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Old 08-07-2012, 14:57   #1
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found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

Hi:

My wife and I found a boat we like. However I think it has a problem, possibly quite serious.

I don't want to identify the boat or even type at this point because we are still interested, and it is somewhat rare. Plus I don't really want to slag someone's boat in public. From what I have researched, the builder holds a good reputation. It is a GRP hull circa 1977 with a full lead encased keel. So no steel ballast or keel bolts. But there is rusty water coming from the keel ...

The aft foot or so of the keel along the bottom edge is broken, and there was very rusty water at one point along the bottom. The only steel suspect I could think of is some kind of embedded SS mount or pivot for the rudder. The owner says no problem, it broke while in the sling and all the SS on this boat is very good.

My take is that there is no way a sling is going to break a SOUND glass fibre laminate that is one or 2 inches thick. The sling will slide until the forces balance somewhere. So my hunch on what is happening is that somehow water got to the SS more or less cut off from oxygen such that the SS started corroding. Then as rust is less dense than steel, the corrosion encouraged delamination of the glass. The sling then exposed damage that was already there.

I have had some feedback from a surveyor (from my description only, he did not see the boat) that my idea on what is happening has some merit, but other opinions are welcome.

What I am really interested in today is assuming my hunch is true, how much of a job would this be to fix both on a DIY basis, or hiring it out? I am thinking I have to destroy the glass to dig out the embedded SS. Then I have to get a piece of SS welded/machined to replace it with. Then I have to feather back about 2 feet and rebed the SS with many layers of glass tapering back gradually so as to effect a sound joint between original and new glass. All the while getting the mount back into just the right place. Then whatever surface gelcoat or epoxy paint.

All boats involve work, but is this perhaps too scary for a newbie to step into? I certainly have other boats on the radar.

Thanks for any input.

Regards,

Boulter
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Old 08-07-2012, 15:25   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulter
Hi:

My wife and I found a boat we like. However I think it has a problem, possibly quite serious.

I don't want to identify the boat or even type at this point because we are still interested, and it is somewhat rare. Plus I don't really want to slag someone's boat in public. From what I have researched, the builder holds a good reputation. It is a GRP hull circa 1977 with a full lead encased keel. So no steel ballast or keel bolts. But there is rusty water coming from the keel ...

The aft foot or so of the keel along the bottom edge is broken, and there was very rusty water at one point along the bottom. The only steel suspect I could think of is some kind of embedded SS mount or pivot for the rudder. The owner says no problem, it broke while in the sling and all the SS on this boat is very good.

My take is that there is no way a sling is going to break a SOUND glass fibre laminate that is one or 2 inches thick. The sling will slide until the forces balance somewhere. So my hunch on what is happening is that somehow water got to the SS more or less cut off from oxygen such that the SS started corroding. Then as rust is less dense than steel, the corrosion encouraged delamination of the glass. The sling then exposed damage that was already there.

I have had some feedback from a surveyor (from my description only, he did not see the boat) that my idea on what is happening has some merit, but other opinions are welcome.

What I am really interested in today is assuming my hunch is true, how much of a job would this be to fix both on a DIY basis, or hiring it out? I am thinking I have to destroy the glass to dig out the embedded SS. Then I have to get a piece of SS welded/machined to replace it with. Then I have to feather back about 2 feet and rebed the SS with many layers of glass tapering back gradually so as to effect a sound joint between original and new glass. All the while getting the mount back into just the right place. Then whatever surface gelcoat or epoxy paint.

All boats involve work, but is this perhaps too scary for a newbie to step into? I certainly have other boats on the radar.

Thanks for any input.

Regards,

Boulter
Yeah, the glass may have broken in the sling--20 years ago! And it may have broken because he ran it aground 25 years ago--thereby weakening it for the sling. Stainless doesn't rust overnight, and water doesn't pour from recent damage from the sling. The seller is lying to you. Run away.

Since you don't know what is rusting, it's hard to estimate what the repairs will entail. Just remember, somebody who once loved this boat is now willing to lie to get it out of his life.

Go rescue something else.
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Old 08-07-2012, 15:29   #3
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

Some photo's would be good, lower grades of SS will bleed some colour but it sounds like some real steel/irons is there.

When you say a full lead encased keel, i don't understand what it's encased in? GRP? STEEL? or do you mean it's a lump of lead????

Really a good surveyor would be the go, the fix may be easy BUT get a proper survey, the seller may not be giving you the true story, it happens....

Get a surveyor
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Old 08-07-2012, 15:32   #4
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

Probably had water from leaking tank, seeped to the bottom of the keel and froze during the winter causing the glass damage. Also there is no guarantee that it's all lead in the encapsulated keel. Manufacturers did some strange things in areas where you can't see.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:37   #5
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagoon4us View Post
Some photo's would be good, lower grades of SS will bleed some colour but it sounds like some real steel/irons is there.

