresh new clean one. You may find that with filler, resin, fiberglass mat, steel, Ospho, fairing compound, etc you may end up halfway to the cost of replacing it.

Get into it quickly before the last few replacements are sold and that option is no longer available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies. I actually have Evercoat reinforced fiberglass filler on hand but was concerned that it might absorb water even after applying epoxy and gel coat over it. Here's an overall view of the keel out of the boat. The cracks are hidden in the photo as they are in front (to the right in the photo) of the wood uprights.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Here's the crack on the port side (facing the wall in the overview photo above). Again the crack is in front of the uprights.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
And here's The starboard side. The crack goes up and over back to the port side. All of this appears to have started when the keel was hit by the trailer axle (previous owner damage)
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Damage from the axle. It's located about 1/2 front to back along the underside in the overview photo. You can't see it as it faces toward the floor.

Yes, that's a hole. It 'feels like' plywood in there.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,382 Posts
Doesn’t look like the axle did the damage—more like someone hit a rock. The hidden damage could be substantial. Maybe it’s time to check out a new swing keel before opening what could be a can of worms.

BTW, Bondo is not an acceptable material for underwater use. I ran into a keel ding repaired with Bondo by the PO of a boat I had many years ago. It had absorbed water and was not a viable patch—and that was not a structural repair; just a filler for missing fiberglass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,129 Posts
Doesn’t look like the axle did the damage—more like someone hit a rock. The hidden damage could be substantial. Maybe it’s time to check out a new swing keel before opening what could be a can of worms.

BTW, Bondo is not an acceptable material for underwater use. I ran into a keel ding repaired with Bondo by the PO of a boat I had many years ago. It had absorbed water and was not a viable patch—and that was not a structural repair; just a filler for missing fiberglass.
Ditto on the Automotive/Home Store Bondo as it has talcum powder in it and not polyester or glass.

Talc is a soft clay that absorbs water and should not be used on boats except inside your gloves and such to prevent chafing. Talc definitely should not be used to build up structure below the water line yet some builders have even used shredded/chopped/ground up rags in their chopper guns instead of glass when they build their hulls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Ok. So Evercoat fiberglass reinforced filler in a no go even though it claims to be waterproof. I'll stay with strictly marine grade stuff that's noted as being below waterline usable. I appreciate all of the input.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,129 Posts
Ok. So Evercoat fiberglass reinforced filler in a no go even though it claims to be waterproof. I'll stay with strictly marine grade stuff that's noted as being below waterline usable. I appreciate all of the input.
Their Marine Grade products are good however you'd have to double check about which to use below the water line.
Marine

With the extent of your damage though get into it quickly while you still have the option of buying a replacement. Before cutting into the old one you may want to scribe some of its contours on cardboard or even make a plaster mold of a section of it. Be sure to record critical measurements on length, etc too in case you need to cut out and replace rotted steel by welding in new sections.

You mention not laying it on its side due to bowing concerns. If its bowing then its more likely that the steel/structure has been compromised to a degree. I have not seen many centerboards that would bow sideways under their own weight yet that did not need replacement in my limited experience which is mostly on 12 to 25 foot boats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Their Marine Grade products are good however you'd have to double check about which to use below the water line.
Marine

With the extent of your damage though get into it quickly while you still have the option of buying a replacement. Before cutting into the old one you may want to scribe some of its contours on cardboard or even make a plaster mold of a section of it. Be sure to record critical measurements on length, etc too in case you need to cut out and replace rotted steel by welding in new sections.

You mention not laying it on its side due to bowing concerns. If its bowing then its more likely that the steel/structure has been compromised to a degree. I have not seen many centerboards that would bow sideways under their own weight yet that did not need replacement in my limited experience which is mostly on 12 to 25 foot boats.

Both the Everglass and Kitty hair claim to be waterproof and are in the marine catalog. I definitely will take careful measurements and a profile before I start. Not only does it have to fit correctly but it also needs proper hydrofoil shape. The warping concern is just my Engineering background getting the best of me. Finding a good replacement keel that doesn't require shipping has been a challenge to say the least. I am watching expenditures to keep from dumping huge amounts of cash into it. Therefore I'll work with what I have. Doing the actual work isn't a huge challenge for me; I just need to have a clear plan drawn up first.

Thanks again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
After searching the Internet and calling BWY, a replacement keel is unavailable. So surgery started. As expected, the wood fillers were completely rotted and the steel bar has significant scale. I cut one side open, stripped the fiberglass/epoxy, and then popped the assembly out of the lower half. The lead weights are bolted to the steel so removal wasn't an issue. Now I need to take a trip over to the steel supplier and rummage through the scrap shed. I'm on the fence if I should get a bigger piece of steel to eliminate the wood fillers but I think that'll add too much weight. Any thoughts on something other than wood? Plastic decking aka trex type material??? If I do use wood, I thought I'd use oak. Marine ply isn't readily available here.

I can only add one photo at a time so pardon the multiple posts
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top