Neglected Kells 23 sailboat... advice sought

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by retrosub, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    Kells 23 strawler conversion

    A friend gave me a Kells 23 sailboat, it's a bit like a Catalina 22, but with a glassed-in 750 lb shoal draft keel. I had the boat checked out at the marina (unfortunately after doing the registration paperwork), and the mechanic said I should throw it away. Some hardware at the bow was removed and water intruded and rotted the balsa core decks. They gave me a break on the storage fees, but wanted it off their lot.

    I should have known something was wrong when I towed it 40 miles home. Inside the boat there was a couple hundred gallons of water sloshing around. Naturally this rotted most of the wood, especially the wood between the fiberglass layers. Apparently Kells laid plywood down and then glassed over it to create flat surfaces. Well, the fiberglass hull seems sound, but the upper layer is just peeling away from the rotted plywood. I'm not sure how to get a look at all of it, save cutting out the molded in furniture (galley, dinette, etc).

    I'm not really sure what to do at this point. Throwing away the boat will cost money at the dump, but I should be able to recoup some from recycling or selling the sailing bits. (How would I cut off and salvage a 750 lb glassed-in lead keel?) The trailer is the best part of the boat, it might offset the dump fee.

    Or... I've seen some neat terminal trawlers, sprawlers, etc, and this looks like it would be a good hull for a project like that. It's fairly flat on the bottom and doesn't look like it'll roll wildly. The keel isn't too deep. And it's sitting on a trailer next to the house, so it's easy to work on in spare moments.

    What to do?
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2014
  2. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Believe those who say get rid of it.
    Cut off the keel with a masonary saw blade and a little caution.
    Sell the lead/ sailing bits (good luck, there are a lots around)
    If you want to avoid dump fees, use the same saw blade to cut up small chunks to put in the trash, for the next year or so.
     
  3. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    Here's a pic of the rotten plywood and the fiberglass skin peeling up.
     

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  4. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    Another pic of where this came from.

    I wish garbage collection was free, we pay to put a tag on every can, so the dump might actually be cheaper.
     

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  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The fixed shoal version, which is what I think you have:

    [​IMG]

    This could be converted into a harbor launch, a putt putt or a displacement power cruiser, but it's a bit of work.

    Draft is just 28" and the ballast is about 700 pounds, in the bottom of the fin. Hack out what's bad, make a simple sidedeck to support the sheer, maybe a small cuddy cabin with a helm on the aft bulkhead. A new cockpit sole and a 9.9 HP outboard mounted in the center of the transom.
     
  6. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Once again a rotten ply core!. This is a common problem on loads of boats and is primarily down to 1. Ply quality, mostly exterior or interior not marine and 2. The ply has not been sealed with resin prior to glassing in and 3. Fasteners put in or through, that allow water into the core ie unsealed holes.

    It happens in boats 5 or 6 years old, let alone older. In fact those photos show recognisable ply as opposed to the 'dust' I found in the footwell of a 10 year old 2.4 Meter recently!.

    PAR has it right, chop out the rotten stuff and replan it or jigsaw it into litle bits and dump. If the basic hull is still good and stiff despite minor areas of core repair it maybe worth doing. If the hull is soft in many places, I would be wary ofmaking it seaworthy. Ask someone local (and knowledgeable) who can get a 'hands on' feel of the boat in a non judgemental way ie will tell it as it is. Most likely, not worth any yard touching but as a personal project doable but only if the hull shell is sound.
     
  7. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    Par, your design brief is exactly what I had in mind. I would cut the top off at the sheer and install wide side decks over them. A cuddy would be a from-scratch design, there is nothing worth keeping. An outside helm seems necessary on a boat this size to get the most room in the cabin. Although I'm also considering a tiller outboard, leaving the vee berth as a casting deck and a huge and uncluttered self-bailing deck for the rest of the boat. Putt putt workboat of sorts.

    Suki, thanks for the details. I'll pull out what I can and get someone to inspect the outer hull.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I would recommend you use remote steering and controls, as the boat's balance wouldn't like you standing at it's stern with a tiller steer setup. These are easy to rig as a home made system, or you could spring for a factory made system.

    Forget about standing headroom, unless it's under a soft dodger of some sort (bimini). Weight things as you cut and remove them, so you know how much weight you can put back.
     
  9. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    It begins
     

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  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It's important to support the boat properly , before you remove too much structure, as the hull can distort and ruin it's shape. This often is simple a set of female station molds, say 3 or 4 along the length of the boat, attached to the trailer or building cradle. This will insure the boat can rest in a set of shapes, similar to what it's suppose to be. Plywood or exterior rated OSB will do, with a few stringers (1x2's, 2x4's, etc.) between them, to help hold up unsupported areas and keep the molds in alignment.

