cracked Cast iron keel on 37' sailboat

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by arosental, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. arosental
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Location: Sugarland Texas

    arosental New Member

    REF 1983 37' Kyrie Elite (predecessor of the also french Feeling)

    bad bad news. Yahoo! Groups <notify@yahoogroups.com>

    Finally I was able to pull out the boat today onto the haul out for much needed repairs and paint, etc to see that there is a vertical crack in the cast iron keel that runs from top to bottom
    it runs pretty much vertical with with a bent 30
    degreeincline 10" from the bottom of the keel and then has a +75 degree brake in the opposite direction leaving it at 45 from the vertical.
    Does anybody have or know how the metal mass is supported? what else should I inspect? remeber that this is the boat that sit during low and normal tides on the mud for the better part of 9 years.

    1-does anybody know where can I get drwgs to make a new [lead]keel?
    2-does it have a ballast inside or is it solid cast iron"?
    2-do you know of any precedent similar fixes?
    3-who could make an adapt the design for a new [lead] keel ?
    3- It seems to me that iot should be possible to repair the keel in place by bolting through 3 or 4" longitudinal flat steel 2 or three plates and injstalling a "shoe at the bottom to make it rigid enough to not change the sttresses in the boat.
    3-and then, since i am planning to race it, maybe apply a few layers of fiberglass to smoothen up the surface?
    4- does anybody know how to get a hold of Ron Holland. I am told he is still alive
    5-does anybody know of a junk keel I can buy?

    I'll try to send pictures tonight if you send me your cellphone numbers or take some with own camera and post them here.pls help!!. Regards,

    Alex Rosental
    p: 281.654.1766
    c: 832.814.3657
     
  2. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

  3. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Wood Butcher

  4. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Wood Butcher

  5. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

  6. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    It could be that the keel is usable. While an iron keel ballast is a sort of "foundation" for some boats, providing a backbone upon which the hull depends to a certain extent for rigidity, your particular boat may be perfectly sound even with a "two-piece" ballast.
    Have a surveyor look it over. There are other issues to investigate too----- damage might have occurred after the keel broke.
    In any case, a new keel casting is expensive and could set you back a few bucks. It may be possible to remove and rebed the existing iron, one piece before the other, and bed between the two parts as well. All depends on whether the hull can remain rigid with a two-piece ballast.
    What's needed is a qualified professional to survey the damage.
     
  7. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    It could be repaired. Probably a combination of fasteners and welding. I agree to check out with a surveyor.
     
  8. Herman
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Location: The Netherlands

    Herman Senior Member

    Please post some pictures.

    If you bolt the damaged area together, you could use it to have a new keel cast. (as a master).

    1. consult the designer of your boat.
    2. Very probably a solid piece of cast iron
    2. Cracking in cast iron is not unfamiliar. Do not know about quality control for keels, though. Perhaps someone else can jump in (Par?)
    3. consult the designer of your boat, or any other designer you like.
    3. I cannot assess the damage. Difficult to say.
    3. Fairing a keel surface always helps. Cast iron keels are seldomly in a shape that is optimal for racing.
    4. No idea. But I would definately try http://www.ronhollanddesign.com/ which was the first hit typing "ron holland designer" in Google. You could have done the same.
    5. Racing and fitting an ill fitting keel does not seem like a good idea to me. Not even considering the chances of the keel falling off. Keels are among the parts of boats that you do not want to mess with.

    One more thing: I like the way you number your questions. In a panic? :)
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welding isn't very likely, but brazing might be, though I doubt it.

    There's really only a coupe of ways to know what's going on with the ballast casting and that's an x-ray or ultrasound.

    I can't think of a designer that would use such a ballast casting and not have it participate in the structural requirements in the yacht. This said, you've got a cracked or broken structural element, that needs professional inspection. It would be cheaper to have a lead casting made then a new iron one, unless you happen to have a mold handy.
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    There are welding rods for cast iron that work well. It is a low temperature stainless alloy that is very malleable.
     
  11. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    I've had iron "Ni-rodded", which must have been a nickel alloy. The problem is related to the depth of the weld. It's probably possible to vee an inch or more into the break or crack and fill it with multiple beads. Unfortunately, the casting has to be heated up to 350 f in an oven first, which is quite a large oven and quite a long time getting it up to temp, and the welds take time to make, so the casting may cool and have to be reheated during the operation.
    I think there may be no practical way to metallurgically join the two pieces. It may be possible after removing the iron to bolt it together (depending on the angle of the crack/break).
    PAR has a point about the switch to lead being a viable choice if the keel is deemed definitely structural (even lead has some structural input, though nothing so strong as cast iron). The draft could be lessened in the process.
    Any case, short of taking a chance and doing nothing, it's going to be an expensive fix.
     
  12. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

  13. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I've seen iron welded and brazed, but it depends on the quality of the casting, which often isn't very good when used as a ballast. I've also seen what happens when you try to weld these types of metal. It acts like pot metal, crumples or if you do get it to stick, it's not very strong, which also the problem with brazing.
     
  14. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    Actually, stainless steel welding rods (electrodes) welds cast iron perfectly and do not tend crack as cast iron welding rods does. I personally weld all cast iron with s/s welding rods.

    Note: Welding suppliers knows this, but would not recommend it - they will in fact keep you away from doing so. Reason; why give you a cheaper alternative welding rod than cast iron ones if the latter cost about 6 - 7 times more:?: (cost in my country)
     

  15. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The rods I am taking about are made to weld without heating. They penetrated well enough. A keel is an extreme case though. Probably a gouging rod or a plasma cutter would be a good way to open up the crack.
     
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