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Old 17-04-2016, 12:50   #1
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Resealing Keel Bolt Heads On Outside Of Cast Iron Keel

I have a cal 20 sailboat with a cast iron keel. There is a flange on the keel where it connects to the hull with keel bolts. The cast iron flange is tapped so the keel bolt heads sit up in the keel some. Then the bolts pass through into the inside where they are held on by nuts and washers.

I wanted to check the bolts, so am taking off one nut at a time and pounding the bolt end so the whole bolt, head first, pops out of the hull from the keels underside.

After finding out that the bolts look nice, I am hoping to reseal them in their holes.

I am not planning to take off the keel and fair it etc. I am just planning to leave the rusty thing glued to the hull as is, and instead to check the bolts every year while the boat is sitting on its trailer.

I have several questions:

1) What sort of substance(s) should I use to re-fill in the tapped out portion on the outside keel flange in order to seal up the heads from the saltwater and re-waterproof my bottom side? epoxy? some sort of fairing compound? (I am new to boat construction so specifics would be appreciated if possible.) The substance would be touching cast iron and the steel bolt head. I am hoping for it to be strong, but not permanent so that I can re-check the bolt in a year or longer, and then repeat the process.

2) Should I clean the bolts with something and/or coat them in a substance to make them more protected from corrosion in the case that salt water starts to get in there?

Thank you in advance for any advice. Good day to ye' all.
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Old 17-04-2016, 19:46   #2
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Location: Fort Lauderdale Florida
Boat: Northstar 1500, 35'
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Re: resealing keel bolt heads on outside of cast iron keel

Hi dumbaaa,

Welcome to CF!

I was not understanding the description of the problem, so I googled "cal 20 sailboat keel attachment"

Looks like they are just through bolts and not tapped into keel (this is what threw me off)

Lots of info!

Owners manual for cal 20 download is available at

Seems like owners are replacing bolts with stainless (many offers for kit of 8 bolts) ( seems a good choice)

Owners manual recommends a ring of sealant around bolt head. There is a torque spec. (Personally, I would use polysulfide as it is easy to remove upon the next keel bolt check)

I hope this helps and good sailing!

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Old 18-04-2016, 04:59   #3
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Re: Resealing Keel Bolt Heads On Outside Of Cast Iron Keel

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, dumbaaaa.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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head, keel

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