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Old 23-07-2015, 10:11   #1
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Replacement Keel Bolts

We have three yachts in our sailing school fleet - 2 Jeanneau Sun Odysseys and 1 Beneteau Oceanis - as part of the annual summer refit we would like to replace the keel bolts on all of them - they are all pre 2000 built and to our knowledge have not had replacement bolts fitted. Where is the best place to get the specifications for each of the boat's keel bolts, and where is the best place to source them - we are based in Antigua, West Indies/Caribbean - looking forward to hearing from you!!!
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Old 23-07-2015, 19:03   #2
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Email or call the builders.
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Old 24-07-2015, 11:14   #3
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Usually keel bolts are made on site from steel rod. Threaded as necessary. If you use stainless, make sure it's an alloy that doesn't corrode when submerged.
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Old 24-07-2015, 11:41   #4
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Is there a problem with the keel bolts? These are not something that are usually replaced just as a matter of routine maintenance. Replacing keel bolts is usually complicated and expensive, and so it is only done when it really NEEDS to be done.
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Old 24-07-2015, 14:19   #5
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

We are aware that the keel bolts have not been replaced on any of the boats in the last 8 years at least - they are all going to be structurally surveyed during the summer refit - they are all in commercial use, and in the light of recent tragedies we feel that it is likely that replacing them will be prudent - we are simply trying to find a simple, single source for the required bolts to avoid extra expense in shipping them to Antigua - we need to find a supplier who knows how to find the relevant information or who can deliver the bolts if we find the specifications. It will also be sensible to have the parts here before hauling the yachts - don't want the structural survey to tell us we need to replace the bolts, and then have the boat in the yard for sometime awaiting the parts delivery to Antigua!
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Old 24-07-2015, 17:52   #6
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

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Originally Posted by Jim Walsh View Post
Email or call the builders.
Email or call the builders.
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Old 24-07-2015, 18:17   #7
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

It is a relatively easy job if the keel was tapped and bolts inserted however most/many of these boats had the bolts cast into the keel and now you are looking at a different level of work. Hats off for trying to be proactive in your safety program.
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Old 24-07-2015, 18:24   #8
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Take 'em all out, check them for rust, etc.
Put 'em back in...WHOOPS ! Where are the keel threads?
They were there before....
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Old 24-07-2015, 18:26   #9
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Quote:
Originally Posted by pippatheskippa View Post
We are aware that the keel bolts have not been replaced on any of the boats in the last 8 years at least - they are all going to be structurally surveyed during the summer refit - they are all in commercial use, and in the light of recent tragedies we feel that it is likely that replacing them will be prudent - we are simply trying to find a simple, single source for the required bolts to avoid extra expense in shipping them to Antigua - we need to find a supplier who knows how to find the relevant information or who can deliver the bolts if we find the specifications. It will also be sensible to have the parts here before hauling the yachts - don't want the structural survey to tell us we need to replace the bolts, and then have the boat in the yard for sometime awaiting the parts delivery to Antigua!
The recent tragedies I have heard about were not caused by the keel bolts. It was plastic boat parts that failed.

You need a lot more information than just where to buy some bolts. There is a lot more to this job than having the bolts at the ready. Anyway they usually aren't bolts but rather threaded rod. Replacing them is a significant task for an experienced professional and should only be done if recommended by a qualified surveyor. This is not a DIY job unless it's also your day job.
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Old 24-07-2015, 18:43   #10
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

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Originally Posted by pippatheskippa View Post
We are aware that the keel bolts have not been replaced on any of the boats in the last 8 years at least - they are all going to be structurally surveyed during the summer refit - they are all in commercial use, and in the light of recent tragedies we feel that it is likely that replacing them will be prudent - we are simply trying to find a simple, single source for the required bolts to avoid extra expense in shipping them to Antigua - we need to find a supplier who knows how to find the relevant information or who can deliver the bolts if we find the specifications. It will also be sensible to have the parts here before hauling the yachts - don't want the structural survey to tell us we need to replace the bolts, and then have the boat in the yard for sometime awaiting the parts delivery to Antigua!

In other words, lots of groundings.....
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Old 24-07-2015, 20:05   #11
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
In other words, lots of groundings.....
That, or that the boats were in harbors where there were excessively high levels of stray current in the water. Which you KNOW has caused corrosion at advanced rates in the bolts.

