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Old 06-04-2016, 15:03   #1
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Keel sump repair

Back story-
I bought my 1991 Wauquiez Centurion 42 Hull#55 in April 2012. Planned to do Mexico and some Swiftsure races along with Vic-Maui and possibly Pac Cup etc. Got a pretty deal on her and did the survey. Hired one of the top surveyors in Seattle and the boat looked good to him. And to me.
This boat was built in France, sailed on her bottom to the Caribbean where she was in the charter trade for less than one year. The previous owner bought her down in Guadalupe in 1992 (or so) and had a survey done down there and no problems found with the boat. The PO noted that the boat was missing a bow pulpit and other stuff. It had become the parts boat for some reason even though it was the newest one down there. That was a red flag. He sailed the boat around the Caribbean for 4-5 months then trucked her to BC Canada.
The boat then did 2 or three Vic-Maui races and lots of Swiftsure races while the PO had her. Simply put, the boat had many miles on her when I got her.
In August 2013, I took the boat (Appa) down from Seattle to San Fran with a bunch of buds. We encountered a gale while heading down with winds touching 50 knots or so. No big deal really. The boat took a couple of huge hits from the stern quarter but never lost her footing. In fact, it was a blast.
Once in SF, my wife and kids joined me (kids 3, 8, 16 years old) and we headed down to SD for the HaHa. We had big wind rounding Point Conception and busted the autopilot but the boat did well.
Cruised Mexico for one year and then I headed but to Seattle via Hawaii. Both legs of the Hawaii trip was great fun with winds from 0-40 knots. The Cabo to Hawaii leg was consistent 25 knots of wind the whole way. Epic run.
OK, now it gets interesting. June 2015 I am fighting rectal cancer and I am on the boat feeling like crap after getting chemo. I decide to do something with my time and decide to replace the watermaker line. It runs from the aft cabin to the watertank under the bunk bed cabin which is just forward of the main bulkhead and mast. I run my hand way under the floorboard and then cut my finger on something. It is impossible to view so I take my camera and snap a photo...
The first and second photo are shot facing aft in the bunkroom. This is the main bulkhead with the crack. The mast is keel stepped and on just the other side of this cracked area. The wood is old looking and very dry. It appears that the crack is from some time ago.
So this distressed me quite a bit. I have never hit anything and I contacted the old owner and he denies it also. As I wasn't taking on water and I was on leave from work for cancer treatment, I left it and curtailed sailing which wasn't hard as I didn't feel up to doing much of anything. I did go out sailing once in awhile as if the keel hadn't fallen off yet, I doubted that a daysail would stress it much.
Last month, I hired a fiberglass guy. He is known as minaret here on CF. I showed him that damage and we came up with a plan. Drop the mast and keep the boat in the slip while he grinds out the damaged area and also other problems he was finding.
The grid system in my boat had some delamination at the top of the boxes. These are the photos with the red arrows on them. That is where the delam is. Every box has this. The bottom 5" of the laminate is sound.
Once all that was done, we were going to haul the boat and drop the keel. I was going to check the bolts for corrosion as I had water weeping out of the keel/sump joint last time I hauled out in October 2015 for a transducer replacement.
Dropped the mast on March 11th 2016. Saturday I noticed the bilge pump cycling off and on every 10 minutes. The keel bolts were leaking. <sigh> Hauled the boat that next Tuesday and started to get the keel ready for coming off the boat.
Minaret used a bowsaw to cut the old 5200ish type of adhesive off as I loosened the keel bolts.
You can see the mast in one photo with the crack. This was after I removed the settee in that area. What a job that was. Definitely had to do destructive testing to find this crack. See those bolts through the bulkhead? Minaret figured that the charter company tried to fix the broken bulkhead by using epoxy or something like it by pouring it into the cracked area and then bolting it together. It looked stock. Two surveyors missed this fact. No blame. Just saying.
There is a photo of the shallow sump in my boat with all the bolts off. The backing plates were rotted out but you couldn't tell from all the goop and the nuts covered most of it.
The photo with the keel shows daylight through the forward part of the keel joint. This was with the boat still resting on the keel and the nuts still tight. Bad layup or something else?
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Old 06-04-2016, 15:16   #2
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Re: Keel sump repair

Minaret said he would post here and explain this in more detail.

