Tom Ashton's Keel Saga
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The story on this page is from Tom Ashton [ ] in Bellingham, WA. Tom has done extensive work on his keel, keel bolts and keel mounting. He was gracious enough to share his experience in writing.
Everything, And More, That You Wanted To Know About P-26 Keels But Were Afraid To Ask, By Tom Ashton

Several fellow Pearson 26 owners have asked for information about my keel repair project, so I have prepared the following history and/or litany of woe. It certainly is not the definitive word on this subject and may contain erroneous information about methods of repair. If you know someone knowledgeable about fiberglass, run it past him or her before following in my steps.

Imposters and charlatans performed the techniques discussed in this narrative. They were driven by desperation and working in uncontrolled conditions and locations. Your results may differ. Because neither Dan Pfeiffer (who has generously offered to post this on his web page along with some photos that illustrate parts of the process) nor I, can control the actual operations on your boat, neither Dan nor I will assume any responsibility or liability for the methods or techniques described herein. In fact, we warn you-DO NOT DO THIS TO YOUR BOAT.

Hopefully, however, my tribulations will provide some useful background about the construction of the boat and potential problems in diagnosing and dealing with hull/keel problems. It also contains some descriptive information that I would categorize as of the, "Damn, I wish I had known that," variety. Mercifully, my spouse has never, ever, uttered any of those ITYS words during this process; earlier processes yes, but not this one. Yet.....

Some background may be helpful with diagnosis of similar conditions. In the late fall of 1990, several months after we bought into Kona (P-26, 1974, #788), I noticed small accumulations of water in the bilge, never more than a quart or so, and generally far less. Kona's former owner, our old friend and our still, but increasingly illusive, friend and boat partner, had owned the boat for 5 or 6 years. She said that was the way it had always been as far as she knew.

The survey that our now partner, still friend, had done before she acquired the boat (1985-86) noted the presence of iron keel bolts, but did nothing more than comment on that fact. Just as it did no more than note that the cockpit drains were attached to fiberglass risers and had no seacocks. (Installation of these seacocks is another project that was completed in the process of the keel repair.)

Anyway, I now had a sailboat, a real one, not the old vinyl clad Sears brand pseudo-Snark I had gladly abandoned in Texas in 1980. Given that Kona's prior owner was our boat partner/friend, and still being somewhat euphoric about owning a real boat (Interesting concept, that-Does one ever "own" a boat, or are they like cats, a life form that has apparently learned to domesticate humans?) I was not particularly concerned about the small amount of water in the bilge, and I never seriously tried to isolate the problem, although I noted the keel bolts had significant accumulations rust.

At that point, as a new boat owner, I was too busy trying to figure out the basics-Why the tiller tore itself out of my hand when I made a slight turn while barely making way out of the marina on my first unsupervised sail (rudder reversed) or whether the flames spewing out of the knobs on the Coleman propane stovetop were some sort of ingenious pre-heater for the hands? (Quite functional, at least temporarily, as a pre-heater; or as an incendiary device, but not as stove).

Or, why is it that the main will not go all the way up, and the boom barely clears the cabin top even when the halyard is fully tensioned and the rope to wire knot on the main halyard is not caught on the spreaders or anything else. . . .? When, say the cunningham, or maybe the vang, or something like that, was not loosened when the sail was last taken in? Or, how about this one-Why is the mainsail full, yet the boat will not point; the mainsheet is pulled most of the way in and the topping lift is; it is, released? Isn't it? (I believe someone else made the point about sailing single handed being peaceful, but most of all, leaving no living witnesses.)

Then came the final indignity; the first overnight sail, out across the bay to raft up with friends in a small cove. Six of us, on two boats; two couples each with a very small child. We went to bed late, but when I awoke at dawn and stepped out of the dinette berth onto the tattered carpet covering the sole, it squished. Wonder why? Wow, stinks too! Well, I suppose the fact that there had been a back siphon through the Y valve into the 3 gallon plastic milk jug in the forward port dinette locker then used as a holding tank could explain all that. Get the kid and the spouse off onto the friend's boat and clean up the mess.

I immediately decided the head had to be made safe, maybe even legal, and had the boat hauled in the late spring of 1991. During that haul, I noticed small hairline cracks in the area where the cast iron keel was attached to the fiberglass hull. Those cracks continued to weep for several days after hauling. I also discovered a cylindrical recess on the under side of the keel flange, extending upward, through the keel, terminating with what appeared to be a large flat head slotted screw. I just kept on sanding and plotting the refit of the head.

I had no idea what I was dealing with on the keel and no readily available source of information. After consultation with various local notables, (three of whom, since mid-June of this year, have apparently entered the federal witness protection program-at least I could find none of said notables, nor their boats, during the summer of 1998), I dug out the fairing, some sort of Bondo-like material, around the keel/hull boundary as well as some black rubber-like material that seemed to be above the Bondo.

