How is the lead ballast keel fixed in an Owens 40 and other questions

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Tim Rowe, Oct 25, 2019.

  1. Tim Rowe
    Joined: Oct 2019
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Spain

    Tim Rowe New Member

    This Owens 40 called Rubicon was built in 1948 and an entry in Lloyds Register of American Yachts 1955 suggested this might be her original name. Clearly at over 70 years old there has been much re-work. The deck in not original. It looks like the counter has been shortened a fraction and there is no diagonal inner skin on the lower 6 planks of the hull and a few new planks in the topsides near the chainplates. Looking around a bit in this forum this all seems par for the course. The big unknown is the condition of the keel bolts and we think they are original and unchecked.
    I think this is overdue so we arranged ultrasound tests on the heads of the bolts that were cleaned up for the purpose. On all the floor and centerline fastening not going through the lead ballast, we got clear back echoes corresponding to the estimated length of the bolts. A good result. On the keel bolts however we got dirty echoes about 3" into the bolt and couldn't determine any clear echo at the estimated length of the bolt and the readings were consistent across 8 bolts tested.
    It was decided therefore to extract a couple of bolts for close examination and despite looking very hard we cannot see hoe the bolts are fixed in the lead. There are conventional nuts and washers internally but on the underside of the lead, no sign of any plug of filler and no sign of any galleried nuts in the side of the keel which is hardly surprising seeing as the lead is not that deep. We have very carefully disc sanded the side and bottom of the keel and there no one trace of evidence of a bolts.
    This make me wonder if the bolts were cast in place in which case was there ever any intention that one day, someone, make like to take one or two out for inspection.
    This is the ideal time as we have the tanks and the engine out so everything is beautifully accessible.

    I would very hugely grateful if anyone could come up with an answers as to how the keel bolts are fixed on this otherwise rather lovely Owens 40.

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