So we dropped the keel. The bolts looked good but we found major cracking and downward bulging of the fiberglass once the keel stub base was visible as evident in the photo below.
This is the second keel bolt hole going aft. 2" diameter bolt. The first hole is slightly smaller at 1 1/2" or so. It didn't have that much cracking around it.
Other photos are the backing plates, daylight through the keel bolt holes and Appa on the stands.
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Old 06-04-2016, 15:28   #3
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Re: Keel sump repair

First picture is the crack once the mast is out, boat on the hard and settee is gone. It has squeezed together pretty good. This area is getting replaced with G10.
Second picture is the second keel bolt after some grinding. The black area is delamination with saltwater intrusion. All rotted.
Third picture is the 4 keel bolts right after the mast step.
Fourth pic is the same 4 bolts. This is the port side of the stub.
Our thought is the boat got ran aground while in the Caribbean. 8' and change draft in those waters and being a charter boat is just stupid. So run aground and then they tried to fix it. Didn't want to charter it anymore so it sat and had parts taken off it. Along comes PO who buys the boat and sails the hell out of her. I come along and do the same.
Pretty scary to think I was out there in the deep blue and the keel stub was in this kind of shape.
Like Minaret says, many boats have problems that the owner doesn't know about. You know!!
I love the boat and will keep her. Hell, I can't afford not to!!!
More pictures in a bit.
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Old 06-04-2016, 16:32   #4
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Re: Keel sump repair

Man, you are one lucky guy! Not an easy repair, but once repaired should be better than new. (I assume epoxy not polyester resin)
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Old 06-04-2016, 16:34   #5
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Re: Keel sump repair

Don't you just love bolt on keels?


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Old 06-04-2016, 17:15   #6
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Re: Keel sump repair

We are using epoxy for the repair. We were thinking about polyester but decided against it. Spend the money now or spend it later.
Plenty of nightmares out there for both bolt on keels and encapsulated ones. It's a boat. They break.
This is the type of boat I wanted. An old battlewagon of a race boat.
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Old 06-04-2016, 20:39   #7
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Re: Keel sump repair

Nice start! I'll try to add to the story. Gotta download more pics off the phone soon. But to start:


Here we've just hauled the boat. We knew there was an issue, since as soon as the mast was pulled the keel began to leak (bad sign ). We knew the keel had to come off. We built the keel cradle and scraped the seam on day one, depicted here. There was a lot of loose bedding compound and big gaps between keel and keel stub.
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Old 06-04-2016, 20:46   #8
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Re: Keel sump repair

On day two we finished seam scraping and devised methods for speedy and clean keel removal. This time it involved heated hacksaw blades inserted between ballast keel and keel stub, to start the cut in between each set of keel bolts. Once started, a bow saw blade was driven into the seam and then worked back and forth with a man on either side and wired on handles. Worked a treat, extremely easy removal, no damage, no wedges or hammering, keel off by the end of day two. Very quick if I do say so myself!
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Old 06-04-2016, 20:52   #9
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Re: Keel sump repair

Unfortunately, on keel removal the worst suspicions are revealed. Evidence of severe grounding damage.
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Old 06-04-2016, 20:58   #10
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Re: Keel sump repair

An exploratory grind fully reveals the extent of the issue, as usual.
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Old 06-04-2016, 21:03   #11
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Re: Keel sump repair

And on grinding a little deeper:
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Old 06-04-2016, 21:13   #12
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Re: Keel sump repair

The decision is made to effect a full structural repair, and schedule grinding begins. Original hull thickness at the keel bolts is 1 1/4". Approximately 1/2"-5/8" of material is removed from the bottom of the keel stub, tapering up onto the hull. A long and tricky grind. Then a pattern for the new laminate is produced. The math works out to 14 plies of alternating woven roving and biaxial laminate, on a 5/8" taper, as seen on the pattern. This will replace the thickness of material which was removed, matching the taper in the schedule grind. However, most of the material which was removed was matt in production orthotropic polyester resin. It will be replaced by a very high quality layup consisting of only structural fibers in epoxy.
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Old 06-04-2016, 21:18   #13
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Re: Keel sump repair

Cutting table is set up with rolls of glass in position. I'll continue this later, I'm tired and need to eat.
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Old 06-04-2016, 22:04   #14
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Re: Keel sump repair

Yes. Eat and rest. I'll see you tomorrow at the yard!
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Old 07-04-2016, 13:42   #15
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Re: Keel sump repair

Hey great work and post, look forward to,your progress, thanks for sharing!
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