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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found an Albin Vega that needs some/lots of work.
The keel has (rust) marks bleeding through the keel. Also the back of the keel has started to delaminate. My guess is that water from the bilge leaked into the keel and several winters created a big problem...
Now here is my question: How would this be fixed?
The keel is encapsulated, the ballast is steel or iron (not sure).
I don't want posts saying that it will cost billions of dollars, millions of man hours, etc.
I just need to know what steps should be taken to fix the problem, (i.e. remove fiberglass from keel, sandblast, etc.)
Thanks!


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Once steel/iron begins to rust that formation of ferric oxide which is less dense that the original material will develop extreme pressure within that encapsulation. Structurally, all that fiberglass in the area of the keel is now suspect to be in failure, as evidenced by the weeping of rust coming through the side walls of the encapsulation. To fix it, all the fiberglass should be entirely removed and the iron/steel portion be 'rehabilitated' or replaced, the encapsulation and its repair should then be verified so that water migration and permeation at less than 'visual' level should be considered .... a "Massive" job to be done to insure the structural integrity of that encapsulation. Without a complete removal and total rebuild the confidence level that this iron keel ballast would not continue to degrade and 'push' apart any repair ... that confidence level should be low. Without such complete repair there would be a high probability that the rusting iron in future would simply continue to 'expand' causing failure of the encapsulation and possible catastrophic loss and release of the iron out the bottom.

So, from that starting point of a totally complete removal and total rebuild including new encapsulation to OEM structural equivalence, you should be able to do a cost and time estimate. That old iron has to be inspected and probably replaced, and a whole new fiberglass keel (ballast section) built from scratch --- or the confidence of the repair integrity will remain very low.
 

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Once steel/iron begins to rust that formation of ferric oxide which is less dense that the original material will develop extreme pressure within that encapsulation. Structurally, all that fiberglass in the area of the keel is now suspect to be in failure, as evidenced by the weeping of rust coming through the side walls of the encapsulation. To fix it, all the fiberglass should be entirely removed and the iron/steel portion be 'rehabilitated' or replaced, the encapsulation and its repair should then be verified so that water migration and permeation at less than 'visual' level should be considered .... a "Massive" job to be done to insure the structural integrity of that encapsulation. Without a complete removal and total rebuild the confidence level that this iron keel ballast would not continue to degrade and 'push' apart any repair ... that confidence level should be low. Without such complete repair there would e a high probability that the rusting iron in future would simply continue to 'expand' causing failure of the encapsulation and possible loss and release of the iron.

So, from that starting point of a totally complete removal and total rebuild including new encapsulation to OEM structural equivalence, you should be able to do a cost and time estimate.
If you do not own the boat run. It would cost more than the boat would be worth to repair properly.
 

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One of the reasons why we shied away from IP's as we observed this process of using iron in their keel construction at their factory..
 

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Corsair 24
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iron encapsulated is a much bigger issue than encapsulated lead...the expansion from rust is what causes the delamination

id much rather have say an iron fin than an iron ballast that is encapsulated for those reasons

the fix is much harder and pricier...

edit didnt see richs post before oops
 

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One of None
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All encaped Keels get water in them from above (the bilge) My boat has a lead core thankfully) it's only now developed 2 very small "weeps" I think about ripping out resealing the bilge with glass and epoxy but proably never will.
Thing is, I just don't know it's ever possible to keep water from ever getting around the keel core and behind the glass.
 

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islander bahama 24
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All encaped Keels get water in them from above (the bilge) My boat has a lead core thankfully) it's only now developed 2 very small "weeps" I think about ripping out resealing the bilge with glass and epoxy but proably never will.
Thing is, I just don't know it's ever possible to keep water from ever getting around the keel core and behind the glass.
My encapsulated keel has no water in it I keep my bilge dry also I have an outboard in a well so no shaft seal to leak
 

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One of None
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My encapsulated keel has no water in it I keep my bilge dry also I have an outboard in a well so no shaft seal to leak
Lets drill a hole and check! LOL
 

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without being too romantic...this is not as bad as it made to look...

depends on where and when youll be sailing.

you can(if the price is right for the boat) keep the rust at bay by treating the bilges and any exposed iron...then simply relaminate or glass the parts that are failing...

ive seen a lot worse that last decades and decades more

now if you are in a freeze thaw area with extreme temperatures and ice buildup every year your chances of keeping the damage at bay are minimal...reason being the ice will cause even more pressure and every fix you do willl only last till the ice comes back again.

plenty of boats have sunk from this...

but you can haul it out or trailer the boat.

