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Old 12-07-2019, 08:26   #1
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Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?


I acquired a Hurley 24/70 sailboat which I would like to restore and learn to sail in. I have been reading up a lot and eager to get started with it.

One issue I need advice with however is the hull and in particular the keel/hull profile.

This boat was made using a drop-in keel which was then tabbed inside the hull so there are no keel bolts or the usual cracking along the join issues.
There is however a large crack along the area between the keel and hull and it looks like it has been filled with various things over the years.

There also seems to be some sagging of the hull as it is sat on the keel. There appears to be a slight ridge almost like the hull is sagging more than the keel if that makes sense.

I'm trying to come up with a repair plan and would appreciate any advice. I was thinking of glassing the gap with progressively bigger pieces and then lots of fairing with epoxy & fillers. I'm worried though that when the boat is lifted and weight taken off the keel, the whole thing will move back the other way and destroy my work.

Is this likely? Does this sound like a good plan?

Any advice will be much welcome.
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Old 12-07-2019, 09:40   #2
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Re: Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?

This looks very bad to me. This looks like not hull/keel joint but something structural along the bottom structures inside the boat.

(edit: had a longer look now, on bigger screen, it seems hull to keel joint indeed).

Can you open the boat and take images of the shell from inside - at the locations you marked on the outside?

(edit 2: are you sure the 'ridge' was not there before? I mean - at times boats come out of the boatyard just like that - with small misadjustement between the keel and hull surfaces.


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Old 12-07-2019, 09:55   #3
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Re: Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, RVflyer.
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"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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Old 12-07-2019, 12:56   #4
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Re: Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?

Agree with Barnakiel. Post some photos of the interior side of things to give us more of an idea.

It's hard to say what that bulge is from. The hull shouldn't sag around the keel. To me, it looks almost like she had a very significant grounding which forced the keel upward. Though a grounding to do something like that would have to be very significant.

I would also definitely reach out the hurley group, they will be able to tell you more about this such as if it's common or not.

Typically the construction would entail a solid laminate structure from bottom of keel to top of hull with the "drop" in style of keels.

As for a repair job. My first thought is biaxial the living sh*t out of the entire thing but hopefully, some other more experienced people come along and give advice.

I am curious to tag along in your repairs as I haven't seen anything like this and curious what the "right" approach would be.

Do note of the repercussions if the keel does fall off. Make sure you talk with some local pro's to get their advice as this *could* be a serious(IE life or death matter depending on where your saling) issue.
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Old 12-07-2019, 14:47   #5
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Re: Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?

Hi guys, thanks for the replies.

I bought this boat from the boatyard as a project so i've only ever seen it on the stand like this.

I have already been in touch with the Hurley owners association. I'm not really getting any info back though and the group seems to have all but ceased to exist.

At the moment i'm trying to work out whether it's worth putting money and time into this. I don't mind hard work but if it's not going to be safe then I would rather find out now. The plan for the boat is for myself and my daughter to learn to sail in.

It's really hard to see inside as there is an internal moulding that covers everything. I have looked in the storage compartments where you can see the inside of the hull and there doesn't appear to be anything that looks strange, just bare fibreglass hull but no separation or delamination as far as i can see.

I'm going to go back to the yard this weekend and have another look inside but i'm stuck as to how to proceed. I'm thinking of taking a grinder to all that old filler and seeing whats underneath.
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Old 13-07-2019, 15:13   #6
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Re: Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?

If the keel has considerable rake and the keel has been supporting the boats weight, the forces on the keel are almost exactly the opposite of what they are in the water. The weight of the boat is going to try and force the aft end of the keep up and the forward end of the keel down. This condition is popularly known as the 'Catalina Smile' though common to a to of boats with a raked aft keel profile. If it's been sitting on the hard a long time, might have resulted in the ridges and gap you are concerned about. Fiberglass is a flexible material and long standing pressure against the hull will cause it to deform. Had that happen on my Westsail even with it's thick hull when the cradle broke and one of the pads took some of the weight of the boat. Launching the boat may cure the problem. Even if the ridge and gap don't go away may not be a death dealing issue. Fill the crack with LifeCaulk/4200 or other rubbery filler and launch the boat. Would be nice if you could get some feedback from owners if this has been an issue.

I'm assuming there are no signs of the glass over the keel base showing signs of delimitation.
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Old 13-07-2019, 17:51   #7
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Re: Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?

Since you're in a boatyard there are likely a bunch of spare stands around. Ask to borrow a few and add them to your supports and see about lifting the hull up a bit off the keel and seeing what results from unloading the keel. You mention an interior grid, don't know how you boat is actually built but if the interior grid has pulled away from the hull, and is pushed up by the keel then the repair task could be daunting. There are folks on this forum who have a million times more boat repair experience than I have, post more pics etc and you'll likely get a solid opinion. Cheers.
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Old 13-07-2019, 18:35   #8
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Re: Sailboat Keel/Hull join repair plan?

If you came to me with that keel issue I would want to see the internal mouldings above the keel cut out. That should not be a big job, just get in there with a diamond blade on a grinder and cut it out. Mark out the area with marker pen and cut away. You can keep the moulding and glass it back in after the repair, then lay a new floor covering back on top. There is a lot of leverage on a keel so the repair has to be done right. Not to mention you might bump the bottom once or twice.

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