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Old 05-10-2007, 11:40   #1
M-K
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Unhappy When to give up?

The boat is a Spindrift 22 which my new wife and I acquired as an economical way to try out cruising. (I dearly love being on the ocean, but had been boat-less for years, she had hardly been in a boat.) This boat has a ballasted shoal draft keel with a light centerboard and we were reasonably pleased with its performance on the few days we were able to use it.

I've discovered two structural problems with boat. One is that tensioning the rigging seems to distort the hull a bit. Setting it up in the back yard on its trailer, tensioning the rig appeared to cause the nose of the boat to pull back an inch or so from the bow stop of the trailer. Having put good tension on the upper stays and setting the lower stays just lightly finger tight, I found that then loosening the upper stays left the lower stays with a lot of tension. I surmise the hull flexed a bit. This may not be abnormal this is on this type of boat; I can ignore it, but its a nagging worry.

The real problem is that the six hundred pounds of ballast in the keel turned out to be weak cement mixed with metal shop scraps. At some point sufficient moisture got into this mixture to cause the ballast to swell (from swelling of the corroding metal or freezing, I presume) locking the centerboard solidly up and cracking the outside of the keel. Causing a bit of a leak. Lifting the boat on a travel-lift flexed the hull enough to allow the centerboard to be pried down. A bit of epoxy putty on the keel made it possible to sail for a few days, with only occassional pumping.

I have removed the cabin sole with a skill-saw and scooped six hundred pounds of soggy ballast out of the keel after softening it up with a pneumatic chisel. My thinking was to put in some new fiberglass to repair the keel, and new ballast encapsulated in resin.

Having done this much to get a view of the situation, I'm now questioning my confidence that it will be possible to adequately prepare the inside of the keel and surrounding hull to ensure that new glass will permanently bond to it. The keel's cavity around the centerboard is quite narrow. The heavy layer of glass that had covered the top of the keel and ballast and extended inside the hull has partially delaminated. I'm not sure how vital it is structurally, but I won't be able to remove all of it to get to a good surface to bond to.

Having put a great deal of labor and money (new sails, rigging, furler, hatch, woodwork) into this boat before these problems became apparent, its gut wrenching to think of throwing it away. But I need to consider the possibility that the repair of the keel could possibly fail, and wonder if enough is enough and its time to give up.

This is my first posting. Perhaps it should be in the confessional.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:58   #2
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Economically, I would say dump it, but, considering what you have put into the boat so far, it sounds like it is a labor of love. Will you ever get you money's worth? That depends on the value you put on sailing a boat you have put your pride and energy into. Will you recover your financial investment? Unlikely. So, the real question is, is this boat he one you want people to recognize you for? You might also consider it is a cheap way to make your mistakes before taking on the boat of your dreams. Also in your loss factor, consider the cost of getting rid of the boat. You might take less of a hit to just keep going.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:16   #3
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Firstly to the Keel. You don't need to worry about bonding to the keel sides. You do wnat to protect against the weight of the ballast falling out, should you ever (in the unlikely event) roll over. This is easily fixed by simply fixing (welding perhaps) some cleats of angle iron to the inside. The new balast will use these to lock in to the keel cavity. Resin is indeed a good substitute for cement, but is nowhere near as heavy. so if you can get hold of lead, two improvements can be obtained. Firstly, the lead can be poured in to the keel cavity. Being heavier, it will not take as much space in the cavity. Thus it will result in the weight remaining further down toward the bottom of the keel. That will improve the boats ability to stay upright. Lead is not tooo expensive, especially when compared to the cost of Resin if you go that way.

As for deformation of the hull, yeah it could happen and that is just the way it is. However, it could also be helped if you could add strength to high load places. That may or maynot be possible. But simple epoxy resin ribs run longitudenley and acrossways to the boat would help. Even something as simple as an aluminium pole run from side to side at the chain plate points would stop the sides from deflecting in or out and thus stopping or reducing the hull form Banana'ing longways.
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Old 05-10-2007, 15:35   #4
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What sort of cruising are you doing?

All boats imply some degree of risk, both personal and financial.

Do you consider that the risk you are taking is justified by the rewards that you are getting?
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Old 05-10-2007, 19:35   #5
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I say fill it up with concrete again and sail the boat till it sinks.

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Old 05-10-2007, 21:09   #6
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What sort of cruising are you doing?

Unfortunately we're an hours drive from the nearest saltwater in Narragansett Bay. So we can only be on the boat weekends and for a couple of weeks vacation. The boat is trailer-sailerable, we got it from the road to the water in an hour on the second try and with some refinements could improve a bit, but we're getting a mooring in Penobscot Bay next season. A much longer drive to the boat, but there are some less crowded anchorages and I find the area much more attractive.

