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Old 01-03-2011, 12:30   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Sydney
Boat: Lexcen 40 - Leverage
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Dropping the Keel ?


I'm just a couple of months away from setting off and have pretty much gone over the entire boat fixing/replacing most items.

The one thing I haven't touched yet is the keel and keelbolts, apart from making new backing plates for the nuts.

It has been recommended to me by a friend that I should drop the keel and have the keelbolts inspected.

However, I have several limitations - one is that I can only go to one shipyard (no choice here, take this as a given) who I don't really trust.

The other issues are that the keel is lead with stainless bolts. Builder is long gone so we can't ask any questions - but most likely they are cast in with a "J".

Boat was launched circa 1985 and was a racing boat. Keel is quite deep. Boat is 40ft LOA and 8 ft draft..

oh ...and the keel is bolted on with 13 (!) x 3/4" stainless keelbolts. So doing the sums on cross section - (pi x 0.375^2 x 80,000psi x 13) - the bolts should take ~460,000 lbs in tension, but even factoring in dynamic loads etc - there's still a tonne of safety margin here.

Regardless, assuming that we drop the keel - we can't extract the J-bolts to check anyway and will only be able to see the bolt up to the point it enters the keel.

Is it worth doing?

If so, then what should I be looking for - and if there is an issue - is there a remedy apart from replacing the keel? (sistering additional bolts won't work on my boat due to space/geometry reasons)

Thank you muchly in advance!
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Old 01-03-2011, 15:36   #2
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Posts: 679
Re: Dropping the Keel ?

I wouldn't touch it in a fit - and you've given most of the reasons already.

First you won't be able to check the part of the bolts embedded in the keel without wrecking it.

Second, if there is a problem with the top part of the bolts you'll notice leakage a long, long time before anything gets remotely serious. In fact, after leaking for a while it will wobble for a while too to provide additional warning.

And third, all keels are attached with plenty of redundancy and yours is evidently no exception.

So I reckon your instinct is right - forget it and get on your way. Allabest.
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Old 01-03-2011, 19:52   #3
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Location: Toronto, Canada on Lake Ontario
Boat: Roberts Offshore 38
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Re: Dropping the Keel ?

What he wrote.

Clean up the area around the bolts, put some bedding compound down, put your new backing plates in, and torque them. End of problems.

SV Sabre Dance, Roberts Offshore 38
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