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Old 15-10-2014, 11:56   #16
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Re: Cracked Keel Question -- Watkins 27 1979

Originally Posted by MaryeO View Post
Hi Everyone -- brand new member here. I am looking for some insight about what I'm looking at with this boat -- I intend to get survey before purchase, but want a heads up about what could be going on if anyone has ideas. Thank you for your time...

I'm looking at this Watkins 27 1979. I love it. Everything I've researched, being aboard it yesterday, it's perfect for me. However, the keel is cracked (see pics I took yesterday),

and leaking water out of the cracks, and is actually squishy around the cracks. The bilge was full (boat is up on blocks).

Is it possible the bilge is leaking through the hull into the keel? Or the hull itself leaking? I'm hopeful that the cracks have simply allowed water to get inbetween the fiberglass and the core of the keel, and is therefore a case of simply grinding/sanding/reglassing which I would have done at the boatyard.

Bilge is being drained, and boat will hopefully dry out fully over next couple of days. I understand that keel is molded with the hull, but does that mean it's all one piece? I know it's not a bolt on keel. From Watkins Owners site:

"One-piece solid hand-laid hull with internal ballast fiberglassed in place.
· Hull interior gelcoated
· No external iron or steel to rust
· Examine other’s keel-to-hull joint. You may see gaps, fillers, rust, cracks. Ours assures fairness."

"Keel: All models are shallow draft with internal ballast except the W36 which has a lead bolt on keel. This means that the keel is molded of fiberglass as a hollow integral part of the hull mold and filled afterwards with ballast. Early models have a lead pre-form inserted into the keel cavity and surrounded by liquid resin."

Anyway, thoughts or ideas? I'm learning all I can (have only sailed a sunfish before and this will be my first bigger sailboat). I'm trying to understand if the keel/hull is one part, or if just molded at same time but still separate.

Thanks in advance for any of your time and info.
Watkins have encapsulated keels...any water in the bilge will find its way down to the bottom of the keel... they are known for having delamination issues around the base of the keel. Some users even put drains in the keel and leave them open when the boat gets hauled out for the winter so the water can drain and not freeze in place.

The keels on later models were mostly steel and concrete. Water penetrates the concrete and the steel begins to rust.

Get a Surveyor familiar with these boats!

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Old 15-10-2014, 12:59   #17
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Boat: None,build the one shown of glass, had many from 6' to 48'.
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Re: Cracked Keel Question -- Watkins 27 1979

Unless you are getting it free. Walk away.

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Old 22-10-2014, 08:53   #18
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Re: Cracked Keel Question -- Watkins 27 1979


Where is this boat located??? I may know it..

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