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Old 03-11-2007, 11:11   #1
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New from the North


I have just recently inherited a 1977, 23 foot Kells sailboat. It has been sitting on land for about 15 years and is in desperate need of repairs. I am very new to sailing and really donít know where to start. I am hoping to learn a little about sailing and also how I can fix my boat. Looking forward to the challenges ahead of me and hearing from any sailors out there.


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Old 03-11-2007, 12:12   #2
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Welcome Waterwolf (nice name).
Congratulations on the new yacht and I'm sure you'll really enjoy getting her sorted and learning as you go. Some of our best memories are from when we started sailing - its the best!
I'm sure you'll find the gang who hang out here can provide most of the answers you might seek - so don't hesitate to ask.

Don't take life too seriously. No ones going to make it out alive......Go see our blog at
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Old 03-11-2007, 12:20   #3
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Welcome and good luck. Here is a link to a message board talking about Kells. BoatUS Club House Messageboards: Kells 23

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Old 03-11-2007, 12:34   #4
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Hello again,

Thanks for the warm welcomes and thank you very much Paul for the link! Exactly what I needed!
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Old 03-11-2007, 13:56   #5
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I dont want to dampen your enthusiasm, But

I know this is not the sort of welcome you may have wanted! But I mean this in to help rather than hinder.

That old a boat and presumably neglected for that long is probably going to need some expensive repairs. I am assuming she is GRP, so the hull should be OK, but the interior may not! The engine may be stuffed etc etc etc etc. Repairs for a boat like this can very quickly spiral out of financial control, so you need to get a firm grip on what needs to be done and then cost + time the repairs.

IMHO the best place to start is by using a surveyor to have a good look and telling you what work needs to be done. Then get an engineer to look at the propulsion system (not just the engine). This will help to get a handle on the work required. Assume the running and standing rigging needs to be replaced, and get a sailmaker to check on the sails, you may get away with just a re-stitch.

Once you have the financial and time details you can work out how long before you can go boating, and whether the cost involved in the repair and the time taken are ok or whether it would be cheaper, faster to find a better vessel.

These decisions should be taken with the head not the heart, and after careful analysis of the factors involved. Unfortunately they rarelly are, which is why you often see part completed projects up for sale, normally in a divorcing household.

I reiterate, I am not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, just trying to help you avoid pitfalls.
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
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Old 03-11-2007, 16:33   #6
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Aloha WW,
Welcome aboard!! Good to have you here and asking questions. Is Kells a twin bilge keel design? At any rate the first place to start is with soap and water and a lot of elbow grease. Don't tear anything out of the boat that can't be kept in one piece to make a pattern from. That includes cockpit cusions. If there has been freshwate sitting in the boat check the bottom of each locker and bulkhead for dry rot which is very easy to spot with the blade of a screwdriver. If it sinks into the wood then there is dry rot. Each piece of wood that has dry rot should be replaced. If it is a large piece then the rotted portion can be cut out and a new portion be replaced. There are lots of books in the public libraries concerning fiberglass repair and repair of boats. "This Old Boat" "From a Bare Hull" "The Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual" to name a few.
I don't often disagree with experienced sailors but at this point I don't think you need a surveyor or engineer but you do need someone with boat mending experience to guide you along and show you how to do things when you lack a bit of confidence. There is nothing on that boat shore of electronics that you can't repair.
Kind Regards,
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Old 03-11-2007, 20:15   #7
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Thanks for the info and encouragement, this is great to hear, electronics aren’t really my fear right now, it’s a pretty basic setup. What concerns me is the fiber glass work ahead of me. I have checked most of the wood and it is all pretty solid. I am not to sure what a “twin bilge” keel design is, but it has a drop keel (center board if you prefer). lol, Anyhow I have cleaned the boat pretty well and found that the hull is in really good shape, just needs a little paint. However the deck (I think you can call it) and cockpit have some hairline cracks in the fiber glass. I would patch these up but I am not sure how to keep the anti-skid pattern there… any tips? Should I cut them out, or just go over them? Also a friend has been telling me about a “west marine epoxy”… is that any good?
Also I am stuck on land because I am missing a rudder and spreaders. My goal is to try and track theses down or try and build them myself using pictures that I have been finding online any tips on this would be great.
Thanks again!
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Old 03-11-2007, 21:53   #8
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I'm thinking it's marine survey time too; it will cost you $250 or so, you'll need it for insurance anyway (if you get any), and it's a smart idea. I put a marine survey up there with a business plan; people try to avoid them, but if you do them it really works out in your favor every time.

West Systems is the epoxy, West Marine is a retailer (that also happens to sell West Systems). It's used extensively, along with its range of fillers and additives. Worth every penny, in my opinion.
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:25   #9
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Awesome, Thanks for the advice rebel heart, I will look around up here and see if we have any marine surveyors. It probably would be a good way to start, and then I’ll know where to begin with the repairs.
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:14   #10
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Welcome aboard Waterwolf. You are about to embark on a sharp learning curve as you are probably starting to realize. But its all good. You got it for nothing. What a great project to learn from. Good Luck.

The basis of accomplishment is in never quitting
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