I would get more pics, do some humidity tests in the surrounding glass...and do a more thorough research before dismissing said boat

but thats just me.

now if they are asking top dolar for this boat let them know the issues that are present and express that its not a pristine example of said boat...if the sellers dont budge or are firm on price just move on.

cheers
 

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Aaron, I don't think that is really "encapsulated" as you are thinking of it. That outer fiberglass is an integral part of the hull, the keel ballast is typically dropped in and secured during construction before the deck is put on.

So anything you do from the outside, will be literally tearing apart the hull.

If you can lift the ballast, extract the ballast, break it up and get it out of the keel, then you could clean and repair the fiberglass from the inside, and that's not impossible to do. You'd need to clean out any damaged areas, re-adhere the fiberglass, add more layers of re-enforcement, and then finish by reinstalling ballast, which preferably would be lead or lead scrap in a matrix.

Lead scrap from tire weights used to be free for the asking as tire shops had to pay to have it hauled away. Now they sell it as scrap, so the price depends on how clever and lucky you might be. The fiberglass costs wouldn't be exhorbitant.

So yes it can be done...oh, if you need a thousand pounds of lead, that's still going to be two thousand dollars, probably, even as scrap. (Buyers pay 1/4-1/2 of that, wholesale.)

Incredibly time consuming and expensive? No, still significant, even before you add two weeks of your time, full time, in labor. As minimums.

And then of course, if you have to ask how to do this or how reliable the repairs will be, you'd also want to consider a life insurance policy before you cast off. Just in case.

Feasible? Certainly. Economically feasible? Eh, maybe not.

It is possible for a negligent owner to kill a boat.
 

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check this out. Its always better to go to the source to get the best info.
the keel apparently has both lead AND iron...

http://www.albinvega.co.uk/pdf/vegahandbook.pdf
that is something I didnt know

good info here

ps. althouh the vegas have a cut status they do have known weakness, some that are kind of big issues like oil canning, flexy panels, etc...
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Now the Albin Vega handbook says the ballast is "bonded into the keel". I am unfamiliar with the term bonded as it relates to keel construction, can anyone enlighten me. I'm guessing this means it has been glassed over.
 

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it means they pour the ballast into a resin, or epoxy slurry...basically it sets together pushing all air pockets out.

edit: this is an informative thread over on cf, about the 6th post down.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/encapsulated-iron-keels-124797.html

the lead on the albins is in the bottom, this makes sense since it has more give and can take hits much better...the iron is up higher

you can clearly see in those pics the lines shape of the ballast versus the hull...where the weeps are.

just so you know there have been no cases of catastrophic keel failure on albin vegas...

try contacting vega1870 I THINK is his name here for more owner info...as thats who you need to ask really.

oh, lastly here is a pic of a boat that you would walk away from

http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?361457-Encapsulated-keels
 

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Bonded: Glued. As in, they dumped in a batch of glue, most likely the same resins that were used to make the hull, and glued it all in.

Ever been in a bar where they had a thousand pennies under cast acrylic resin on the bar counter? Right, that's "bonded" in.

The word "forever" comes to mind. OTOH it also means you can spray the keel with heavy machine gun fire, and the ballast probably will stay in place and the boat keep on sailing.

Grind away the rusty areas, reglass them...maybe you can get ahead of it. Maybe.
 

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Unless any repair is done properly the resale value of this Vega will always be very very low.

The best solution would be to get a quote for repair by a yard experienced in fiberglass work and construction. It will probably be well into 5 figures. Deduct that from the asking price and if the result is still positive consider buying the boat. If the result is negative don't buy.

There are many good boats out there at fantastic prices - too many to be interested in one with such a defect.

Currently there are 3 Vega's listed on Yachtworld. Two at 12k and one less than 8k. Each could be purchased for 20% less probably. That is the market value to compare to.

Any proper repair would mean the removal of a portion of the interior as well - not a small job in itself.

And you have to wonder what else is wrong with this boat.
 

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One of None
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woo.. looking the pdf and line drawing.. I almost want one! Nice boat!
 

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The one listed in Yachtworld for 12k has a new 13 hp Beta diesel and a Navik wind vane - and no rust weeping from the keel.
 
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