My explorations along the margin of the keel flange abutting the hull revealed the top of the keel was recessed into the bottom of the hull by an inch or so, and that there was a 1/2 to 3/4 inch gap around the margin, between the edge of the keel flange and the hull. Just enough room to poke into, but not enough room to see into or get a mirror into. The slotted object in the recess cylindrical recess in the keel was presumed, by process of elimination, to be the head of a keel bolt, but none of said local notables would admit to having ever seen anything quite like that before.

There continued to be a slight amount of water oozing from the flange area as I worked my way around the keel removing all of the Bondo and rubber-like material I could reach. I then dried the area as best I could, using time, the baking heat and windless conditions in the boat yard, and later, blasts of compressed air; then streams of acetone from a spray bottle, followed by more blasts of compressed air. I tried to tighten the nuts on the keel bolts from the bilge, but the nuts would not budge. I was out of time and I was afraid I was in over my head.

Anyway, after I removed as much of the water as possible, cleaned the depths of the keel/hull recess as well as I could, I shot the void full of 5200, refaired the keel/hull margins, and the aforementioned hole in the keel, with micro-balloons and epoxy, painted the bottom, and put her back in the water. I pulled her next in 1993, and again in 1995, found no problems, repainted the bottom, and put her back in.

This spring, I had decided finally had to replace the rudder bushings after having been unable to drop the rudder during the 1995 haul, having not even tried to drop it in 1991, and having been far too traumatized in 1993 to do anything more than paint while I had her out. So I planned for a few extra days for the 1998 haul out, ordered new bushings, and planned my attack-and a nice week-long sail in the San Juan Islands in late June or July.

The real keel saga began when I had her hauled the day after Memorial Day 1998. After I finally was able to drive the retaining bolt from the rudder stock and collar, I got the rudder to drop. I discovered that the rudderpost had severe corrosion, particularly on the lower bearing surface immediately above the upper surface of the rudder itself. The rudder seemed much heavier than the 85 ( lbs I expected. Anyway, I horsed the rudder it into the back of my beater truck and hauled it home and into my "shop" for closer examination and contemplated the epoxy-bearing fix.

After picking away at the deepest pit with a small punch and a light hammer, I broke through the bottom of the corrosion and discovered that what I had assumed to be a solid aluminum billet was actually aluminum tubing. Tubing that was full of some sort of caustic or acidic liquid-liquid that took the skin off my hands and, which after splashing on a nearby W.W.II vintage tool box, took the paint right off that sucker. I mean it left nothing, nothing but shinny metal.

I drilled a few more holes in the rudder itself in line with where I assumed the rudderstock should have extended into the rudder. The lower I drilled, the farther it spurted-I decided the only viable solution was replacement and ordered a new rudder.

That gave me two weeks with the boat in the yard in a bunk-Way too much time to explore those other little mysteries. I should have known better.

I began my adventure by removing the nut from the aft keel bolt. I had earlier determined it was leaking slightly (I drew a line around it with chalk after coming in from sailing one day; when I checked several days later, drops of water had trickled down across the line leaving a telltale track.) Removal of the nut on the keel bolt required the use of an impact wrench and copious quantities of a penetrating oil (Kroil) that will also eat up your hands. (Keep it off the fiberglass as much as possible).

Once that aft nut, its oversized flat, and the bonding wire beneath it were removed, the reason the aft end of the fiberglass keel recess in the bilge looked funny was revealed. There was an ovalized hole in the fiberglass, under the flat, with the excess filled with silicone and some fiberglass camouflage. This was not a good sign.

I then removed the forward keel bolt and found the same thing, except there had been no additional glass added in that area; it wasn't necessary. Apparently, when a sailboat goes hard aground there is apt to be more damage aft than forward-Something about angular momentum, righting moments, vectors, sine waves, harmonic doublers, continental drift, and a bunch of other para-normal mumbo-jumbo that doesn't really exist, but which is claimed to exist, largely for the purposes of keeping physicists employed and any normal person brave enough to shout "Bullshit" about it, out of medical school and thus forever after a cast out; a Darwinist example of evolution gone bad, committed to a life of penury and social obduracy. I think Bob Dole said it best, "Whatever.

Working aft, along the port side, I removed the most corroded nut, from the middle pair of bolts, if I recall, and found the upper end of two distinct bolt holes drilled in the keel; sort of a downward pointing "V" effect. The portion of this "V"-shaped hole most recently in use had been drilled at a sharp angle to the original hole which had been filled with silicone, something like sawdust mixed with glue, salt crust, and hair, then hidden by an oversized washer, some glass, and several artfully applied additional layers of crud.

This was beginning to concern me. It seemed clear that the keel had to come off. I removed, inspected, and loosely retightened four of the five remaining nuts on the keel bolts, finding similar problems. The remaining nut refused to budge. I knew then that I was on a downhill slide, hard astraddle the razor blade of life.

