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Old 17-04-2021, 01:29   #1
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Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

Ok... This is probably a dumb question, but I may be in a situation where keel bolts need to be inspected and/or the keel detached for screw/bolt/attachment frame reconditioning. Boat is in a cradle with the rigging up. Would it be enough to extend halyards to the four corners of the cradle, or does the rigging need to come down? The keel would only be detached for a couple of days max to reduce weather exposure risk.
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Old 17-04-2021, 03:13   #2
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

You could just strap the boat to the cradle with heavy ratchet straps, like they would if they were trucking it. Guying it down with the halyards won't hurt, though at the local shipyards here they always guy to a faraway anchor point.
You might get better answers if we knew the sort of boat and size thereof.
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Old 17-04-2021, 03:36   #3
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

I’m no engineer but my thought is if you strap it to the cradle and a big wind comes it will just roll the boat and the cradle. I would feel more comfortable bringing the lines further out and attach to something that wouldn’t move.

But as mentioned a lot has to do with boat size etc....

Good luck
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Old 17-04-2021, 05:16   #4
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Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

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Originally Posted by Benz View Post
You could just strap the boat to the cradle with heavy ratchet straps, like they would if they were trucking it. Guying it down with the halyards won't hurt, though at the local shipyards here they always guy to a faraway anchor point.
You might get better answers if we knew the sort of boat and size thereof.

The boat in question is on the smaller size (11m xyacht 372 circa 1988). Not really worried about the rigging coming down as much as i am the boat, not being supported on its keel, twisting in the cradle. The boat sits fairly deep in its cradle and it still has the engine at or below the hard points. I was really more interested if here was a consensus on boat disposition during keel work ( not entirely sure it needs keel work, just preparing for the worst case). But now that I think about worst cases, the keel stepped mast rests on the same metal frame that the keel is bolted to, so if that frame needs work the mast is going to have to come off anyway (not really a super big fan of bolted on keels as they tend to imply shallow bilges that can mean water accumulating right where the framework lives). Does anyone happen to know if xyacht keel/mast frames of that era were galvonized?
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Old 17-04-2021, 16:33   #5
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

i'd strap the hull firmly to the craddle and then make sure the craddle is somehow attached to the ground - either by straps, bolts, welding or even just some extra concrete weights

then a couple of halyards either side to points say 25m away (to get some decent angle)

provided you're not expecting any wild weather or in a very exposed location, that will be enough.

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Old 17-04-2021, 18:25   #6
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

If you are lifting the vsl of its keel ,be verry carefull ,if the rig is still up that the Vsl doesn’t roll in the lifting slings ,even jacking the hull up is an iffy job as the center of gravity will be much higher once the keel comes clear ,much better and safer to remove rig before starting this work .⚓️⛵️
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Old 17-04-2021, 19:26   #7
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

Taking the rig down is not a big deal, In my club we do it every fall for winter storage. For us not a big deal at all, I can have my mast down and on a cart in 20 minutes if I prep ahead of time, not much longer to put it back up. There is also no charge which helps since we do it ourselves.

I guess it is only an issue for the majority who do not do it on a regular basis? Good Luck
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Old 17-04-2021, 19:57   #8
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

How are you lifting the hull off of the keel? Seems to me that this is mission critical for the decision.How long do you propose to be in the keel-less condition? And have you discussed this with the yard? Many places have restrictions on what can be done with the mast up.

The penalties for a stuff-up are pretty severe... I'd be pretty conservative myself, especially if the time was long enough where the wx forecasts were getting hazy.

Good luck!

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Old 17-04-2021, 21:38   #9
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

An issue which I have not yet seen mentioned in this thread concerns the pressure which the mast is exerting on the bottom of the boat. If I recall correctly, an X-Yacht of this vintage almost certainly has a keel-stepped mast. Even if you de-tension the rig first, the mast (or compression post) will be exerting downward force on the bottom of the hull. Without the keel in place to support it, the weight of the mast pressing down will undoubtedly distort the shape of the hull before you get around to remounting the keel. If this X-yacht is one with an integrated steel sub-frame, then the frame may be distorted by the unsupported mast.

