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Old 16-02-2007, 21:06   #1
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New Keel?

Hello all,

I am thinking about buying a 1974 Clipper Marine MK26. I am going to get it for pratically nothing. It hasn't seen water in a while. The only think holding me back is the fact that the swing keel is rusted into its cavity in the hull. I think I may be able to break away the rust and remove it. It has some shape to it. So here are the questions for the experts...

Can something like this be removed and sanded,painted, replaced?

If not where can I get another one?

Should I just say no to this boat?

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Thanks a lot.

I will take some pictures of it tomorrow and then post them up for your further analysis.

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Old 16-02-2007, 21:22   #2
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The first thing that comes to mind is what shape is the trunk in? If the keel is rusted in place, I would be very reluctant to purchase this boat. A deal is only a deal as long as you can keep it a bargain when you have what you want.

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Old 16-02-2007, 22:41   #3
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1) Can something like this be removed and sanded,painted, replaced?
You could probably put the boat in a suitable cradle and apply abnormal persuasion.
Suitable props will need to be placed under the keel becase it may come free suddenly. I assume it weighs several hundred kilos. Be very careful if you try this. Do not have any part of you anywhere under it and keep fingers and toes well clear.
In doing so some damage will almost certainly occur to the fibreglass which will also need to be repaired.
A small amount of steel generates a large amount of rust so repair is not out of the question.
It is very possible that the lifting mechanism is damaged beyond repair so new parts will need to be fabricated.
2) If not where can I get another one?
Marine engineers (machinists) , welding shops and galvanising works are frequently cooperative.
3) Should I just say no to this boat?
Similar boats in what appears to be working order seem to be available for around the $5,000 mark. Not too much more might buy one in top notch condition.
The condition of the keel is almost certain to be refected in the rest of the boat.
Repair will almost certainly take more than 3 months. Buying a boat in working order could have you sailing this summer, rather than burried in muck.
Propping up a boat and working on it is dangerous.
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Old 17-02-2007, 01:11   #4
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There is tons of info on CM26's. The archives have more info then one can absorb!
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Old 17-02-2007, 11:27   #5
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Aloha Drexel,
When in the market to find my very own first boat the very first one that I looked at was a Clipper Marine 26. All of my new found boating "expert" friends said to stay away from it and told me what to look for in problems. Push on the sides of the hull. If the hull bends (oil canning) stay away from it. Walk on the foredeck. If the deck gives and feels spongy stay away from it. If the centerboard doesn't raise and lower easily stay away from it.
My intentions were to have as large a boat as cheaply as possible to sail out in the open ocean (leeward of the islands). I did not buy the Clipper Marine even though for its length it was very cheap. I looked at a Cal 2-25 and it had a delaminating bulkhead and compression post so I didn't buy it. I settled on a fin keeled Catalina 22 for about the same price as the other two boats and was very happy with it.
This is a long story for telling you that you should look for certain problems and then take the advice of others on the forum and look for another boat. You'll be spending energy and money on something that will not give you performance and pleasure once its all put back in good shape. Regardless of all the time you spend reinforcing all the areas where the boat was cheaply built the resale value will be low because it is a Clipper Marine 26.
Kind Regards,
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Old 17-02-2007, 13:21   #6
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Originally Posted by delmarrey

There is tons of info on CM26's. The archives have more info then one can absorb!
Wow! that's an awesome archive / resource!


Especially as the vessel you are looking at is not perfect (LOL!), as someone new to all things boaty this should be invaluable to you, it is always more useful to be able to talk with folk with the same vessel (their are always "issues" (quirks?!) which are specific to each vessel), and preferably someone who has already done the same jobs. (BTW not trying to get rid of yer!)

As I said in one of my previous posts, I am not hands on familiar with drop keel boats, but anyway.......

It may well be that the mechanism is stuck, rather than (or as well as?) the keel - so maybe worth trying to disconnect this? Drop keels got in there somehow and if their is no access from the top - the bottom is where it went in , so once disconnected from the mechanism it should be removable the same way. I would do lots of research and close inspection of what you have so you clearly understand what you are trying to do (and have in fact released all the fixings??!!).

With a bit of luck the keel might be stuck with "only" a combination of some rust and a lot of marine growth. and maybe a few pebbles thrown in, if she was kept on a drying mooring.

Maybe try with a hosepipe or a pressure washer, maybe also using detergent? and then a long flat stick / metal rod to see if you can dislodge / wash the rust / cr#p out plus a bit of "gentle persuassion" and then the application of "brute force", if needed. I would be surprised if it would not come out (eventually) and you needed to cut into the centre board case or it had done any serious damage.....but of course no guarantees........

The problem as you already know is their is only so much you can try (if anything) before the boat is yours.......I don't know if their is any easy answer to that - maybe be prepared to risk your $250 by telling the owner that you will buy if you can free the keel beforehand, unless you break anything and then you buy it! (in any case I would be surprised if you could not E-bay the entire vessel or some of the parts for at the very least $100.........I would risk it even if the owner does not let you have a go at the keel beforehand, but of course it is not my money or time!)

Whatever you do, when you find yourself peering up the centre board case with a torch and then poking things with a stick, make sure that their is something substantial apart from you to catch the keel when Gravity finally takes over.

Once you have got it out, can you fix it? I would be surprised if it was that far gone you could not - a Keel is deliberately a big lump, should be plenty left over once cleaned up. But don't quote me on that!
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Old 17-02-2007, 14:56   #7
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Tell this guy that you will buy it if you can get the centerboard to drop, if he can not deal with that simple request tell him to pack salt.
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Old 17-02-2007, 14:59   #8
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I think it's junk, you should walk away. But first call me with the guy's contact info....LOL
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Old 17-02-2007, 15:19   #9
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You could try telling him if he pays you five hundred dollars you will take it of his hands.
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Old 11-08-2009, 16:10   #10
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74 clipper

Hi, for what it's worth, I bought a 26 clipper that had been left in salt water for 5 years. The owner's trailer had rotted away and he was in poor health, so no one to do anything with the boat. The boat it self seemed in great shape, except for the part under the water. two inches of barnacles on hull rudder and keel, which was all the way down because the cable had rusted away. I also bought the boat for very little. The only reason I did buy it was that I had a new one just like it in 1976, and loved the boat. If you are willing and able to do some hard work, It probably will pay off. The keel is cast iron and will be full of surface rust, which will flake off when tapped with a welders hammer. Block up the boat well off the ground, I used a large floor jack under the keel and then pulled out the 5/8 " bolt in the center board trunk and lowered the keel to the ground. Grind it down to metal , paint it with a good rust preventive
paint and reverse the process. The winch is a fulton brake winch, that fits in there with a 3/16" stainless cable. You can go to the clipper marine message index, a forum for clipper owners and find out what you need to know.

Contrary to a lot of folks opinions, the clipper is a ell made boat and

a dream to sail. Wouldn't go to the islands in it tho.

Fair winds, Tom in Tampa
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Old 11-08-2009, 16:25   #11

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I'd try thumping around on the keel trunk with a rubber hammer. If the rust chunks start to fall just keep thumping till it frees up. I had an aquarius 23 with iron swing. It kept losing metal till started to get dull thumps with a hammer. I replaced it with 316 stainless at considerable cost. Had metal shop cut to shape and weld stop on for nominal charge.

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