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Discussion Starter #1
I posted the following post in the Ranger section however have not received any feedback, therefore, I was thinking that I posted it in the wrong place (I'm new). Any advice that you can give would be greatly appreciated!

I have a 1973 Ranger 23. I love the boat and have sailed it many times and many miles. I keep it in the New York Harbor (Jersey City Side) and sail in the harbor as well as some inshore coastal sailing (inside of 15 miles).

I pulled this boat this week and found that the keel has about 1 to 2 inches of play in it. Quick overview:
1. The bolts are tight and in good shape.
2. The keel to hull joint it sound, with no cracks.
3. There is no leakage in the keel sump.
4. When the keel is moved, the hull flexes for 12 to 18 inches on either side of the keel.

I called several reputable fiberglass people in the area and no one is interested in looking at the boat. A suggestion that I received was to enjoy the boat until it starts leaking.

Therefore, I have three questions:
1. Does this sound like good advice (could this be dangerous)?
2. Is this a common issue (not a lose keel, but a flexing hull causing the keel to wobble)?
3. If I were to endeavor to fix this (cut out the floor, grind out and rebuild 1 inch of new glass across the inside of the hull/add a few stringers and rebuild the cabin floor) would this work, or simply crack/break the first time I hit a large wave/was knocked down?

Any advice that you could give. Thanks again!
 

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Have you had opportunity to compare with other R 23 owners? How much force does it take to get the 'wobble'.. a couple of inches of movement sounds alarming but without knowing the construction details of the central part of the hull/bilge it's difficult to say.

From your description this is all 'hull flex' rather than any looseness at the hull/keel joint.. so it begs the question as to whether this boat has sustained damage somehow that weakened the hull, of if this is indeed 'normal' for the type.

I know that my brother had a Ranger 28 years ago.. there were no floors (crossbeams) or stringers (longitudinals) in that hull, the cabin sole was essentially the inside of the hull itself - I can't say we ever noticed that issue - but don't recall looking for it either....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply!

I have searched for other R23 owners and have found examples of leaks, and keels that needed to be re-bedded, but not a hull a flex like this.

To make the keel move, it does not take much. Once you get the 1500# keel moving it shakes on its own.

The R23 was not made with stringers, however, it does have a cabin sole. When riding in the cabin in choppy conditions you can feel the cabin sole flex.

The tone of your comment is consistent with my general sense of caution. Just wanted to see what other (more experienced) sailors had to say.

Thanks again!
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Hi Markdthorne,

I keep my boat 25 nm up the Hudson from you (Nyack). We used to race against a Ranger 23' who kept us on our toes. Nice boat for it's size.

Sorry to hear about your hull/keel flexing. Obviously not an ideal situation.
I'm not a naval architect but I think your 3rd option (stiffening inside the hull) is the only way to really address this. Perhaps a naval architect like Bob Perry will drop into render an expert opinion.
If you do nothing about this you have your option #1. I think the answer to #2 is that older boats are more likely to reach this state.

As for getting a reputable fiberglass person to work on it, good luck! For starters it is much more difficult to do epoxy work when it is cold (< 50F) outside. For another, most people who do this charge more than you will want to pay - could cost more than you paid for your boat to fix this right.

If you really like the boat it might be worth trying to fix this yourself. Epoxy work is not rocket science but it is time consuming.

I live across the river (Hudson) from where you keep your boat so I could come over to meet you and have a look at your hull/keel situation, if you like.

I'm going to guess that most other responders will say: "ditch the boat for a newer one".
 

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Just a total naive comment from me. Our boat, an M25 specifically warns against letting the keel "hang" from the boat when out of the water. (It is a swing so not exactly the same of course) It was designed to hold the weight of the keel in the water, not on the trailer or slings as it distorts the hull and would swing side to side (rather than up and down as designed). Not sure, but is it possible that the Ranger is the same and was not built up to handle the keel hanging when the boat is out if the water? Rather it was meant for the keel to rest on the ground?

EDIT: Something tells me that I am wrong on this as I looked up some pics of Ranger 23s on trailers and it "appears" that the keel is not resting on the trailer but is suspended. If that is normal, then the wobble wouldn't be.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
CalebD,

Thank you for your kind offer to have a look. I may want to take you up on your offer. My treat at the Taqueria!

The funny thing is that this is the same boat (So you know why I like it, meticulously maintained, great woodwork, nicely rigged, and lots of character)

I would be very interested in what you think. I will PM you about getting together.

Thanks!
 

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Mark,
I've seen one other boat that sounds like what you are describing. Is the hull cored? I am just south of you, Sandy Hook, and second Caleb, I can take a look, if you like. If its a cored hull, I"d guess delamination of the core, but I'm sure you know that. Is there a Ranger owners club or such? The other boat was a seafarer. It was on stands, and the hull flex allowed it to rock back and forth as you walked on it. I didn't like the boat enough to look any further.
Lou
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Lou,

That makes sense, the R23 however, is not cored. If you are ever in the area, (we are a ways from sandy hook) let me know, I would greatly appreciate any advice that you could give. I'll PM you.