Plus, all of the comments about twisting in the slings or being blown over while on the cradle also ring true. That happened to a few boats in a nearby harbour this winter and they still had their keels as counterweights. Just pull the damn mast. It's not that big a deal and you can use the opportunity to inspect and service the parts that you never get to see. That's better than having your forestay fail unexpectedly, which has happened to at least a couple of friends of mine.
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Old 17-04-2021, 22:29   #10
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

I suspect the yard won't allow it. I'd agree with PerfectPirate and use the opportunity to do some mast maintenance if you can.
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Old 17-04-2021, 23:43   #11
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

We inspected keel bolts on our O Day 39. We had the boat in a travel lift. We slackened the nuts until they were flush with the ends of the studs to ensure that the keel would not come off. The keel was well supported by a 2x4 frame
We then had an inch or so spaceto inspect the lower ends of the studs and clean out the sealing material which was jus around the studs. The yard said that lifting the boat completely off the keel wa unnecessary, complicated and expensive. I guess they meant pulling the mast.
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Old 18-04-2021, 00:11   #12
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Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

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Originally Posted by Searles View Post
If you are lifting the vsl of its keel ,be verry carefull ,if the rig is still up that the Vsl doesn’t roll in the lifting slings ,even jacking the hull up is an iffy job as the center of gravity will be much higher once the keel comes clear ,much better and safer to remove rig before starting this work .⚓️⛵️


The order of battle will involve jacking the hull up with the keel attached, so that the beam providing keel support can be removed and then lowering the hull back into place on the cradle, keel lightly supported in a way that allows it to be lowered just enough to roll the keel back after the bolts clear the outside hull. Reconditioning of the keel to face, hull join point, keel bolts, hull keel bolt holes, supporting frame and interior hull face commence. One example everything has been cleaned up and restored, Seika flex is added, keel is repositioned, raised, verified true and refastened.
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Old 18-04-2021, 00:15   #13
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

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Originally Posted by PerfectPirate View Post
An issue which I have not yet seen mentioned in this thread concerns the pressure which the mast is exerting on the bottom of the boat. If I recall correctly, an X-Yacht of this vintage almost certainly has a keel-stepped mast. Even if you de-tension the rig first, the mast (or compression post) will be exerting downward force on the bottom of the hull. Without the keel in place to support it, the weight of the mast pressing down will undoubtedly distort the shape of the hull before you get around to remounting the keel. If this X-yacht is one with an integrated steel sub-frame, then the frame may be distorted by the unsupported mast.

Plus, all of the comments about twisting in the slings or being blown over while on the cradle also ring true. That happened to a few boats in a nearby harbour this winter and they still had their keels as counterweights. Just pull the damn mast. It's not that big a deal and you can use the opportunity to inspect and service the parts that you never get to see. That's better than having your forestay fail unexpectedly, which has happened to at least a couple of friends of mine.


The keel is attached to the same frame as the mast. With the keel removed the frame will actually be unloaded, providing even greater structural support to the mast. The only way I see anything different happening is if the frame is built to be preloaded for the weight of the keel/mast.
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Old 18-04-2021, 00:18   #14
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Re: Keeping rigging up during keel detachment

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Originally Posted by Jack C View Post
We inspected keel bolts on our O Day 39. We had the boat in a travel lift. We slackened the nuts until they were flush with the ends of the studs to ensure that the keel would not come off. The keel was well supported by a 2x4 frame

We then had an inch or so spaceto inspect the lower ends of the studs and clean out the sealing material which was jus around the studs. The yard said that lifting the boat completely off the keel wa unnecessary, complicated and expensive. I guess they meant pulling the mast.


Interesting... Did you have a contingency plan for the possibility that the keel bolts or support frame would need replacing? I honestly don't even know how to replace keel bolts, but I imagine you need more than a couple of inches between the keel and hull.
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