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Old 29-08-2007, 08:09   #1
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Willard Keel Bolts

I did a search on this forum for keel bolts and read what I found. What I read so far has still left me with questions. I purchased a fairly solid, older boat -- a 1977 Willard 8 Ton World Cruiser. This boat has a bolt on iron keel. But I found that information in only one post in another forum. It may or may not be true. During an out of the water survey, the surveyor questioned the condition of some of the keel bolts. Most bolts are thick (but rusted), and one bolt in particular is very thin. All 6 bolts are heavily rusted as are the two backing plates per keel bolt. One backing plate on one bolt is about 40% disintegrated -- meaning I was able to remove with a little effort and just a screwdriver, a good portion of the backing plate. However, the second plate is as solid as a rock -- which makes no sense to me since the one on top disintegrated fairly easily. I have yet to check the rest of the bolts.

Here are my questions. I am assuming I ought to simply replace all the bolts -- and I am not sure that is really necessary. So..... How does one make a determination on whether or not to replace (or simply add) new keel bolts? Should I simply vigorously attack the plates with a screwdriver and sees what sloughs off? If I do that, does the keel stand of chance of simply falling off? Would any ship yard be competent to handle keel bolts? Is this a DIY project?

I am new to sailing and I have been in the thick of repair and restoration for only 3 months now -- I am new to that process as well. I am still learning about materials that are used on boats. I do not have a sense of what yards can do or what a person can do on their own AND have the job be done correctly. In other words, unlike houses or cars, I do not have a good sense yet of what works and does not work with boats. I am just beginning to learn what to worry about and what to let be as is. (I hope that last statement makes sense).


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Old 29-08-2007, 08:20   #2
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What are the bolts? Are they cast into the iron keel with backing plates and nuts on the inside? If that is the case you won't be able to remove them I would think if they are anything like bent over anchor bolts.

I suppose you might be able to add bolts by drilling and cutting threads into the iron, but I don't know how strong, this would be or how difficult it would be.

The other thing to consider for GRP hulls is that there are reinforcements placed (usually) running up the hull at the location of the keel bolts so that one would have to consider reinforcement of the hull if you add additional keel bolts.

Can you put up some photos?

sv shiva
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Old 29-08-2007, 08:25   #3
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According to the photo & this listing Boats and Yachts for Sale
The Willard 8 Ton World Cruiser has an encapsulated iron keel
... Fiberglass 3/8" to 5/8" thickness, cloth/mat/roving, solid lamination.
Cast iron ballast, keel, rudder are fiberglass with stainless stock ...
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Old 29-08-2007, 11:51   #4
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that's how i thought they were built, but maybe there is an acception, or an early model? anyway if some of the backing plates are gone and the keel is externally hung, get a little clearance under the keel, then get the nuts loose and see if the keel weight will drop ther keel if not then loosen nuts until the bolt head is a thread below top of nut and hit the nuts and see if this moves the keel. if not try wedging in between the keel and the keel stub and then do as before pounding on the bolts. if this doesn't work and the bolts are steel start loading up the bolts with penetrating oil or kerosene. this usually a job of attrition and persistance. good luck
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Old 29-08-2007, 20:40   #5
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Thanks for the responses. I can see this might be a little problematic. I will take some pictures and post them this weekend.
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keel bolts, willard

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