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Old 07-06-2011, 10:53   #1
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Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

On the keel of a 44 foot, glass, fin keeled, cruising boat that I recently inquired about, there was a round, maybe 12 inch patch of what appears to be uncovered steel or concrete on the aft edge of the keel, as if the keel had been whacked by a good sized, "steel pipe". There was also an inordinate amount of marine organisms that were growing right around the joint where the keel meets the hull.

Seems to me this infers that a serious collision of some sort caused the entire keel to come loose and to crack the glass at the seam between the keel and hull. But how could something like that happen on the aft edge of the keel? Maybe the keel was hit broadside? But by what?

Obviously, the keel on a boat that size is pretty heavy, carrying a couple of tons of ballast, so I am wondering how such a keel is actually attached on a glass boat like this? Also, if the seam was torn, this could compromise the seaworthiness of the vessel causing rot, or, even worse the keel simply falling off.

Wondering what you guys, who know a lot more about marine structural design, think.

Attached is a photo, that I have reduced to fit the required size.

Thanks for all the great information offered on this site.

G2L
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:57   #2
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

Well....if the keel is lead or steel etc I wouldnt worry about the keel itself. You are right...it is in a wierd location.... hard to figure. Inspect the fiberglass fore and aft of the keel, inside the boat and out for any evidence of a hard grounding. The organisims may be liking the sealant that was used. "mmm...tastes like chicken!" You should be able to see large keel bolts in the bilge that attache the keel to the hull. They do go bad sometimes. Any evidence of rust etc or leaks in the bolts areas you can see?
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:00   #3
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

allow to dry. re-glass it and make sure overlap is allowing for good coverage-- you will need a few layers. make sure is very dry and clean. donot use matt unless is between layers of woven roving. lots of epoxy type goo to keep moist for use, so no blistering after.... have fun.. gooodluck and fair winds
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:07   #4
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Larger Photo Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

This was an attempt at a slightly larger view of the photo in my original post, however, it doesn't seem to have worked very well. : (

Thanks again,

G2L
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:10   #5
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Well....if the keel is lead or steel etc I wouldnt worry about the keel itself. You are right...it is in a wierd location.... hard to figure. Inspect the fiberglass fore and aft of the keel, inside the boat and out for any evidence of a hard grounding. The organisims may be liking the sealant that was used. "mmm...tastes like chicken!" You should be able to see large keel bolts in the bilge that attache the keel to the hull. They do go bad sometimes. Any evidence of rust etc or leaks in the bolts areas you can see?
Will check closely when I see the boat in person. Also, bolted to what? This goes to one of the questions posed in my original request. If it's a fibreglass boat, how is a steel or lead balasted keel attached. Is there a centerbeam of wood that runs through the hull, or would the keel be bolted to a very thick layer of glass?

Thanks for your response. This is the kind of stuff I need to know.

Regards,

G2L
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:26   #6
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

usually just a thick layer of glass. Sometimes the bolts and nuts are painted or even glassed over...or just gelcoated. Trouble is...it's hard to know if they are deteriorated. Personally I like boats with glass keels filled with ballast... no bolts to worry about. At least when it comes to older cruising boats.
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:20   #7
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

encapsulated keels donot bolt on they are filled... if encapsulted keel has bolts, is older and the bolts are superfluous. if there are cracks in hull to keel joining area, clean and make good with more layers of glass as with keel.... should be ok with a goood overlapping...
have you purchased this boat?? if so, repair it..if not--look for more boats-is a buyers market and this is something to make the price lower.....if is already yours, repairs should be done well.
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Old 07-06-2011, 13:06   #8
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

But this one does not look the encapsulated type, does it. It looks as a typical blade so will have regular bolts. The damage looks like the boat was dragged sidewise or else someone was not sure of the joint and "inspected". Inspecting is not a good idea if done in an amateurish way.

If things look OK inside and the structure is intact then I would check just one of the bolts (if of the removable type) to see if water penetrated.

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Old 07-06-2011, 13:07   #9
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

Also check the alignment of the keel from side to side. Not likely in this case because the blow is so close to the hull but it is possible that the keel gets knocked out of plane and it is closer to the port toe rail then the starboard (or vice a versa)
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Old 07-06-2011, 14:01   #10
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Thank You Zeehag - Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

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encapsulated keels donot bolt on they are filled... if encapsulted keel has bolts, is older and the bolts are superfluous. if there are cracks in hull to keel joining area, clean and make good with more layers of glass as with keel.... should be ok with a goood overlapping...
have you purchased this boat?? if so, repair it..if not--look for more boats-is a buyers market and this is something to make the price lower.....if is already yours, repairs should be done well.
As inferred by my original post, I do not own the boat, but I am considering buying it. I do not understand your first sentence since it seems to have a typo which makes it sound a bit contradictory. Please forgive any misunderstanding on my part.

Getting more to the point, I do not know if the keel is "encapsulated", since I am not exactly sure what this term means regarding the build in question.

