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Old 30-05-2011, 16:27   #1
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Keel Repair - PICS

I just bought my first sailboat. Took it out of the water and found this big hole on the keel.

I am a newbie on this world but I am good with my hands.
How bad does it looks? Can I fix it on my own or do I need some professional to do it?

What would be the procedure?

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Old 30-05-2011, 18:23   #2
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

wow...I assume that is the leading edge. Looks like it hit something hard enough to hole the keel cavity and split the hull. Hull may have been built with a seam at the center. More info needed. If you are not taking on water then I guess it's going inside a keel cavity sealed at the top (?). Are there any loose iron punchings or other ballast things in there? (flashlight). The hard part will be drying it out. (enclose the keel hole with visqueen and use an air conditioner for a few of days to dry it out??) Fair the glass to a feather edge, after cutting your glass pieces ahead of time in larger and larger pieces, wet the existing ground areas with resin mix, then glass it good. Grind smooth to match the shape. If that cavity is hollow I would consider filling it with something....grind the split portion concave and fill with glass/resin. The key being to grind enough to as much fresh bonding area as possible. (check out boat glass repair on line for more details)
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Old 30-05-2011, 18:33   #3
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

Time to call a lawyer because the previous owner should have disclosed that.

ciao!
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Old 30-05-2011, 19:17   #4
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

uh .. you didn't haul the boat before you bought it?
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Old 30-05-2011, 19:41   #5
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

Chhchako pretty much covered the repair. Easily done by you. I'd use epoxy resin rather than Polyester for better bonding and waterproofing. Might even throw in a layer of carbon fiber or Kevlar to protect from the next grounding.

I sure hope the seller told you about the problems with the keel. This is a bit more extensive than a little scratch from a grounding.
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Old 30-05-2011, 19:44   #6
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

Buy the cloth/woven roving with the matt stitched to it. Way easier to work with than separate layers of matt and roving/cloth. Lay on a layer of cloth and matt, then roving and matt to build thickness with a finish layer of cloth and matt for better fairing. Hope you like the itchies cause the grinding is going to produce a lot fiberglass dust.
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Old 30-05-2011, 20:02   #7
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
uh .. you didn't haul the boat before you bought it?
Funny, that was my thought as well.
Having said that the repair is not difficult, any competant handyman can achieve the desired result. Make sure the glass is DRY before even attempting any repair. Good luck.
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Old 30-05-2011, 20:24   #8
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

There are some big lessons to be learned here to all who are about to buy a boat...spend lots of time on the boat looking in every nook and cranny, hire a good surveyor, be there when the boat is hauled and be ready to walk away from any deal that doesn't look so good at any stage of the survey.

Good luck on the repairs. Hire a qualified person to give you some on site advice (or do the work). You can find some good information on fiber glass repair on the West epoxy web site.

You may need a marine architect to work out how much ballast you will need to add if all the ballast has rusted out...depends on what you find inside the keel.

Or, as Nick says
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Old 30-05-2011, 20:33   #9
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

What type of ballast is used on this boat? Whatever is in there is probably not better from the water ingress. From these photos It's hard to tell what will be needed to make this right, and there may have been enough of an impact to have caused other damage. Check for cracks around the rear of the keel as keel impact damage often creates stress cracks there. Cracks in the hull may show up in other places too like at the edge of any structural tabbing/bulkheads etc. where impact stress may have found a weaker spot in the hull. Cracks, delamination, water damage, corrosion of ballast, corrosion of keel bolts and other problems will all need to be looked for.

If you are lucky this was caused by abrasive groundings and simply wore away the glass on the leading edge with no damage in other areas. If your luck continues the ballast is lead and the fiberglass is well adhered to the ballast within inches around the damaged area. With this sort of problem the repair may only involve grinding away the glass until you get to fully laminated areas all around the damage. Then clean the ballast up and coat with epoxy and lay up plenty of new glass, fair, paint, and go.. Chop mat will shape to the contours well and help with adhesion, something like a biax will be easy to work with, provide good strength etc. If you can get things close enough with your layup you can finish with finish cloth and have minimal fairing left.

