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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi
We're headed to honduras in a recently purchased 1969 36' C&C Frigate. She's been a great boat, and took us across from Florida to San Pedro in 6 days! The issue is once we arrived here and took a bit of respite from the norte's causing the gulf current to stack up 8' against 30-40kt winds was after doing a routine dive on the hull we've got a 8" vertical crack in our keel, from the bottom up, about an inch wide in the lead. I'm not sure how to proceed. I don't have photos yet but i'm working on it. it's from the base of the keel vertically up 8" or so, on both sides, and about 3/4" - 1" wide.
I imagine when we got into the interesting weather situation a preexisting crack from a previous grounding must have worked open as the boat flexed in the swell.
I can keep it in calm water and get to rio dulce, or if I can find out this is going to sail I can continue to utila and do the ~80m crossing, and then get to rio dulce later as planned and pull the boat. It made it across the gulf of mexico, the yucatan current, and a series of whuppings so far.
I know this isn't good, I'm trying to find out what I need to do to get it repaired. what is a guy at a yard going to tell me needs to be done? I just bought the boat a week ago, it's officially for sale now, not that it'll be easy to sell after this, but yeah... there's a crack in my keel. not good. all advice is appreciated, we're forced to leave on monday due to our visa limitations, so we're scrambling.
Thank You for any advice,
Best;
-Chance.
 

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Is it the keel/centerboard version? is the ballast package bolted into a molded cutout?
Wondering if the above is true then you're getting a separation of the ballast plug from the molded part of the hull... any keel/ballast bolts in the bilge area?

Sorry, not sure of how this boat is constructed so it's difficult to guess. But a vertical crack up both sides suggests something like that is going on... The nearly 1" wide is the really worrisome aspect of this.

Do you know for certain it wasn't there when you first left?
 

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The first thing I would do is to put some underwater epoxy on that crack - if you have enough, of course. May not help too much in the long run but will make that spot stronger until you fix it properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is the full keel centerboard version, there are bolts in the bilge and they are good when inspected. I dove on her before we left, I didn't see anything that warranted further inspection, definitely not a huge crack. I feel like we've been sailing with her the whole while.
 

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To stop a crack from getting longer you drill a hole at the end of the crack. A standard procedure for many materials.
I'm not a professional, but I suspect the crack should be filled, as well as the hole, and continue the trip.
Since it is vertical, the crack should not have another consequence. If it was horizontal, there could be an other consequence.
Of most importance, is to drill the hole, to stop the crack from getting longer. The rest is just filler and cosmetic.
 

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definitely drill a hole, it will round off the top of the crack and keep the stress from finding another weak spot to continue upwards.
 

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You need to get it out of the water and have a pro look at the problem. You need to do this before you go back out to sea. That is the bad news.

The good news is assuming it is an encapsulated GRP keel fixing the GRP bit is easy and low tech. GRP guys can work wonders and it does not take long. I might also be tempted to drill through the keel and use some long bolts/studding to hold things together.

Something that is potentially bad news would be finding out that the ballast was iron and that sea water had got in causing rust which expands and that is what caused the split. If that is the case I think you would need to get that rusty iron out somehow and replace with fresh rust free iron or maybe even lead.

Forget about drilling the holes at the end of the crack and going back out to sea. You have a structural failure in a mission critical item. You have to fix it.
 

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To stop a crack from getting longer you drill a hole at the end of the crack. A standard procedure for many materials.
I'm not a professional, but I suspect the crack should be filled, as well as the hole, and continue the trip.
Since it is vertical, the crack should not have another consequence. If it was horizontal, there could be an other consequence.
Of most importance, is to drill the hole, to stop the crack from getting longer. The rest is just filler and cosmetic.
As a general rule I try to be respectful when I disagree with someone, but IMHO this is very bad, no that's too mild....it is extraordinarily bad advice. Haul the boat, do a proper technical evaluation to determine the cause and fix it properly before going to sea again.

P.S. There's a cautionary tale in the original post for those who dream of buying a boat and sailing off to the tropics. Find it?
 

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Hi
We're headed to honduras in a recently purchased 1969 36' C&C Frigate. She's been a great boat, and took us across from Florida to San Pedro in 6 days! The issue is once we arrived here and took a bit of respite from the norte's causing the gulf current to stack up 8' against 30-40kt winds was after doing a routine dive on the hull we've got a 8" vertical crack in our keel, from the bottom up, about an inch wide in the lead. I'm not sure how to proceed. I don't have photos yet but i'm working on it. it's from the base of the keel vertically up 8" or so, on both sides, and about 3/4" - 1" wide.
I imagine when we got into the interesting weather situation a preexisting crack from a previous grounding must have worked open as the boat flexed in the swell.
I can keep it in calm water and get to rio dulce, or if I can find out this is going to sail I can continue to utila and do the ~80m crossing, and then get to rio dulce later as planned and pull the boat. It made it across the gulf of mexico, the yucatan current, and a series of whuppings so far.
I know this isn't good, I'm trying to find out what I need to do to get it repaired. what is a guy at a yard going to tell me needs to be done? I just bought the boat a week ago, it's officially for sale now, not that it'll be easy to sell after this, but yeah... there's a crack in my keel. not good. all advice is appreciated, we're forced to leave on monday due to our visa limitations, so we're scrambling.
Thank You for any advice,
Best;
-Chance.
Your boat is very similar to my boat and same year. I also have a full encapsulated lead keel with centerboard. I have some detailed plans of the keel and centerboard setup. This might give you/us an idea of what you are dealing with. Is the crack near the centerboard pivot pin? Can you give us a little better idea of the location of the crack? 1" wide? Is it only one side of the trunk? Or running from the trunk slot up towards the stem, straight up the center?