When you say a full lead encased keel, i don't understand what it's encased in? GRP? STEEL? or do you mean it's a lump of lead????

Really a good surveyor would be the go, the fix may be easy BUT get a proper survey, the seller may not be giving you the true story, it happens....

Get a surveyor
Thanks guys for the comments.

Unfortunately, I do not have photographs, and if I did, would not show much. The wet rusty spot was about 1/4 inch in diameter. If it had not been so deep red, I never would have noted it as wet.

I probably mangled my description. The keel is full fiberglass, one with the balance of the hull, and one can see into it way down below the waterline, some 3 or 4 feet below the engine. Down there somewhere is lead, but frankly I don't know how exactly this is done. I am sure there is a simple way of getting this across, but it eludes me for now. So my take on it is that there is no steel anywhere in the vicinity except whatever might be there that is involved with the rudder bearing.

I suppose another possible explanation is that the keel is holed or cracked, and rusty water is coming out of the bilge.

Boulter
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:13   #6
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

If it is an encapsulated lead keel, the lead is not at the bottom of the deep hole you were looking down into. That is the sump, and the lead is forward of that area. A deep bilge sump is a good thing on a boat, but are hell to clean or to retrieve tools etc. from the bottom. A wrench dropped into the bilge can quickly create a big ball of rust. Yes! a sling can do damage to a keel, but a grounding or as has been stated before, water that froze can easily cause cracks or separation in the keel area. There is a fellow on this forum called Boatpoker that wrote a very informative article on surveying. It would help anyone looking to buy a boat. Maybe someone can post the link to his writing. Good luck with your search.______Grant.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:14   #7
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
If it is an encapsulated lead keel, the lead is not at the bottom of the deep hole you were looking down into. That is the sump, and the lead is forward of that area. A deep bilge sump is a good thing on a boat, but are hell to clean or to retrieve tools etc. from the bottom. A wrench dropped into the bilge can quickly create a big ball of rust. Yes! a sling can do damage to a keel, but a grounding or as has been stated before, water that froze can easily cause cracks or separation in the keel area. There is a fellow on this forum called Boatpoker that wrote a very informative article on surveying. It would help anyone looking to buy a boat. Maybe someone can post the link to his writing. Good luck with your search.______Grant.
This sounds about right. Quite a few boats have a hollow section at the aft part o the keel. For whatever reason water has been trapped there and seeping out. Is it really rusty? smell it! or does it smell like cheap vinegar? then it's osmosis most likely. I've seen this dealt with by cutting out a section of the hollow part of the keel, having it dry out propery and then filled with resin and reglassed. Impossible to say or sure w/o inspecting it.

If you really like this boat, take a profesional shipwright/bot builder with EXPERIENCE in these things to make a closer inspection. This probably means yu'd have to drill a hole or two into this area so the owner would have to approve obviously. It needs to be fixed anyway but on a full-keeler I wouldn't worry about serious structural matters......unless, God forbid it, the ballast is NOT encapsulated lead but steel scrap. IF so- walk away! There are SO many good old boats out there.

Keep us posted!
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:54   #8
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

Get a good magnet, tie a string to it and drop it down the sump. If you don,t find a wrench or something go to the keel and find out if it is really a lead keel.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:30   #9
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

As was said. It could be anything in there. My friend is just patching up a keel that had just a minor crack from being compressed by his cradle. Then it started leaking water, black stuff, soap and this is after 15 years of being high and dry. It turned out to be just below the shower in the head and is a deep void forward of the lead in the keel.
kind regards,
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Old 11-07-2012, 13:52   #10
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
It turned out to be just below the shower in the head and is a deep void forward of the lead in the keel.
kind regards,
Wow, that's innovative!! I bet the builder designed it as a 'collition pad' of sorts....so ingenious

If you want a proper boat -build it!! -is what comes to my mind
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:13   #11
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Re: found one we like, rust coming from keel ...

Many of the cheap tool outlets sell very strong magnets for not many dollars. The idea of tieing it to a string(fairly strong string) to see what is in the sump is good. I think that if you check the outside of the keel with the magnet, it will stick even through 1/2inch of glass or more, if the ballest is iron. Another way of checking is to take a hand held compass and move it in and out near the keel. Stay away from the steel stands or cradle if you can, but an iron keel will spin that compass a lot while a lead keel will not make the compass move. You might get some movement from the cradle. Walk around the boat yard and try that on a few boats and you will notice a big differance with iron keels. A low cost non intrusive test. Good Luck_____Grant.
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