Getting things dry/clean etc. could be a challenge and require a lot of material removal, especially if there is a large area of delamination between glass and ballast moving up and back along the ballast/keel. There could also be lots of corrosion etc.. If you don't have things clean and dry before starting the epoxy/glass layup your repair will not be effective and will be a source of ongoing problems.

A surveyor or expert that can help you assess the damage and repair strategy should be brought in at this point. I'd also be in touch with the previous owner and if enough money is/was involved a lawyer should be a part of the conversation..

Good luck with it,

Jonathan
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Old 30-05-2011, 21:00   #10
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

How did this boat stay afloat???
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Old 30-05-2011, 21:04   #11
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

It looks like an encapsulated ballast which means that the keel is sealed/glassed all the way around. Water could probably work its way all around the cavity that holds the ballast without getting into the bilge. There may not even be keel bolts of any sort. These keels often have multiple cavities that are filled with ballast and then glassed over/sealed so the water may have been limited to a small segment of keel, or if the glass is still laminated around the damage water may not have traveled more than a few inches into the keel.

Of course there may be some other explanation since I'm guessing based on a few pictures.

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Old 30-05-2011, 22:55   #12
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

I see inspection scopes on sale now for under $150. Might be useful in cases like this.
Ryobi Tek4 Digital Inspection Scope - RP4205 at The Home Depot
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Old 30-05-2011, 23:00   #13
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

Definitely encapsulated ballast. I've found all kinds of wierdness in encapsulated keel cavities, from the one that was full of raw sewage, to a Fuji 32 that was built in Japan and had surplus Pachinko balls for ballast. They poured Pachinko balls-sorta like pinballs-and cement into the keel cavity and glassed it over. Problem on that one was they poured the balls first and the cement didnt make it to the bottom of the pile of balls. When we ground the keel seam out for a repair similar to the op's, about a thousand rusty pachinko balls rolled out! Getting them back in was the fun part...
Easy enough repair technically speaking but it'll take some work. PO definitely got over here, as previously stated. However the large vertical seam you're seeing may not be as bad as it looks. Often when boats are built in a split mold they only glass the inside of the seam and just fill and fair the outside. An impact can cause enough flex to cause the fairing to fail while the glass on the inside is still fine. I've seen some really big hull seams from the factory, sometimes as much as 1/2" gap just filled up with pucky and coated over.
You might take a look at your bulkhead tabbing too. I see a lot of boats get repairs to the keel or hull and then get signed off on by a surveyor without ever going inside. When I check I often find failed bulkhead tabbing as the result of the collision.
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Old 30-05-2011, 23:23   #14
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

First. It is not that bad.

Second. Read all the comments that say things like 'you should have... bla bla'... and never listen to any thing they ever say again. Yes, sure they are right about the pre-purchase haul out... but saying it now is pointless.


Congrats on your new boat. It is not too bad, get an angle grinder, grind out everything that is bad and see what you have left.

Take more pictures, post them here and go from there... note the names of the folks who are reasonable, and those who are not... (those who just bust your chops for what you SHOULD have done are not).

Go to West Marine, get the free pamphlet on 'West Systems' epoxy, and read all about repair....

You may elect to buy west system, or go with another product... West is easy for the beginner.

The bottom line is you CAN fix this, it is not a big deal... it is not the end of the world, it is just that you are going to know your boat a little better. I bet you like her, or you would not have bought her... remind yourself of that when you are reading any discouraging comments that follow this one....

Fair Winds,



Quote:
Originally Posted by zuzullo View Post
I just bought my first sailboat. Took it out of the water and found this big hole on the keel.

I am a newbie on this world but I am good with my hands.
How bad does it looks? Can I fix it on my own or do I need some professional to do it?

What would be the procedure?

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Old 31-05-2011, 00:01   #15
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Re: Keel repair - PICS

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Buy the cloth/woven roving with the matt stitched to it. Way easier to work with than separate layers of matt and roving/cloth..
And how does that work with the epoxy carbon fibre and Kevlar you recommended in the previous post
Quote:
I'd use epoxy resin rather than Polyester for better bonding and waterproofing. Might even throw in a layer of carbon fiber or Kevlar
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