    The deck cap will require some force to remove, unless you cut the flange. I don't recommend cutting this flange, because it offers a great deal of stiffness to the sheer. Cut the cap, remove the bulk of it, then slice off the cap's flange, leaving the hulls portion intact. This remaining flange will help a lot in attaching new sidedecks.

    For a powerboat, you'll want two longitudinal stringers (1x6's) from the transom, running as far forward as the hull will permit (likely ending near the aft face of a V berth). They'll sit on edge and be "tabbed" to the hull shell about 12" to either side of the centerline. The hull looks like it had a vertical element in this location anyway, so it'll want this support. Over these stringers, you'll install the plywood sole plates, glued and screwed to the stringers and a perimeter cleat, tabbed to the hull shell along the edges. Of course make some access and permit drainage with weep holes, any place water can collect. Tabbing should be a least a few layers of 45/45 biax, with a 4" overlap as minimum.
     
  11. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    I was going to cut the cap and keep both flanges, and install side decks on top. I'm not sure why I would remove the cap flange?

    My local lumber store has Meranti in 1/2" and 3/4", but other sizes will be a special order and very expensive. So I'm thinking to use 1/2" marine ply doubled up for the stringers. Will I need cross braces perpendicular to the stringers, and if so, at what intervals?

    There were no stringers or vertical structures here, just a plywood sub-floor that rotted out. Maybe the centerboard model had supports, but the fixed keel version has nothing. All of the molded-in furniture was suspended off the hull and not providing structure to the hull in any way. The hull layup is surprisingly stiff, and I wonder if I'll need molds.

    The sole I can do out of 3/4" Meranti, I want it solid like walking on a dock. I'm assuming the cleats can be out of 1x1s, but then I wouldn't want to screw through that, right? What about not screwing, just gluing down with epoxy and weighting with sand bags?

    Will three overlapping layers of 6" 6oz biax be enough, or would you use 12oz on the stringers?

    Many thanks!
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The deck cap flange may be glued in position, though considering the era of the boat, it's probably just screwed together with sheet metal screws over a bed of butyl rubber sealant. On a boat this age, the screws and/or the sealant should be questioned, which is why I recommended removing it.

    Though the "liner" seems to not have been supporting anything, I'm sure it was, certainly by way of athwart stiffness. Yes, the liner does seem to float in space, but all the curves and angles within it, are attached at the rail, greatly stiffening it up.

    3/4" plywood for a sole on this size boat is considerably more then you need. 3/8" to 1/2" is all it takes. A 1x1 doesn't have much contact area, let alone sufficient depth to receive a screw. Use a 1x2, glued on the flat around the perimeter of the sole, beveling the top so it lands flush. Once glued, tab this sole perimeter cleat on with at least 2 layers of 12 ounce biax. If you want solid, use closely spaced supports under the sole (16" is good, but 24" is more common). These can be 1/4" plywood, tabbed to the hull shell. These supports and two longitudinal stringers I mentioned, make a bit of an "egg crate" sort of deal under the sole, which is stiff and light. It's usually necessary to glue a 1x2 along the top edge of these, so you have a wide enough area for gluing the sole. Screws aren't necessary, but can be handy as temporary fasteners as the goo cures.

    6 ounce biax is for canoes and kayaks. Use 12 ounce. Also avoid the combo fabrics, like 1208, as they are biax stitched to mat, which just wastes resin and adds little strength.
     
  13. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    From looking at the inside and outside, it appears the top cap was epoxied at the flange. Good news, one less thing to remove. I'm going to cut out a good chunk of the cap tomorrow.
     

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  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    That's the classic "shoe box" flange (the weakest, but most common type) and it appears to be polyurethane, not epoxy. The polyurethane will be hard, but you can dent it with a fingernail pushed in firmly. I'd still remove the deck cap portion of the flange, if only to insure it's not going to leak (pretty common on this type of flange). The fastener spacing seems pretty skimpy too, so random leaks would be a reasonably assessment on a boat this old. To remove the old polyurethane, after the screws are pulled, a hot knife or my preferred method, a hot hacksaw blade. I have a hacksaw blade I've attached to a wooden handle and I heat it with a torch, then work it along the seam by hand. This allows me to feel what's getting cut and the glowing hot blade slides right through the cured goo.
     

  15. retrosub
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    retrosub Junior Member

    Well it's good that one of us knows what he's doing. I'll make a tool like this and report back.
     
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