repair encapsulated lead keel damage?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Tieso, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Tieso
    Joined: Jan 2015
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    Location: New York

    Tieso New Member

    Hi boaters-

    I've got a boat that I inherited and am trying to decide to keep her or scrap her. 36 foot sailboat with a lot on the plus side of the balance sheet: clean 4-107, decent sails, good standing rig and lines, good through hulls, prop, cutless ...etc. She's been sitting well-covered on the hard for several years.

    But she's got some bulges on either side of the encapsulated lead keel, running from about one third of the way aft of the top of the fin, down and back to the trailing edge bottom corner, which has a ten inch high split. Tapped with a hammer, the bulges are about a foot side to side and are most pronounced at the top of the keel where it joins to the hull. The fiberglass shows some cracking in this location. By eyeball, I'd say that the glass has separated around a quarter inch from the underlying lead, and the total area affected is around 1 foot by 5 feet on each side.

    My thoughts are that some water got in and froze and heaved over the course of the time she's been sitting.

    The question is: how reparable is this? I doubt that there's any water in the keel now, because it likely drained out long ago. Would I need to completely remove and replace the glass on the bulges? Or is it possible to drill some holes at the tops of the bulges, clean it out with an acetone bath, and pour in laminating resin and clamp the sides back together? Or to perhaps pour in high density closed cell foam? And then properly glass over the holes and repair the trailing edge split?

    I have some attachment to the boat, but I'm not crazy. I'm trying to make the wisest choice here - chainsaw or repair - and am just looking for some advice.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    What type of boat is it? The fiberglass over the keel on many boats is for fairing purposes mainly. Are there keel bolts visible on the bilge?
     
  3. Tieso
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    Tieso New Member

    It's a Morgan IOR boat, Gonzo. Mid 70s. Yes there are keel bolts in the bilge, and yes, they look good. A teeny bit of rust on one of them., but otherwise solid and un-tampered with, with good backing plates.
     
  4. Tieso
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    Tieso New Member

    My worry is that if I need to completely remove all of the glass, and replace with alternating layers of chopped mat and woven cloth, I’m looking at a ton in cloth and vinylester, 10 or 15 layers or so, not to mention an insane amount of work.
     
  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Removing the laminate will not be too hard. You can make cuts with a circular saw and peel off the laminate. The work to laminate the keel should not be more than 40-50 hours for a fair job. I assume you don't need a racing finish.
     
  6. Tieso
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    Tieso New Member

    Thanks. Yeah, I was thinking that about cutting the laminate with a skill saw, too. That's the easy part.

    So it can't be filled in place with 16lb closed cell foam after flushing with acetone? Or maybe coaxed back into seal with some creative clamping? The laminate has to come off, even if I'm not too concerned about the profile?

    Have you ever seen this sort of thing before? No apparent damage... just this delamination? Is it common? Cause it's new to me.
     

  7. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    It may only be local. I would cut around the bubbles and if the rest is still adhered, leave it alone.
     
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