Here is a link to my photobucket pics and plans. If you want the plans in PDF or AutoCAD I can provide that too. CenterboardB321969plan_zps3cfc0c37.jpg Photo by greatfulldad123 | Photobucket
 

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haul the boat out first...since its a centerboard "full keel" this mught be the cause of the crack...

no reason to get all bent out of shape...advice is advice, take it or leave it

another point is where he is located right now

real easy to say haul the boat and have a proffesional to look at it, on a 69 boat...in honduras or rio dulce

in rio dulce you have options but I would look for a glass repair guy and not a general "proffesional"

if its the stub per se...and only glass then its an easy fix..like mentioned before if you have lead or iron as well as the centerboard you have more work to do...mostly removal of the centerboard first...

its vey common on small keel centerboarders to have cracks like this...sometimes its caused by overcanvassed sail and pressure on the centerboard for too long, or the board is down and you hit something sideways and this cracks or bends the stub or it simply may just be from old age

you can haulout in pt. barrios, rio dulce and or look for a place to dive real well in clear water(roatan) jeje

for now anything anyone says is just a guess...pics first!

good luck I wish you well

ps. the advice to drill a hole to stop further cracking is far from extremely bad advice, if its just glass its a very good fix...again I stress you must know what(material) is actually cracking...
 

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Your boat is very similar to my boat and same year. I also have a full inculpated led keel with centerboard. I have some detailed plans of the keel and centerboard setup. This might give you/us an idea of what you are dealing with. Is the crack near the centerboard pivot pin? Can you give us a little better idea of the location of the crack? 1" wide? How long? Is it only one side of the trunk? Or running from the trunk slot up towards the stem, straight up the center?

Here is a link to my photobucket pics and plans. If you want the plans in PDF or AutoCAD I can provide that too. CenterboardB321969plan_zps3cfc0c37.jpg Photo by greatfulldad123 | Photobucket

awesome delta T this is the info the op needs!

he needs to know exactly where and what material is cracked

most centerboarders use a big stub and he ballast is inside the actual stub HULL but not like most encapsulated ballast full keelers...its higher up:)
 

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The keel stub on this vessel is lead and bolted to the hull. The center board is iron.

If I understand correctly the crack is in the lead keel stub. Pretty much the only thing that would cause a crack like this is corrosion and expansion of one or more keel bolts.

If I am correct, this is a critical issue and must be addressed before the boat leaves the harbour. Get her out of the water and get a pro to investigate.

Chances of a 45yr. old salt water boat not having corroded keel bolts is somewhat slim. I have seen a number of younger fresh water C&C's with this issue.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The centerboard is completely out of the picture on this one as far as we can tell. It had been secured in the up position by the previous owner at a yard in Florida. I'm going to dive on her this morning with a go pro and see what I can see. I appreciate everyone's advice.
 

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the centerboard exerts pressure on the stub...when hard sailing...the centerboard often fairs well and its the pivot bolts or other parts of a keel centerboarder that usually fail...

I think thats what I was trying to imply if your stub is ALL LEAD then you have ways of fixing that too...

can you motor safely to a haulout?

cheers
 

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I understand that you have not used the CB. I have heard of damage being done to the keel if the cable holding the CB up breaks and CB swings hard down. Mostly on very heavy CBs. PO may have had this issue.
 

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Wondering if there was a pre purchase survey done... was the boat hauled and inspected prior to departure.. if so was there any indication of this developing crack? If not the fact that it occurred and spread to nearly 1" wide over the time of this last passage is quite disconcerting.

I think the ballast plug is separating from the hull.. best guess is you're looking at something like below:



The vertical separation is at the back of the ballast plug?? Regardless of the cause it needs to be properly addressed/assessed before carrying on.
 

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I understand that you have not used the CB. I have heard of damage being done to the keel if the cable holding the CB up breaks and CB swings hard down. Mostly on very heavy CBs. PO may have had this issue.
Remotely possible but unlikely. Had this been the case the fracture would have started inside the keel stub slot, not on both sides of the stub as the OP described.
 

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I think the ballast plug is separating from the hull..
If I am right about corrosion expansion of keel bolts, separation woud be the next logical step in the process.

Another thought .... When you dive for another look, See if you can find any evidence of filler in the crack. If this was a cover up job of an existing flaw you may have some avenue of recompense.
 
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