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Old 10-07-2013, 02:08   #1
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Cracks in Skeg

I am starting to plan my project to repair/finish a custom fiberglass over cold molded wood boat and one issue I need to address is a couple of cracks in the skeg which I believe to be built of laminated plywood sections with a covering of fiberglass.
The boat has been on the hard for four years and was used for only two weeks prior to that. I am not sure how long it was ever in the water for, perhaps a year or two at most.
Here are the photos. How would you repair these cracks?
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Old 10-07-2013, 02:24   #2
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Re: Cracks in skeg

First off I'd say you want to grind back the fibreglass so you can see damage to underlying structure before you can decide on further steps
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:32   #3
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Re: Cracks in skeg

That's a good start. The body of the skeg sounded good when I tapped on it with my knuckles at least. I plan to open it up a bit to see if the underlying wood is damaged though I don't really expect it to be (hoping anyway)...
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:05   #4
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Re: Cracks in skeg

Can you tell us what the protrusions are on either side of the skeg? Also, is not your avatar photo of a different boat?

Warwick's right, you have to open it up to see what you're dealing with. At least there are not going to be teredo worms in it!

Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:15   #5
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Re: Cracks in skeg

That is just the way that the skeg is constructed. It's fatter than the specification and I think the builder built it up in layers and glassed it. It is the same boat as my avatar...You can see it on my blog at www.reliant49.blog.com
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:44   #6
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Re: Cracks in skeg

The crack in the skeg tells you that it is not strong enough to take the loads being put on it by the rudder. If you are lucky the problem can be fixed by grinding off the glass and replacing it with a thicker and heavier grade. If you are unlucky the problem lies within the wooden core which is flexing too much and fracturing the fiberglass. Fixing that would involve rebuilding the entire skeg to be heavier and stronger then glassing over it.

I can't comment further because I know nothing about the construction of the skeg.

The crack in the keel seems to be following the lead - hull join. Chances are the boat is telling you that it cannot handle the weight of the lead. If you are lucky the solution will be simply to tighten the keel bolts with a torque wrench because they were not tight enough in the first place. If the nuts do not respond to tightening then you know that the section of the skeg where the bolts are attached is not strong enough and has sagged. The $64 question is whether that sagging is a one off compression of the skeg and has stopped or that it might continue due to lack of strength in the core of the skeg.

I do not know enough to comment further on this issue either. I can say that dropping the lead off a hull to rebuild the keel skeg is a seriously big job. For starters you will probably need a custom cradle to hold the hull during work and the yard might well insist on the rig being removed before work starts.
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Old 10-07-2013, 19:39   #7
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Re: Cracks in skeg

I took another look at your survey. Neither crack rates a mention.

Get a lawyer before you get a shipwright and throw more good money after bad.

Cut your losses.
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Old 10-07-2013, 20:20   #8
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Could be the wood is fine but the glass could not deal with expansion of the material (wood) below as its moisture content increases. We know that the wood is now wet and the glass has fractured.
What that means relates to the structure. You would be best finding owners of similar boats. This could be a minor thing and adding glass would fix this. Maybe more. No way a forum is getting to the root of this.
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Old 10-07-2013, 20:55   #9
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Re: Cracks in skeg

"Get a lawyer before you get a shipwright and throw more good money after bad".

My lawyer already looked at it and said it will buff right out!

I believe the wood will be fine since it sounds good and uniform when I tap it and the wood right at the crack is solid. On the small chance it needs more major work, I can do the work myself. I don't need a shipwright and I certainly don't need a lawyer.
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Old 10-07-2013, 21:59   #10
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Re: Cracks in skeg

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceDog View Post
"Get a lawyer before you get a shipwright and throw more good money after bad".

My lawyer already looked at it and said it will buff right out!

I believe the wood will be fine since it sounds good and uniform when I tap it and the wood right at the crack is solid. On the small chance it needs more major work, I can do the work myself. I don't need a shipwright and I certainly don't need a lawyer.



Grind the glass back and get some moisture meter readings on the ply. Replace if compromised, dry if not. Then glass it back up, fair and coat, and away you go! Unless you find a bunch of wet wood...
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Old 10-07-2013, 22:24   #11
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Re: Cracks in skeg

Those are some nasty ass looking cracks for a boat that has never been to sea or run aground.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:36   #12
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Re: Cracks in skeg

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceDog View Post
"Get a lawyer before you get a shipwright and throw more good money after bad".

My lawyer already looked at it and said it will buff right out!

I believe the wood will be fine since it sounds good and uniform when I tap it and the wood right at the crack is solid. On the small chance it needs more major work, I can do the work myself. I don't need a shipwright and I certainly don't need a lawyer.
Oh well, those may well turn into famous last words.

The information you have supplied suggests that you have bought an amateur built boat from a guy who didn't know what he was doing. The photographs show that the boat is under strength but not why. Finding out could prove very expensive.

You have already questioned why it was for sale so soon after launching. Maybe it was for sale because it had started falling apart.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:49   #13
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Re: Cracks in skeg

The angle grinder will tell you more - odds are the ply has swelled / delaminated.......what caused the original problem is the big question, if the boat is a DIY build would be useful to look at the plans and see what the original spec was meant to be and whether any difference to what was built and ideally find some sister ships / owners. If no difference (apparent) might be worth waving the plans at someone who can tell if the original spec was up to the job......

Surprised (sort of!) that the surveyor did not spot it, given he probably has PII insurance I would definitely be asking my lawyer about making a claim.

I think you need to take a long hard look at the boat and it's problems before spending too much (more) time, effort and cash on her..........
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:27   #14
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Re: Cracks in skeg

Here are photos of both sides of the skeg taken for the Yachtworld ad. They clearly show that neither side of the skeg had a crack in it when the boat was put up for sale. The boat has not been in the water since then. I believe that both cracks are the result of a boatyard incident. Perhaps the boat got dropped during a move. Anyway, I am not overly concerned. To my eye, the large crack looked fresh and the lower one looked older but I don't think the boat has been in the water with either crack open.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:52   #15
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Re: Cracks in skeg

And finally, a photo taken by the surveyor in February showing the skeg with a smaller crack which has grown since the boat was moved from the long term storage yard to the work yard.
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