This isn't the boat I would want people to recognize me for, but it has its points. The annoyance of low headroom in the cabin is very small compared to the great pleasure of being on the water.

Thank you all.
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Old 07-10-2007, 21:04   #7
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I agree with flakbait.

Empty the keel and barring any permanent deformation of the keel that may have happened I would repair the keel, pur in new cement, seal it all up as waterproof as you can and go sailing for as long as you can. By your description it sounds like you are 75% of the way there.

As far as the rigging goes I don't know if you have any instructions or not but tensioning the rigging is bound to flex the boat. Barring any instructions there are some generic texts on rigging small boats that should see you through. It doesn't take as much tension as you would imagine and remember each shroud impacts the others.
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Old 09-10-2007, 22:41   #8
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If you really love the boat, then I would suggest you repair the external keel problems and then fill it with lead and seal it with resin as Alan outlined. Realistically, you are not likely to get much for the boat if/when you sell her, so it might be easier to follow TNFlakbait's suggestion and when she dies, take all of the newer gear off her and sell it to other Spindrift owners.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:18   #9
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...or if you really cant salvage the hull, find another cheap hull and put all your go gear on it.
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Old 22-10-2007, 21:35   #10
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Quote:
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So if you can get hold of lead, two improvements can be obtained. Firstly, the lead can be poured in to the keel cavity. Being heavier, it will not take as much space in the cavity. Thus it will result in the weight remaining further down toward the bottom of the keel. That will improve the boats ability to stay upright. Lead is not tooo expensive, especially when compared to the cost of Resin if you go that way.

Thanks Alan, the people at the scrap yard commiserated over the recent jump in the price of lead ..... so now I have 200 lbs of little lead ingots and four hundred pounds of scrap lead pipe and a twenty pound lead melter and little ingot molds. I can put hundreds of little lead ingots in the keel and pour on resin to seal them and glass them over, or I can put in a few less ingots and melt the rest to pour in lead to fill the voids. This is a fiberglass boat, and I wonder if something bad can happen pouring in molten lead.


I appreciate flakebait's and Ex-Calif's sensible advice to just pour in cement again an go, which would probably be good for as long as I need the boat, but I just had such a bad experience with the stuff..

I've been to Nelson a few times.... the Sounds is a good place to be.
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Old 23-10-2007, 04:36   #11
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... This is a fiberglass boat, and I wonder if something bad can happen pouring in molten lead ...
The Melting Point of Lead is about 622 degrees F (328 deg. C), which might cause irreparable damage to the fibreglass resins, which (depending on type) are often limited to temperatures of under 200 deg. F.
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Old 08-09-2008, 21:07   #12
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M-K Been there done that! Make your Lead ingots drop them in the gutted keel and then pour you resin over until is all covered with no air holes. It will last for ever or near abouts. I meted and made 1.75 tons for my 29fter. Natureboy
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Old 08-09-2008, 21:12   #13
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I've spent many weekends (and a few weeks) scraping wood, scraping wood, mending sails, scraping wood, working on the engine, scraping wood, installing heads, scraping wood, installing galley gear, scraping wood, painting, and scraping wood.

The only guys I have mercy for anymore are full wooden boat owners. At least I have a fiberglass hull. I couldn't even begin to imagine having a full wood boat. Those guys would kill for a ballast problem.
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:32   #14
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Fumes coming off melted Lead are deadly. You'll need good breathing equipment and a full bunny suit to protect your skin. Futher, do not mix up too much epoxy/polyester resin at a time. The reaction is exothermic and the heat from a large pot can/and will distort your keel.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:02   #15
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Fumes off melting lead could kill you. A bead of sweat falling into the melting pot could at the very least earn you a painful tattoo. At worst it could put your eye out. Wear a face shield long sleeves and shoes.

My latest failed big boat project just left the driveway. Its in the hands of another dreamer now. I didn't get what I put into the boat monetarily speaking and I feel somewhat defeated for not bringing it to completion. But.....I am free to search for the next one.

As long as our boating mistakes and missteps only cost us money we can always recover.

Hull distortion on the trailer seems perfectly normal especially if the trailer is marginal in capacity or the bunks are not perfectly set to the shape of the hull. While on the trailer or setting on the hard its common for doors to not open properly and in some cases rigging tension to change.
The boat was designed and built to sit in the water. That's where things need to line up and stay in place.
Some have said press on and others say quit. I wouldn't even worry about it until the project begins to rule your life, impact your marriage and deplete your checking account even then you will just be like many many other boat owners.

Good Luck. Post a photo when its done. It will encourage those with the same challenges you face now.
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