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Old 18-01-2017, 05:30   #1
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Urgency to repair keel

Yesterday I skinned up a keel on a rock on my Lagoon cat. About a 5 inch x 5 inch area of scruffy exposed fiberglass. I had planned a haul out in 3 months and wonder whether there is any urgency to repair it any sooner. I don't believe there is any structural damage.
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Old 18-01-2017, 07:05   #2
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Re: Urgency to repair keel

Welcome to the forums.

The quality of the answers will be in direct proportion to the information you give us. You didn't give enough info for any meaningful response to be possible.

- How fast were you moving?
- Under sail or motor?
- How violent did the grounding feel?
- have you dove on the damaged keel to inspect? Pictures of the damage, or at least a better description?
- hull material, etc.


Some general advice for after a grounding, not safety advice for immediately after, but later when you are assessing the damage:

- check for damage to rigging, if it was a violent grounding. In very severe grounding with sails up, masts have come down in rare cases
- other damage may not be immwdiately obvious. Check for shifted engine/broken mounts, cracked bulkheads, etc which may indicate a problem requiring immediate attention.
- check attachment between hull and keel, not just the direct damage to the keel itself (read: cheeky rafiki case for lessons)
- you may be obligated to inform your insurance company or local authorities, depending on local laws and the terms of your insurance



In your case, making the assumption that you truly have no other damage and the 5x5 inch area of fiberglass is the only damage and it is just roughed up, with no extensive cracks, it shouldn't be a major issue to wait a few months.

As water intrudes into the fiberglass, it will slowly require a larger area to be ground out during the repair. 3 months of water intrusion shouldn't cause the damage to extend very much, but it will likely be a slightlt larger area than if it was pulled right now.

Do read above though about my general suggestions for looking for damage in less obvious areas. I assume you have sail drive units. The mounting of sail drives can easily look normal but be damaged. Inspect carefully.
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Old 18-01-2017, 12:55   #3
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Re: Urgency to repair keel

You want to at least protect the structure form moisture.

Do you have any pics?

Fiberglass hulls are infinitely repairable. Lots of fairing and buildup lead to good aesthetic and structural repairs.

Don't just bog it up with any ole goop.

Rule number one on our vessel is 'keep the water out of the boat'. This has the potential to violate rule number one. Sleep, work, play and fun all get cancelled till the issue is addressed. That would be my response.

If it is truly just aesthetic then maybe a more relaxed response is appropriate. As an engineer I deal in facts and data. Hope, wishing and ignoring it aren't in my dna.

These events tend to be wicked in nature with cause and effect not directly related. Did any other systems suffer any damage? Visible or otherwise.

You mention the words keel, rock and up in the same sentence. My first thoughts are gouging, hairline cracks, etc. Worthy of a detailed inspection.

Latent defects is the term we engineers use to reflect the possibility of us not having enough facts or data to make a decision about a possible future issue.

Have you obtained an independent assessment? Other than your own.
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Old 18-01-2017, 13:26   #4
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Re: Urgency to repair keel

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Originally Posted by leftbrainstuff View Post
You want to at least protect the structure form moisture.
This is why my schedule would be accelerated by three months, I'd pull it and ask an expert how long it needed to sit to dry out before the repair
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Old 18-01-2017, 14:23   #5
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Re: Urgency to repair keel

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This is why my schedule would be accelerated by three months, I'd pull it and ask an expert how long it needed to sit to dry out before the repair
For recent damage you dont need a drying out period. By the time you've ground out and blended the area you'll have removed any moisture affected material.

Moisture takeup by most composites occurs linearly over time. A few days or weeks is only a concern in highly loaded certified situations like aerospace.

If you haul sooner, rather than later, then I'd bring forward any other below water maintenance or enhancements. This way you amortise the costs.
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Old 18-01-2017, 14:31   #6
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Re: Urgency to repair keel

Obviously there are a lot of unanswered questions that would assist greatly in giving you an answer that's a lot more focused, & correct. But barring that, here are some thoughts.

As I understand it, quite a lot of production cruising cats are build with their keels being seperate units, which slot into sockets in the bottom of each hull. And they're made this way so that when boats get grounded hard, the damage is more localized to the keel. As well as that if the damage is severe, the entire keel can be swapped out fairly simply. Which, this setup comes from designing boats for use in charter fleets, where they're likely to suffer groundings more often than family owned boats.

Regarding the damage, & the speed it needs to be addressed with. Since it is a laminate, whether it was built by hand, vacuum bagged, or infused, there are still likely to be some voids or dry spots in the construction. And you'd want to do everything that you can to avoid having seawater enter them, as well as wicking further into the hull via them. Doubly so any cored bits. Which in any modern boat there;s likely to be some of her built with cores. And they're highly allergic to water. Thus, repairs done sooner are likely to be less intrusive & estensive as a general rule.

So I'd say to endeavor to answer some of the great questions already posed in this thread. Along with gathering as much data as you can on the boat's construction. And then get advice from several parties (professional type) based on such information. Being the best advocate for your boat that you can, just as if she was a sick family member in need of surgery
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