Advice on repairing or abandoning old sailboat

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by Ronjon, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. Ronjon
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

    Ronjon Junior Member

    Hello, I purchased an older sailboat for cheap and later found the rear end of the keel damaged heavily. I'm curious whether it's worth repairing myself or abandoning the project. It's a complicated area so I was wondering, if it seems plausible, how the correct way to repair it would be. It's a very tight area so getting to the inside of the boat might be possible with the removal of some floorboards. IMG_9076.jpg 20200922_152211.jpg 20200922_152240.jpg t34lines.jpg
     
  2. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    Is this the only damage? How is the Center Board Case? Engine and other systems? Can you get a UT machine to check the rest of the keel and keel fillet? Who does the work?
    You have the lines plan, so this is repairable to plan; and even if you didn't have the lines plan, you could have interpolated. Realistically, the actual damage shown is not too bad, but other hidden damage could be an issue.
    The real question is how much time and money you want to spend. If this is the only damage, the harder part will be cleaning the interior to get the smell out.
     
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  3. Ronjon
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

    Ronjon Junior Member

    There were only 2 other problems with the hull that I'm aware of. I can't say for sure about the centerboard but I'll have more information soon. The engine got water in it so more than likely it needs significant repair but I'm a mechanic so I can take care of that. I'll see about testing the thickness as well. Im waiting for an estimate from the boatyard, but more than likely I'd be willing to do the repair myself, I have experience with fiberglass but it's been a while and never such a complicated shape. The surprising thing to me is the boat was in the water and taking only a steady amount of water every few days. Im guessing that part of the keel is separate from the bilge? Here are pictures of the other damage I know of. 20200922_152511.jpg 20200922_152223.jpg
     
  4. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Some random thoughts -
    On a positive note, she is an S & S design, with a nice hull shape, and I am sure that she will sail beautifully.
    I saved a copy of the lines plan, and then I could enlarge it a bit - she is 34' LOA x 25' DWL x 10'2" beam x 5' draft at the DWL.

    Do you know what the ballast material is - hopefully lead rather than cast iron, or (eg) steel punchings set in resin?
    If it contains iron, and water has got into the ballast, then you could have problems later down the road from rust happening?

    Re the hull repair at the aft end of the keel, a slightly left field suggestion - rather than trying to re-build it as per how it was originally, would it be feasible to take a big saw and cut the damage away to 'good' material, perhaps as an arc of a circle?
    And then repair the hole, while fairing it in (re the trailing edge) to suit?
     
  5. Ronjon
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Ronjon Junior Member

    All my research says it's a lead keel. I don't know enough about boat design to know how big a difference a circular shape would be, but I imagine it's better than scrapping the boat entirely. Also I have this other diagram of the keel. Screenshot_20200922-190138_Drive.jpg
     
  6. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I have some glass experience. I have to admit, that repair is a bit daunting. Ultimately, no weakened material can remain.

    Curious what it looks like up inside.

    You might need to use the existing shape as a male plug and build a mould from the plug. The problem I see is no way to access the inside for any bonding. So, you'd make the mould big as needed, remove the bad material; build a flange on the inside with epoxy n glass. ?? Or some such... consider my comments conversational..never done that sort of thing
     
  7. Ronjon
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

    Ronjon Junior Member

    Yea I'm not experienced enough to know what the best way to rebuild the shape is, whether to try to make a mold and fill it then graft it on or to rebuild it from good fiberglass outwards. I'm not in town at the moment, but I may have someone take a picture of the inside soon to get a better idea.
     
  8. jehardiman
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Port Orchard, Washington, USA

    jehardiman Senior Member

    Ok, it looks like she went up on the hard, so you will need to examine both areas with a UT pen/machine to determine the extent of delamination. Once that is done you can repair in the normal manner for the hull. For the keel, I would make an inner plug and set it true first, then form the outer skin over that. As has been said, the lines drawing shows the hull to be a mid 1960's S&S or one of her later sisters (because hull molds seem to hang on forever), so the hull original was most likely built IAW the Marine Design Manual for Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics by Gibbs & Cox, most likely out of polyester resin.
    Marine design manual for fiberglass reinforced plastics : Gibbs & Cox : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/marinedesignmanu00gibb/page/n49/mode/2up

    Anyway, you are looking at one or two weeks of glass work, then coating below the waterline and painting above. Always remember that is actually takes more time to repair than to build new. As I implied earlier, the expenditure to repair must be looked in terms of all the other costs; engine, rig, sails tankage, wiring, etc...
     
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  9. Ronjon
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

    Ronjon Junior Member

    Thanks for the detailed response. I feel better now that I wasn't met instantly with a bunch of suggestions to scrap the boat. I imagine if I did the labor it's definitely possible to fix it for a realistic price. Paying a professional to do it would probably push it over the edge of being financially not worth it. I'll have to get good pictures of the inside next to determine how to plug it first.
     
  10. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    You do need to make sure the grounding didn't damage the keel connections. It is more important than the keel repair. If the boat is damaged internally, people might have different ideas. None of it is really anything I have much knowledge about. I just know you could repair it and if damaged up inside; you could lose it at a very bad time..
     
  11. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Please do post some more photos - both of the whole exterior (a nice side profile view and an end view?) and inside as well.
    And especially down inside the back end of the keel - if you can get a camera anywhere near this location.

    One advantage in your favour re justifying her restoration is her design - an old classic S & S design is (usually) much more sought after than say an old but common production GRP design.
    An analogy could be justifying the restoration of a classic sports car - it would be more difficult to justify spending the same amount on (say) an old and fairly common / run of the mill Ford.
     
  12. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    brendan gardam Senior Member

    Can you explain the comment about center board case. I can't see a center board.
     
  13. Ronjon
    Joined: Sep 2020
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    Ronjon Junior Member

    Received this today, it looks to be a hollow section that ends at the centerboard case and below the stuffing box both in straight lines. It doesn't compromise the hull at all. If that's the case, I feel like the easiest solution is to cut all of it out until it dead ends above and forwards, use those flat sections and the blueprint that I have to cut templates and make a mold to attach to the remaining sections and fiberglass it from the outside. Does that seem plausible or is there a better way to do it.
    Here's a link to a video of the inside,
    Boat keel http://imgur.com/gallery/DlQL7BI
    And one other picture of the side I received. IMG_20200923_122705_674.jpg
     
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  14. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    Check and read the lines plan.
    Also see the video above, You are looking into the centerboard case.

    Ronjon, you will need to look very carefully at the centerboard case. If it is damaged or spread, now you are talking much more work. Additionally, the stbd side photo shows what looks like weeping cracks in the hull near the waterline. The rig is still up, which is good, but the money and time pit is getting bigger.
     

  15. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    Location: east gippsland australia

    brendan gardam Senior Member

    Ok . Now I see it. Is it needed considering the keel is quite deep already. Just wondering if you could glass the whole lot up and have a shoal draft yacht.
     
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