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Old 20-07-2010, 18:48   #1
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Buying First Boat - Keel Questions

Hi All, I am looking at buying my first boat. I found a 1977 Irwin 30 colse with a great price. Tonight the marine pulled it out of the water for an inspection/ survey and I saw a split from the lead keel to the boat. I am wondering if this is a major issue or not. Is it an easy fix, I am pretty handy, or not. Also what causes this? I have looked at over 20 boats and I would say 3/4 of them have this same problem. Any help would be great. Thanks.
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Old 20-07-2010, 19:10   #2
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Are we looking at inches of crack, or feet? I'm guessing 3 feet long. Fore or aft?

If that's just a fiberglass or putty skin cracking along the lead joint to the stubby it's not a huge deal if the bolts are okay.

Anything else, run away.
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Old 20-07-2010, 19:23   #3
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Thanks, I looked at the bolts and they look great. You are correct in the 3 feet long from fore to aft. It seems to just be putty skin cracking. What is the best way to repair this? I am going to repaint the bottom with VC-17 and would like to make sure the crack is fixed and does not come back.
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Old 20-07-2010, 19:34   #4
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An experienced yard will know. The crack will probably always return. Sometimes something softer is used in the joint (3M 5200?)

The surveyor was no help? You may have the wrong surveyor. She should know all about it.
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Old 20-07-2010, 19:37   #5
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surveyor says everything looks good............ Thanks for your help, atleast you have eased my mind that it is not a huge issue. Now how to make it better....
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Old 20-07-2010, 21:13   #6
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Those cracks beween the keel and the keel stub make me nervous. I guess that is the reason I have always had encapsulated ballast on my monohulls. I always wanted to sail offshore, and cracks like that would make me worry when I was in a storm offshore.

I had a friend who had his keel fall off in a storm. Cracks like that are outside my comfort zone. I will stick with encapsulated ballast on my monohulls.
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Old 20-07-2010, 21:24   #7
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IIOHAB, Beware, the keel bolts may be corroded and weakened. the exposure from the crack goes to the bolts. seawater carries millivoltage and amperage. The bolts may have been anodic (sacrificed) while in the water. To be safe the keel should be removed and bolts replaced and reglassed.
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Old 21-07-2010, 03:06   #8
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Thanks for all the replies.. I am not worried about the salt water corrosion, because this boat has only been in fresh water. I plan on keeping it in fresh water also, so no huge storms, or huge waves, to beat it up to baddly I hope....

besides taking off the keel and replacing bolts etc. is there another fix? Could I glass around the keel to fix and prevent?
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Old 21-07-2010, 08:19   #9
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The bolts on your boat are stainless and likely experiencing crevice corrosion (doesn't matter if it's in fresh or salt) at the crack area. This Irwin has a casting bolted to an angled stub keel. It should not have a crack like that. It should have a seam, an even seam or have been faired over, which appears to be the case here.

The putty has to come off. Most of it will likely knock off easily, judging by the crack. The putty cracked because the keel is moving (also possibly some hull flex), so your good looking bolts probably need to be tightened at the very least.

The 2 ton Citation keel is well known and understood. The ballast casting needs to be rebedded, the bolts checked for tightness and if you want, the ballast faired into the stub keel. Unless you're going to race this old IOR 1/2'er, then don't bother with the fairing process. Just smooth out the 5200 and call it a day.


What does this mean? Well, the ballast needs to be dropped down a little, so you can clean off the casting top and the stub keel bottom, plus get a good look at the bolts at a very vulnerable spot. Most of the time you don't have to pull the ballast off, just lower it, which makes aligning it back up easy. A new bead of 3M-5200 and you're good to go, knowing all the bolts are uniformly tight, the ballast/keel interface is sealed and the bolts in good order. Anything less is a crap shoot on a boat this age. Frankly, the bolts are past their replacement schedule, so barrowed time is what you're working on. How lucky are you?
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