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I've been shopping for an older, smaller (under 30') shoal draft boat, and I've run into several (Morgans, Irwins, and others) that were originally keel/centerboarders, but where a PO has chosen to "glass in" the CB slot to convert to a fixed shoal draft keel instead. In other respects some of these are good and well-priced boats, but in my local shallow, shoaling Florida waters, IMO a keel/CB is the best compromise between gunkholing and going to weather.

So, a question - does anyone have any experience (preferably), or insight, into what it would take to reverse a "glassed-in" repair of a (formerly) keel/CB boat and to restore/rebuild a functioning keel/CB mechanism?

A few caveats:
1 - Yes I realize this will differ in the particulars among various models of boats, but I'm trying to get a general idea as to whether this is something that has been done, or can as a practical matter be done both safely and at reasonable cost.

2 - Yes, I realize that a boat that already has a (still) functioning CB would be cheaper (probably) and easier, and that fixed shoal keel boats are less subject to breakage and might sail (nearly) as well in many/most conditions. Intend to daysail and cruise the bays and gulf coast primarily.

Still there is some charm to overseeing a new CB installation, if done right - at least its initial condition won't be a mystery. :) I'm assuming I'd probably have to find or have made a suitable replacement CB, pin, pennant, winch, etc., but the biggest issue in my mind is how difficult the restoration of a CB slot might be, and how safely it could be done - and whether a naval architect would need to be involved, or a just good fiberglass man.

Thoughts? Or am I just crazed by the August heat to even consider such a thing?
 

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If my CB trunk was glassed over, it would just be a matter of cutting out the slot. Chances are the "repair" would not be gel coated, so sanding off the bottom paint would probably show you the area that was glassed. Cut the middle and do exploratory surgery from there to find the extent of the trunk.

I've got an Irwin 28 with an intact, although leaky, CB system. I'm going to drop the board on Thursday to have at the leak and I was planning on patterning it while I have it out. If you wind up with a sister ship, let me know and I'll make you a copy of the CB pattern. Could provide some photos and dimensions of the trunk and hardware too if needed.
 
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Just a guess, but it would seem like a simple matter to re-open the slot.
You could grind down the overlapped glass to lead? and fair and barrier coat. Or not. The other related work you mentioned would be where most of the time and expense would come in.

You'd have to hang it high enough to access everything. Assuming you need a new board, that's likely to be custom fabrication plus winch, cable, pivot. etc. If all removed.

When you say overseeing? does that mean you'd pay a yard to do the work?
I don't know what the yard rates in Florida are, but if anywhere near the $100.00/hr up here...I'd suggest you look for a working centerboard, or a shoal keel. Or be prepared for sticker shock.

There are plenty of days where I don't touch my board, but this week I used it 3 times. I imagine the PO's didn't sail much to weather if at all..maybe they didn't like the noise while living aboard..
 

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I've got an Irwin 28 with an intact, although leaky, CB system. I'm going to drop the board on Thursday to have at the leak .......

The PO probably sealed it up due to an important leak, so don't go there. At a certain point the whole trunk may have to be removed to repair the leak.
Its my biggest fear with my CB on a 29 footer.

You could add a wing at the base of the keel to help performance, "flare" (bring to a point) the keel at both ends, or both.
 

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I do not have experience with the glassed in part, but I did remove the CB on a smaller O'day.

One issue was getting it high enough to have clearance for the board, which on mine was done lifting with a big engine hoist and placed on taller stands. Then the board was lowered a little at a time with a floor jack and blocks. I made a rolling cradle for it with 2x4s and casters. Then used a grinder to get it to bare iron. There was a lot of pitting and it took several coats of epoxy and filler to fair it out. Painted with a rust inhibitor and finally with bottom paint. It was a time consuming and labor intensive project, complicated by the considerable weight. The end product was perfect though, most likely better than new and should last a very long time.
 

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The PO probably sealed it up due to an important leak, so don't go there. At a certain point the whole trunk may have to be removed to repair the leak.
That's a legitimate concern but my PO couldn't find his butt with both hands...even if it was glassed I'd get eyes on and make a call based on what I found.

Mine isn't glassed, just a leak by the pin. I'm reseating it this week.
 
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