I do not want to post too many details about the boat, in order to not offend the seller, who could possibly stumble across this sight, but I thought that it would be a good idea to mention some of the more critical details to you, in order for you to better understand the situation.

Firstly, the boat in question seems to be a Van de Stadt design - perhaps the Madiera 44 which has an almost identical interior design, but a very different keel. The boat for sale was apparently built in 1986 or so in Japan. It seems to have been altered in apparently minor respects, except for the keel, which is a rather huge fin keel, giving the boat a very deep draft of 11 foot 8 inches, according to the current owner. You can check the "original" design on the Van de Stadt website.

Pardon my ignorance, but I am learning this stuff, one step at a time. That said, the boat in question may have a "fibre wood core" wich, according to the designer, is one of the options for building this design.

I don't quite understand what "fibre wood core" means, but perhaps we are dealing with a boat that is not really a glass boat but has a glassed plywood hull, with a solid wood infrastructure. In that case, the keel bolts would penetrate a wood hull, and my assumption is that any fracturing of the glass bond at the keel/hull juncture could cause significantly destructive rot to the hull.

I have written to the owner about the composition of the keel and am waiting for a reply. He describes the boat as "fiber glass composite", which could mean a lot of different things, so perhaps I should ask about that designation as well.

This is the kind of stuff I really need to know, so thanks for your detailed response, and, if you have anything to add, please do so.

If you would continue to respond here, that would be greatly appreciated. Also, feel free to pass this as a PM to any members who you think might be interested and qualified to help.

Best regards,

G2L
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Old 07-06-2011, 14:03   #11
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

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But this one does not look the encapsulated type, does it. It looks as a typical blade so will have regular bolts. The damage looks like the boat was dragged sidewise or else someone was not sure of the joint and "inspected". Inspecting is not a good idea if done in an amateurish way.

If things look OK inside and the structure is intact then I would check just one of the bolts (if of the removable type) to see if water penetrated.

b.
Thanks Barnakiel - Also, wondering if this could be a concrete keel? More worries there, no doubt.

Please see my response to Zeehag with more details on the actual design and tell me what you think.

Regards,

G2L
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Old 07-06-2011, 14:13   #12
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Tugging on the Keel - Sounds Worth a Try

Thanks Charlie,

This was the first check that entered the mind of an admitted newbie to structural design like me. Shoot, if I can wiggle the keel of a 44 foot boat, that would not be a great sign of its structural integrity.

Good point about how far up the keel the damage occurred; but, if I grab the bottom of the keel and start tugging from there, I gain leverage, right, so if the damage is at the hull/keel joint, I should still be able to feel it give somewhat, correct?

Please see the added design details noted in my response to Zeehag above, since they seem to make your suggestion even more relevant.

Sometimes the simplest and most obvious examinations are the most telling, and, no doubt, the least expensive.

Thanks for your suggestion.

G2L
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Old 07-06-2011, 14:16   #13
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Re: Keel Disaster - The Verdict?

I do not want to post too many details about the boat, in order to not offend the seller, who could possibly stumble across this sight, but I thought that it would be a good idea to mention some of the more critical details to you, in order for you to better understand the situation.

who cares if you offend the seller,,,,he most likely knows what happened and does not want to tell you,,,,you are buying a boat NOT a friend,,,take a good look then talk him down on price,,,if you want to buy cheap you must insult,,,,,,i hate to admit this but I sold cars for a living many years ago,,,did not make lots of money at it but learned lots about buying and selling,,,

insult insult insult,,, talk him down on the price
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Old 07-06-2011, 14:35   #14
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On A Gentlemans' Conduct & The Cruising Community

Aye aye Captain : )

Geeze, one would think that one would not have to resort to such brutal tactics among gentlemen, who, generally, have all lived within the cruising community, to one extent or another, over the years.

After all, we are such a small "community" of persons. I could tell you endless stories of folks that I have re-met over the years on different boats in incredibly different parts of the world, and there is a comraderie there that I'd rather not violate if not absolutely necessary.

If we own our own boats we are "officers" in the legal sense of the word when at sea, and, Geeze, shouldn't we act and expect others to act as the gentlemen and women that we wish ourselves to be?

Not to demean your suggestion, since it is probably rooted more in the real world than is my own idealism, but I will wait a bit before taking the suggested tack.

What I do hope however, is that, if the owner ever does discover this thread, he will have read your post and take it upon himself to act in an appropriately gentlemanly manner.

In closing then, I appreciate your input, since all "truth" usually lies in some kind of sythesis.

Best regards,

G2L
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Old 07-06-2011, 14:47   #15
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Curiouser and curiouser!

Van De Stadt lists the Madeira 44 as having a draft of 2.2 or 1.95m. Quite a difference to 11'8". From the photo it does not look like 11'8" to me.

Also they do not list plans in fibreglass if my eyesight is correct.
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