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Old 16-10-2014, 23:04   #1
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Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Hello FP Friends,

I know the Helia is balsa core above the waterline... OK with that. On the bottom of the mini-keels where She would go aground, I am told that is PVC foam core by the Broker...

Now I know he goes to France all the time... But not sure he would even know, he might have been answering with what I wanted to hear.. heh he ??? PVC foam core would be the best and no worries...

Does anyone know for sure? It would make sense. I would like to hear if it was indeed closed cell PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) as claimed... It is not the end of the world, even if was the same closed block balsa core. Just if I did any damage going aground in rocky area, it would take longer to dry out in the haul out yard.. The balsa would absorb a small amount of water in a scraped or puncture or cut. I would probably dig out in any punctured small area and epoxy resin it in solid..

Anyone know for sure? Kind regards, Helia 44
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Old 16-10-2014, 23:34   #2
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Now you have my curiosity piqued. You could always talk to another broker, or to the manufacturer, claim to be a perspective buyer, & ask for core samples of the two areas.

Um, & I hate to be indelicate, but if you've got balsa, exposed, open to the sea. I'd put odds on it's needing to be replaced. And at that point, as an owner, I'd demand that it be replaced with CoreCell (ONLY). Pulling up tech specs & surveyors reports on the life spans of & damage reports on various cores, needs be.

I say CoreCell, as of the foams, to the best of my knowledge it's at least on par with Airex. Some would say better even. And leagues better than the other foams out there.
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Old 16-10-2014, 23:36   #3
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Balsa core below and above the waterline, 10 inches at the bottom centerline are solid glass, the deck might be foam , the FG at both sides of the balsa are thin, as far i know and i see ...
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Old 17-10-2014, 01:44   #4
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Not much point going for Corecell on the bottom of the minikeels, as Corecell's claim to fame is it's superior resistance to deformation under repeated impacts, as in wave impacts, not hull puncturing severe rock impacts. So it is used in hulls and understructures that wave impacts could cause delamination. It is also good for minor solid object impacts being a SAN foam, in that it absorbs energy better than other stiffer foams like Divinycell.

The foams are closed cell and do not absorb water if the outer GRP skin is breached, unlike balsa, which absorbs water much moreso.

Solid glass would be better on the minikeel bottoms & I wonder why they don't use an even tougher material, like maybe stainless plate, that has a glass layer over it. Then if you parked it on the rocks, or even on the beach but there was a rock under the keel, it wouldn't grind its way through the GRP and into the core or right through the bottom. Some Lightwave cats had the stainless plate in the keel bottoms, it would be good to hear how that worked out in the long run.
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Old 17-10-2014, 07:49   #5
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

The Helia 44 mini keels and rudders are foam filled with a fiberglass shell. The keel is sacrificial and made to break away from the hull on a large impact. Leaving the hull water tight.
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Old 17-10-2014, 08:27   #6
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

why are you stressing out over something that may not happen you need a hobby

it doesn't matter whether it balsa core or PVC foam. in a grounding event it(the core) would have to be replaced for either physical damage or water damage its DAMAGE. the repair may not be done with the same core material depending on nature and extent of the damage.
don't speculate, just enjoy your boat
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Old 17-10-2014, 08:30   #7
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

if you have grounded hard enough to damage the core then the inner skin will probably need replacement also.

the boat will probably sink so you need not speculate further

that's why you have insurance
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Old 17-10-2014, 08:40   #8
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Aren't the keels sacrificial? If so, then the word "core" is probably not correct. It is most likely foam-filled. If they are sacrificial, there is no core or inner skin and worrying about the foam being wet is misguided.

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Old 17-10-2014, 17:09   #9
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsurvey View Post
if you have grounded hard enough to damage the core then the inner skin will probably need replacement also.

the boat will probably sink so you need not speculate further

that's why you have insurance

Actually no it won't sink. The keels are designed to break away on the FP boats. Cored is not the right term. They are glass over foam like a really big rudder. They are designed to break apart and out without losing the boat. Being in the charter industry I have unfortunately seen several of them broken open. FP actually makes replacements. They are glued into the hull in a socket, think upside down keelson. Even in severe accidents water infiltration is minor.
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Old 18-10-2014, 00:54   #10
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

On our much older FP Maldives the keels are moulded grp foam filled. When we bought the boat it had some keel damage and we just ground out and re-glassed. The boat spent 10 years on a drying mud and stone mooring and apart from some scoring stood up to it pretty well. We always intended to shoe the keels with stainless but never got round to it.
As has been pointed out, the keels are sacrificial and are glued into closed sockets with a Sikaflex type material and can be removed and replaced with new ones from the factory.
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Old 18-10-2014, 03:09   #11
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Why the concern, you seem to ask me as the O.P.??

Well, the truth is I did a big boo-boo. I have crawled all in as far as I can inspecting the structure through hidden access panels, as I route power and reinforced hose for a few things missing like a high pressure salt water pump and routing power and hose for water maker and such... I could see the balsa core stiffening, and a fairly nice job of it, in the superstructure and it appear decks and steps and large hatches are foam core.

Now the big boo-boo was I was insecure about a 20.3 Meter clearance on high tension power lines draped over a channel between a Power Plant and Russel Island. I mean Duh, it might be 4000 volts.. My mast height is 20.6 Meters.. I mean if you have ever looked up at the clearances, you swear you are not going to make it. Delivering a Downeast 45 about 1985 under the Golden Gate Bridge out to sea from San Francisco, and my Wife was hysterical that we were not going to clear. Heh he, Bless her heart.. . It is an optical illusion... Anyway, you never trust the clearance, and I was told to favour the port side going south close to the eastern pylon under the sagging lines of thousands of volts. It was a very low tide near the full moon, and I ran her aground on the rocks suddenly by being over-cautious didn't I..

Now I don't really think I did much damage, thumping her around the rocks a bit hard dead aground, and then backing her out with the current.. But I could have cut the keels a little, or done a few little punctures if he rock edges were sharp. The mini keels on a Helia are at least 3 meters long, maybe 300-400 wide.. maybe more. I do have pictures from the last haul out. Anyway, I did not think they could have any balsa down there, I figured thick fg and foam, and if I could verify that I would not worry about it. Closed cell foam washed out with fresh water will dry in one-two days over summer...

From what I have seen I am very impressed with the construction of the Helia, they did a great job of it. I was only checking so I did not worry. It is one of those silly things you wake up in the middle of the night and fret over ... Heh he..

Thank you for the answers. They would not have put any balsa down there. The hull seems so thick, I may not have even cut or punctured it.. !

Kind regards, Helia 44
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Old 18-10-2014, 06:07   #12
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Is it not possible to dive and inspect them?

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Old 18-10-2014, 15:32   #13
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Re: Core on bottom of Helia 44 mini keels?

Yes... A bit murky, the dive along did not reveal much and could not see much...

It is in the cards to do it again out front of the marina on a nice day in clear water. Foam core, not a worry, any damage would be minor. All I could see is a scratch scrape on one rudder but not structural.. There is a bit of roughness scrape on the bottom, but even a puncture of some sort would not be a problem and minor to attend to with epoxy resin and glass after a fresh water flush and day or two dry out...

I am going to forget the whole matter. She is built pretty strong, and with foam core in the mini keels it could not amount to much anyway.

Thank you all for the responses...
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