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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, so I pulled out by boat last fall and i knew i had a leak, but thats another story it's not bad just a crack. When i pumped out all of the water from the builge and i was looking at the fiberglass by the keel bolts and it looks like there are some cracks in it. When i bought the boat there was a sizable gash in the fiberglass around the keel the guy i bought it from never sailed it so i have no idea what caused the gash some one probably hit a rock or something. I don't think its leaking from any of the cracks and i didn't have any troubles when sailing it. I want to fix them and i know how to work with fiberglass but i want to know if anyone elce has had this problem before and how did you fix it or how would you? I am thinking about taking a dremel and grinding out the cracks and refiberglassing them. Is this how you would go about fixing this or is there some other better way? And i know theirs no leaks when i re did the fiberglass on the keel i cocked the seam between the cast iron keel and hull.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
 

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This could be a very serious problem. It sounds like you might have water intrusion around the keel bolts and they could be rusting away. You really need to drop the keel to inspect them. If there is a wood spacer in your keel stub then it's probably rotting away and needs to be ground out and replaced with something that won't rot and will support the stresses from the keel bolts. If you live in an area that freezes in the winter then that may have caused the crack because the water expands when it freezes.
 
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Did you happen to notice if the water in the bilge was fresh or salt? If it was salt, then a pretty good way to find your leak would be to have some water in the bilge and watch it leak OUT, right?
If it was fresh, probably from rain or washing the boat, then obviously the cracks are not of consequence. Are they actual cracks in the glass or are they cracks in the paint? I've seen boats where paint has literally been poured in the bilges and over time it gets huge, unimportant cracks in it.
 
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Let's not panic the OP without the benefit of brand, model, interior/exterior ballast, known history of boat, pics, etc. What is a gash - a C&C smile, damage from grounding, hull flex? Cracks - a real crack or separation between laminate and bilge paint? With more info SN can help more.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I wish i still had a picture and i'm away from my boat and cannot take picters of the cracks in the keel. The gash was about 6 or 7 inches by 12 or so and was located on the upper right of the keel 3 or 4 inches below where the hull and keel meet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wont be back home to see the boat for a while that's why i don't have any pictures but the cracks are dark almost black but are very tight there's no noticeable gape and they are relatively consistent along the bilge where the keel is. And I am 99% positive that there are no leaks from these cracks or any where over the keel. I fiberglassed the whole keel and even used some 5200 and put a bead along the seam between the keel and hull. So there shouldn't be any leaks from there i just want to make sure everything is strong.
 

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If you said the boat brand, length etc you would probably get a litany if answers, and recommendations, because people who had same or similar boats could chime in. A general question without some back ground info is had to respond to intelligently! And yes pics would be most helpful in all departments of response!!!!
 

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You mean North ISN'T up?
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Hi

On my boat I COMPLETLEY dried the bilge and vaccumed up all debris, then let it sit for a couple of hours. Water crept back in which signified a leak. Next, I would check the torque of the keel bolts with a torque wrench. If the torque is off, I would tighten them to spec and re-try the leak test. BUT a word of caution here....if the bolts are off spec, then WHY?....keel strike?...bolt corrosion / elongation?.....keel spacer bad? (if equipped). But I agree with TakeFive on the potential seriousness of this. Also, if the caulk you used is a type that dries hard, you are almost guaranteed to get cracks again (at the joint). But even with a perfect joint job...if the bolts are faulty or not torqued right, flex is introduced at the joint and has the potential for leaks.
 

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You mean North ISN'T up?
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Sorry, just saw where you used 5200 to seal. Sounds like you did a good job on that. So I would check the bolts, tighten if needed, and if not, I would look for some other sources for the leak. As long as the bolts are sound, you should be good on strength of the attachment.
 

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The only proper way to do it is to drop the keel and inspect the keel to hull joint, rebuilding what has to be rebuilt. Otherwise it will all be a half-azz job.
 
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