BTW, if you're seriously thinking on replacing the bolts, & it sounds as if you are. Aside from getting the original specifications & blueprints on the keel attachments, it'd be wise to consult with an engineer to see what your other options aside from plain stainless steel are.
For instance; Nitronic-50/Aquamet, Monel or Monel K-500, the "old standbys" (such as various Bronze alloys), & other options, besides: 304/306 or 316 Stainless. Which tend to have longer lifespans when immersed.

Some of the information on these materials can be found on www.matweb.com such as their strengths. But you also should look into their cost, (relative, respective) longevities, & corrosion resistance, etc.

I state all of the above, because if the original keel bolts are made out of a couple of the more common stainless steel alloys, there are a lot better choices to make/replace them with. And such choices needn't be exceedingly expensive either.

Also, as already mentioned, while the proactive maintenance is to be applauded. Unless you know that there is a problem with the current bolts, it's pretty early on in their life to be swapping them out. Especially given that doing so can be incredibly expensive (and highly, technically, involved).
Even just replacing them with the exact same replacements, may require; an engineer, specialized yard work, custom tooling, special materials, controlled destruction of certain portions of both the keels & hulls, plus later rebuilding of same....

In addition, I don't think that it's been mentioned yet in this thread. But it's fairly common practice, if one is possibly contemplating replacing keelbolts. To pull out one or two for inspection, first. In order to ascertain as to whether doing such an involved & expensive job is necessary at the present time.
And even just pulling one or two, for inspection, often is quite expensive.

Also, I believe that there are methods of non-destructive testing, which allow for inspection of the bolts, without their even having to be pulled out (as in, not even one or two). So, such would definitely bear looking into. As would determining what the current bolts are made of, & how they were fitted into their attaching structures.

So basically, as stated by others already, the more information which you can find out from the original designers & builders, so as to prevent unnecessary, expensive "wrenching" on the boats, the better.

Talk to the already mentioned sources, in addition to some of the well qualified engineers & surveyors on here, & found via the standard resource bodies for such. And also, you'd likely be well served by doing some focused reading in Professional Boatbuilder (magazine). And or, by contacting some of both the writers for/in said periodical, as well as it's editing staff. Who tend to be exceedingly well educated on such subjects, & many others.
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Old 24-07-2015, 20:09   #12
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Assuming the Bene has a cast iron keel with bolt holes tapped into it, replacing the keel bolts is relatively straightforward. They are just hardened steel hex head bolts. You should be able to pull a few, one at a time, and inspect them with the boat still in the water. If they actually do need to be replaced, Beneteau USA should be able to supply them, as well as torque specs etc. Again, replacement can be done with the boat in the water if desired.
Don't know about the Jenneaus, but Bene USA may be able to help there too.
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Old 24-07-2015, 22:18   #13
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandy stone View Post
Assuming the Bene has a cast iron keel with bolt holes tapped into it, replacing the keel bolts is relatively straightforward. They are just hardened steel hex head bolts. You should be able to pull a few, one at a time, and inspect them with the boat still in the water. If they actually do need to be replaced, Beneteau USA should be able to supply them, as well as torque specs etc. Again, replacement can be done with the boat in the water if desired.
Don't know about the Jenneaus, but Bene USA may be able to help there too.
I was under the impression that most bolts in cast iron keels had either molten lead, or epoxy poured into the threads, around the bolt. The purpose being, to remove any "wiggle" (AKA play) between the bolts, & the threads cut into the keel.
Is this not the case? Or are there a multiplicity of attaching bolts to cast iron keels?
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Old 24-07-2015, 23:36   #14
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

For Beneteau, you can buy keel bolts and other parts at this website:

BENETEAU USA

Just create a new account and order parts.

I am not sure about Jeanneau, but it is a Beneteau company so you can ask at the above website.

You can change keel bolts one at the time and torque them to spec while the boat is in the water.

Good luck.
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Old 25-07-2015, 03:23   #15
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Re: Replacement Keel Bolts

Where was the Beneteau made? USA or Europe? If it was Europe I would be reviewing the size of the washers used. Check out this story: http://sailinganarchy.com/tag/cheeki-rafiki/
I am told that the USA made Beneteau's are made stronger.
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