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Old 28-08-2018, 10:44   #1
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Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

OK so reading up on a boat over the weekend and it looks pretty good. But it has a lead keel shoe added that increases draft and of course ballast. These two things don’t bother me at all but what about the strength of the keel / hull joint. I am of the opinion that the keel and mast/hull want to go in opposite directions and the keel shoe seems like its adding to the force of the non-adjustable one. This also seems like it would change the wind force at which reefing would naturally occur thus making the issue worse. Can they be removed or is this a feature I should be welcoming…? Boat is a Contessa 36.

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Old 28-08-2018, 11:58   #2
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Re: Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

If I where you I wouldn't trust a boat with custom modifications ... Just continue looking you will find another one .
Ofcourse there might not be an issue with it ....
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Old 28-08-2018, 12:29   #3
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Re: Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

If you don't fully understand and appreciate a custom structural modification, I'd agree it may be best to walk away. Or, to ask the seller if they had it done professionally, and if so who did the planning and whether any engineering information is available. In North America many folks have had some custom keel work done (often a bulb added) under the direction of Mars Metals, and that's usually trustyworthy simply because they're professionals, not just "some guy who thought his boat needed more keel".
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Old 28-08-2018, 20:13   #4
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Re: Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

A lead keel shoe may be a desirable feature for you, or perhaps not. Is the keel built as a fiberglass shell that has been filled with ballast? In this case, a lead shoe might provide a soft "bumper" that could protect the keel from getting damaged if you were to hit something. A hole or crack in such a built-down keel can lead to losing the ballast out of it. The ballast in such keels is sometimes iron or steel, which could rust if a leak lets water in. Rusting metal expands, which could burst the keel wide open:not fun. If the keel is a bolted-on fin, adding a lead "bumper" might not be quite as useful, but it would still serve, as you suggest, to stiffen the boat by adding ballast down low. This would help in windward performance and might delay the need to reef, making the boat less work to handle. The shoe would have to be quite substantial in order to add much strain to the keel/hull join. How much does it weigh? If it's been there a while without making the keel fall off, chances are it's not going to now. As others have suggested, ask who did the work and why. It could be that this shoe makes the boat better than her sisterships that heel too much and have to be reefed in anything over 10 knots.
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Old 29-08-2018, 11:10   #5
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Re: Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

thanks guys, the agent has not got back to me yet but its in a popular area so when i head over i'll keep it on the list. Rest of the boat seems ideal.

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Old 29-08-2018, 14:52   #6
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Re: Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

If the boat has been sailed with the shoe installed, inspection of keel bolts and hull in way of the attachments should show if excessive deflection has happened. A good surveyor should be able to judge the effects of the modification.

It would also be good to know how much of an increment of ballast is involved.

My personal guess is that if the job was well done it will not be a problem.

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Old 29-08-2018, 14:58   #7
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Re: Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

a) is it a bolt on keel? I assume you know and it is.
b) were different draft models offered? Maybe it's not a problem.
c) Why was it added? Maybe more for the ballast than the protection...is the boat a bit tender?
d) Estimate the weight of the shoe. Is it significant really?
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Old 29-08-2018, 18:14   #8
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Re: Keel shoe… hull integrity..?

There are some essential questions that need answering
What was the original ballast ratio?
What is the current ballast ratio?
Was the yacht in it's initial configuration overly tender with excessive heel?
Why was the keel shoe fitted?
To stiffen up the yacht.
Is the mast taller and sail area greater than that for which the boat was originally designed? (this could be be a reason for fitting the keel shoe- namely to balance increased heeling moments with an increased righting moment)


Unless the yacht was excessively tender, fitting a keel shoe without increasing the size of the rig and sail area will increase the righting moment, which can produce a harsher response following gusts.



It is necessary to find out the reason for the divergence from the design ballast ratio, whether it was professionally done, and with reference to the original design and the vessels handling characteristics it probably is fine.


You need answers to a lot of questions, and when you have satisfactory answers, then you need the services of a competent surveyor.
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