Mark
 

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Lou,

That makes sense, the R23 however, is not cored. If you are ever in the area, (we are a ways from sandy hook) let me know, I would greatly appreciate any advice that you could give. I'll PM you.

Mark
I commuted to EWR for years! Jersey City is a breeze!
L
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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The funny thing is that this is the same boat (So you know why I like it, meticulously maintained, great woodwork, nicely rigged, and lots of character)
So it is crafty ol' Leon Hillman's Ranger 23' "Electra"? That is a coincidence.
Leon was great competition on the race course and bested us more often than not.
 

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Mark how about some photos? Some of us arm chair engineers could offer possible ways to fix it. Don't think you want' 40ish year old glass flexing much more if you can prevent it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It is Electra. I have bumped into many people who say the same thing. It is kind of like he created a legend, and for a little boat it is quick/feels large for it's size = a great combination.

I cant PM due to lack of posts, but my email is the same as my username @gmail.com

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Mark how about some photos? Some of us arm chair engineers could offer possible ways to fix it. Don't think you want' 40ish year old glass flexing much more if you can prevent it.

you are right, I actually have a video. If I can figure out how to upload it I will. I appreciate the help!
 

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Keel is not supposed to move due to hull flexing (or vice-versa). It sounds like the fiberglass has gotten fatigued from the boat being used for such a long time. Yards won't be overly interested in fixing it because they then become liable if the fix doesn't work, and the cost of the repair will quickly overtake the value of the boat. They know this leads to unhappy customers who complain to twenty others and bad-mouth the yard on the Internet. Talking to a naval architect or marine engineer (or a yard guy off work, or a surveyor) about how to go about fixing this would be a first step, along with getting hold of other Ranger owners online. It may be something you can fix yourself with reinforcements below the floorboards or at bulkheads. With a better idea of exactly what is wanted to be done, a yard might be more interested. You may be able to continue sailing the boat for quite a while with the hull flexing as it currently does, but would you want to go up in a plane whose wings were moving around as much as your keel & hull are? Eventually something is going to break, and that is not a trip you want to be on.
 

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I think I echo a lot of other readers, in that, we would like to see what you come up with. Sounds like a bit of surgery is in order.
 

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My boat had exactly the same problem didnt notice it untill I hauled her out and water blasted the keel.Its not the end of the world I just laminated up some frames which fitted snugly into the keel and out along the inside of the hull Glued them in with epoxy then fibreglassed over the whole lot a strong and perminant fix.Would like to show you photos of the job but am computer illiterate.Any boat builder worth his salt should be able to do it easily,I did it myself and I am just a carpenter.
 

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If it were me, I think I would get an opinion from a Builder/Glass expert to make the decision. I talked to fairly accomplished fiberglass craftsman at the yard this past week about the work he did on retro fitting a Tiger 10 (that has a keel box) because of flex and what he did to "shore it up". It might be able to be done on your boat but remember you may be transferring the load to an area of the Hull that may not have been expected to carry the load of the side force in a choppy blow. Also the amount of time and effort could be massive. I am sure you could pay an expert to at least give you an opinion on weather it could or should be done. I would hate to read a post next spring about a Ranger 23 that had lost her Keel and sank! Rangers are really nice boats and out-sail their size.
Hope it works out for you.
 

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Mark.
Do a google search on Ranger 23 hull. There is a thread on sailboat owners that describes something similar. Also check the R23 group on Yahoo. I have a feeling this is not unique to your boat. There may be proven fixes.
in Spurr's Guide he discusses ways to avoid "oil canning" or "panting" of the hull, which if I understand correctly is the walls of the hull flexing in and out. The would wiggle the keel. The "cure" is to bond in some longitudinal stringers, such as wood battens or stiff PVC hose, to give the sides more strength. It doesn't sound difficult, or expensive, just labor intensive as you have to clear the liner away to get at the hull. If it is in fact a common issue, and the boat has survived all this time, leaving it alone doesn't sound so bad. Can you get in touch with the original owner? He may have some in sights. If the boat is not leaking, and the hull is otherwise in good condition I don't think it is a terminal issue. My first post on here was about an O'Day 28 that had sat on the hard so long, the stands pushed the starboard quarter into a decent sized dent. The yard owner and several on here suggested it was no big deal, and in fact after I passed and another bought it, the hull "popped" on launching, and the boat is sailing fine. The more I research, the better I feel about this. Assuming you don't mind the work. If you dangle a cold Guinness in front of me, I can be talked into almost anything.

Lou
 
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