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Wauquiez Gladiatuer grounding damage

2666 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  bernithegreatest
Over the weekend I ran my Gladiatuer's lead skag keel hard against a rock bringing our 5knot speed under power to a dead halt. Aside from initial shock and embarrassment everyone on board was fine. The impact did not put us on top of the rock so I was able to easily reverse free of the obstruction and navigational control of the vessel was unhindered.
After initial visual inspection of the boat, including the bilge, we continued on our way under power (calm wind conditions prevented sailing) to our destination for the evening. I continued to monitor the bilge (which always has a little fluid in it) for any increase in level through the night and into the next day. My confidence continued to improve as little to no sign of damage or failure appeared as we returned to our home port on Sunday - although I was sure the impact would show on the lead keel. Midway on our return the wind picked up and we enjoyed a wonderful sail into port, further easing my concerns of lasting damage.
During our clean-up of the boat on the dock, using my snorkel, I dove into the icy water to perform a final check. As expected, about 1'-1.5' up from the bottom of my 6' draft keel the lead was scratched and deformed (minimum depth recorded on my depth sounder was 5.2'). What I did not expect to see was evidence of stress in the hull behind where my keel met the bottom of the hull. Water temp and my lung capacity prohibited me from getting a really good look at the damage but recently exposed white fiberglass shown through the bottom paint. This new information prompted me to pull up some of my cabin floor panels in the same area where I found minor cracks in one of the floor joists.
Since then I have contacted several Wauquiez Pretorian owners whose experience & knowledge I respect - one owner's boat experienced a similar, if not more significant, impact when he was not on board. Everyone seems to agree that since I am not taking on significant water the damage is most likely surface deep but will require a haul out and yard work to repair. If flooding is not an issue then the next concern would be the keel falling off while underway. This seems unlikely due to the lack of any visible damage to the keel bolts and the stout nature of these boats. It has also been pointed out that the damage is in an area of the hull that extremely thick and strong.
At this point I know that i will need to repair the damage but my question is how soon. My wife and I are planning a week long trip in the San Juan Islands over the first week of June and I was hoping to address this issue afterwards. Does anyone have any insight or experience with this issue on a similar quality boat?
Thank you,
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Take the trip

I would go to the San Juans. Worst case scenario you lose your keel. At least you won't die! We have pretty good coverage by coasties out here...

Really, though, if you expect it to be fair weather, it probably won't be a problem. You can haul out plenty of places between here and there.
You have visible cracks in the floors under your cabin sole and you plan on taking a cruise with them like that because the boat hasn't started leaking yet? The cracks indicate that the keel, floors, and other things attached to them -- like the hull- were flexed considerably by the impact. The floors - structural ribs that are supposed to be really strong, and which in your boat are espeically strong - are BROKEN. There may be other less visible stress cracks that you didn't see in the murky water because you can't hold your breath long enough. There could also be interior delamination in various spots that doesn't necessarily show on the surface- inside or out- for you to see. Pounding into waves under sail could easily increase the damage as the pieces flex again and again. I would find the closest travellift with a GOOD fiberglass guy at the receiving end and get my boat to him immediately. Losing your keel in the San Juans means swimming in cold water. Even if you can get an SOS message out before the radio dies, it is not the place to count on the coasties getting to you before you pass out from hypothermia. (Ten minutes? fifteen?) Sorry to rain on your parade, but it'll probably rain that week anyway and a cold rain is better than a very cold (and very short) swim.
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I'm with PaulK on this one. That is a fairly serious impact, and it does sound like you've had damage to the laminate right where you'd expect to find it -- at the trailing edge of the keel where it joins the hull.

At a minimum, get the boat hauled and inspected by a competent surveyor. If you have an insurance claim, your insurer may require that you mitigate damage by not continuing to operate the vessel (and potentially exacerbating the problem) until the extent of the damage and remedy are determined.
You need to have it looked at as soon as possible. Delamination due to stress fractures - particularly below the waterline, are expensive issues after the fact to repair. Just because you are not showing water in your bilge - doesn't mean your hull / keel is not absorbing it. Blisters etc... are far more expensive to repair after the fact than being dealt with promptly. Just FYI fiberglass is in itself actually porous.
Lots of rock encounters.

I posted this on another site earlier today.

Been there, done that.:mad:

I was moving at about 1-2 knots. The depth sounder read 14.9 feet. Hit the rock bounced ip and came down on it.

Ran below to check the bilge - no ingress of water.

Diver found superficial damage to the lead keel. The hull partially delaminated - that was discovered by a surveyor. $4500 damage.

Charter companies haul their boats after any contact with the bottom.

Get the boat hauled and get it surveyed. At the very least, pull up your sole and check the stringers for separation. Also check for damage to cabinetry and woodwork aft of the keel.

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Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200! Go directly to Jail! :hammer

Sorry dude, you need to have an expert check this out and that requires hauling the boat.

The first rule of being a responsible skipper is SAFETY.
Even without any visually evident "damage" there could be considerable damage to the laminate and the stringers/floors esp in the are aft of the keel. The fact that you can see evidence inside AND outside is a big warning.

Your boat needs to be hauled and properly checked out... I'd say your San Juan trip is on hold.... Sorry.....
We did the same thing with a Catalina 27. Doing about 4 knots under sail came to dead stop in under one second.
Had to open up a 12" by 24" hole just aft of the keel and re-glass. It was an insurance job about 3,500 if I remember right.

This kind of damage seems to be common on boats with a fin keel. I suspect a full length keel will not suffer the same kind of damage.
how did your story end?

I recently went thru a similar scenario (actually my friend did with my boat ...). So I am interested to learn what kind fo repair you hand done and how much you ended up paying for it.

Regards, Berni
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