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Old 28-07-2020, 09:48   #1
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Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

I am looking for my next cruising boat and came upon a Juneau 42 CC 1996 model that checks a lot of my boxes. It does have two red flags for me; an iron keel and keel bolts that are covered / concealed with FRP. When I asked the broker about this concern he said both were common in that manufacturing time frame and particularly in Europe where this boat was built. He went on to say that lead keel was an upgrade in similar Beneteau's and Hunters at that time and even today. I haven't purchased a new/used boat in 22 years but this was all news to me. I don't ever recall being on a keelboat and not being able to see the bolts.

So I have all kinds of concerns about dissimilar metals in this situation (stainless j bolts holding onto a iron keel). Any thoughts, insights or verifications on these concerns. What happens if you get water intrusion into the keel through the FRP to the iron ballast?
Thanks in advance for your assistance. JMc
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Old 28-07-2020, 09:56   #2
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

Hiding keel bolts so that they cannot be periodically inspected sound like the sort of thing a reputable boat builder would not do??
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Old 28-07-2020, 10:01   #3
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

When you say fibreglass, isn't this just a layer of flowcoat over the top of the nuts and backing plates? If so quite common on European boats. Eventually it breaks off, but a quick clean of the nuts and a coat of paint as a preventive measure is all that is required.

Iron keels, well yes lead costs so cast iron was used in thousands of yachts over many years. We have two that are 32 years old. Spot of patch painting and then overcoat with antifouling paint and good for another year. Those keels will be around long after I have departed this planet.

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Old 28-07-2020, 15:06   #4
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

"When you say fibreglass, isn't this just a layer of flowcoat over the top of the nuts and backing plates?"

REPLY - the boat is 24 years old so its not a lightweight covering, iit hasn't broken off. It appears to be layers of glass with a base of approximately 8" wide and height enough to cover the top of the bolts with multiple layers of glass.
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Old 29-07-2020, 10:46   #5
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

Our Beneteau (Jeanneau's sister company) has stainless fasteners and a cast iron keel. This is common practice.

Our keel bolt heads are not covered. I've not heard of covering the keel bolt heads.
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Old 29-07-2020, 11:04   #6
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

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Hiding keel bolts so that they cannot be periodically inspected sound like the sort of thing a reputable boat builder would not do??

kinda like hiding the chainplates and fuel tanks .. yep
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Old 29-07-2020, 11:47   #7
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

I would avoid the boat. Never seen a non encapsulated keel where there is no access to the bolts (Cast Iron Keel) or nuts (lead keel) especially on a Jeanneau.

The bolts may have been glassed over because of a problem. Maybe broken bolts or leaking bolts. This may have solved the problem but may be hiding a serious problem. Like a keel missing bolts and ready to fall off.

If you do go ahead and haul the boat for a survey, you will probably see the hull to keel seam open up or possibly grounding damage. If so the glassing will need to be removed to get to the bolts and you will see what the glass is hiding. Interesting but not pretty.

If you are truly interested in the boat, don't worry about the steel keel. Worry about the keel bolts. Find a good surveyor and ask him if he can properly survey a boat without inspecting the keel bolts. Expect a NO.

Unless the owner will expose the bots for a survey, I would run, not walk away.
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Old 29-07-2020, 13:10   #8
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

My Nauticat 43 has two keel bolts under the engine area with a fiberglass floor over them.

I had the need to check the bolts and cut an access hole and scooped out foam to access and inspect them, then screwed a deck plate over the new "inspection hole."

Have you drilled or cut through or have manufacturers info about how to access those bolts? If under a floor that's not too bad, but totally glassed in would be a PIA.
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Old 29-07-2020, 14:46   #9
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

Look up wikpedia Reekki teeki. A benetau 40 where keel falls off. Avoid benetau.
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Old 29-07-2020, 14:50   #10
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

Hi all.


All older Newport, and many older C&C boats had their keelbolts covered in epoxy. It seems to have been standard practice on these boats for quite a while. Mine has this (1981 Newport 30), and I have had no issues. I have spoken with several surveyors who have no particular concerns with the practice. As well, I haven't heard of any bolt/keel failures on any of the older Newport/C&C boats.


Hope this helps.


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Old 29-07-2020, 15:54   #11
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

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Look up wikpedia Reekki teeki. A benetau 40 where keel falls off. Avoid benetau.
Jeeze. Cheeky Rafiki was a rode hard raceboat whose keel fell off because of inadequate repairs to the keel support structure after a grounding. I have a 1986 Beneteau and I don't see any signs of my keel coming off. Give it a rest already.
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Old 29-07-2020, 16:23   #12
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

I agree with Sandy. The whole issue with keelbolts is over-the-top in my very humble opinion. Cheeky Rafiki was a tragedy, but one caused by bad repairs and some questionable decision making.

By all means, speak with some surveyors on the issue of covered bolts. But as I've said, this was a fairly common practice in the 80s/90s, and there have been few, if any, major issues with it.
As an aside, this opinion on keelbolt security almost caused my friend to have to write off his Beneteau because a surveyor decided that all these older beneteaus needed to have their bolts replaced (at a cost more than the value of the boat)! Silly and not required. Another surveyor was much more reasonable.


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Old 29-07-2020, 17:05   #13
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

To me the critical question for the OP is whether the bolts came from the builder glassed in or was it done for some unknown reason by a later owner.

So far, no one has reported Jeanneau as having glassed in bolts as part of the normal building process. This suggests to me that it was done by an owner, and that most likely it was done to suppress leakage involving the bolts. Not a good outlook IMO... whatever the reason really was. No one would do this other than to correct a problem, and likely a problem that should have involved removing and rebedding the keel.

Obviously, the above construct is not proven, but it would linger in my mind were I to buy such a boat... and I don't think I would do so!

Jim
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:20   #14
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

If it's not cracked it shouldn't be an issue. Any rusting or deterioration in the medium would have cracked it by now. This company has been around for a while and it can inform you of the build techniques and any quality issues surrounding such.
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Old 30-07-2020, 18:50   #15
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Re: Older Juneau's Keel Bolts Hiding

And if it's a cast iron keel there's a fair chance that the keel was drilled and tapped and the bolts or studs are removable and can be entirely replaced. Lead keels tend to have J bolts cast in and cannot be readily replaced.
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