That remaining nut persisted in its deeply engrained, well established, desperately defended pattern of perverse and perverted maladaptive behavior. Despite much cussing, sweating, threatening, gesticulation, and deeply derogatory and deprecatory comments, libelous observations, and profane accusations about that last nut's ancestors and heirs, forefathers and legatees, assigns and assignees, devisors and devisees, designees, agents, servants, and all others acting in concert with any of the aforementioned, as well as all running-dog lackeys, conspirators, co-conspirators, both indicted and unindicted, aiders, abettors and accessories, both before and after the fact, and all sorts of other assorted ruffianous riffraff, that last nut would neither budge nor split.

Accordingly, it was finally dispatched by attacking it with a SawsAll, cutting downward, vertically through the heart of that damn nut and the exposed upper end of its bolt, until sweat drenched, blood splattered, and too hot to handle, I rent it asunder, ripped it from the very bowels of the bilge itself, and flung into the darkness-Where it landed on windshield of my truck. Damn! Anyway, at least all the keel bolts were now free, and, except for the last one, still loosely attached to their nuts.

To remove the keel, I took two 2 x 10's and fastened a 2 x 4 along the upper side of each. I then placed one 2 x 10's on either side of the keel, below the swell to the flange, and fastened the 2 x 10's together, fore and aft, with 3 bolts made of 1/2" all-thread, capturing a scrap piece of 2 x 6 between the 2 x10's so that the 2 x10's were not bent to the point of breaking. (Sort of a keel sandwich.)

With this "handle" parallel to the keel and held in place by the pressure of the bolts and the swell of the flange on the top of the keel, the boat was lifted out of the bunk by the crane. The forklift was then able to pick up the keel by catching the 2 x 10 handles above the forks. This enabled me to drive the keel bolts out of the hull from above with a heavy hammer and a punch before either the keel or the hull was moved.

The boat was then lifted back into the bunk, blocked with several large cubes of Styrofoam placed at either end of the keel recess in the hull, and supported by the three adjustable stands on each side of the bunk. Examining the now-exposed recess from beneath the hull, I found enough silicone to last an entire chain of topless cabarets at least 500 years. It was well over 1/4 inch thick to port, thinning to 1/8 inch to starboard. All of a sudden it was very clear why the keel never looked quite plumb when the boat was out of the water and why it handled differently on opposite tacks.

After removing the keel, I began damage assessment. Hunched over in the bilge, I ground down through the fiberglass skin on aft end of the keel recess. I found a ( 1/2 to 5/8 inch mahogany plywood stiffener, running fore and aft, covered with the fiberglass glass (( 1/4 to 1/2" thick) visible in the bilge when the floor boards are removed. At the forward end of the keel recess, I found the same thing.

I then began grinding out each of the paired bolt holes in bilge down to the level of the plywood stiffener (using the ( 12 x 1 bevel recommended by West Systems in their booklet on repairs of fiberglass boats). When I reached the level of the plywood, I found each bolt hole appeared to have been originally been drilled through the plywood stiffener in the middle of a larger ( 1-1/2" diameter hole filled with something resembling solid resin or epoxy. (These larger holes are hereinafter referred to as the "11/2" "inserts", although they appear not to have been inserted but rather appear to have been poured in place at some step in the manufacturing process.) Incidentally, I believe this area was OEM; the boat butchers had not gone this deep in their previous "repairs."

In, or immediately surrounding, several of these 11/2" "inserts", I found small voids (old bubbles?) and/or localized rot in the plywood stiffener immediately adjoining the "insert". I was then faced the dilemma of either grinding down through the plywood stiffener to be able to achieve the recommended 12 x 1 ratio bevel or leaving the ovalized or oversized bolt holes, cleaning them out, and refilling them with epoxy and either high density filler or milled fibers. My initial thought was to clean and fill, and that is what I did on two of the bolt holes in the 11/2" "inserts".

The next day, it was hot! I was back under the boat trying to remove the silicone residue in the keel recess instead of working in the cabin. I decided to grind through an area of gelcoat on the underside of the keel recess where it appeared the gelcoat had hairline cracks, as if from an impact. After grinding off a patch of gelcoat 3 to 4" in diameter, I rested, and it was good.

Returning to my labors under the boat, however, I discovered the sunlight streaming through the open forward hatch had illuminated the area of the keel recess where I had just removed the gelcoat. In that bright light and sharp contrast, I could clearly see small fracture lines running through the glass "inserts" in the plywood through which the keel bolt holes had been drilled. It was apparent that simply filling the oversized ovalized holes and redrilling would retain compromised glass in the "inserts" in the area between the bolt holes and the plywood.

It seemed obvious that I was going to have to remove the fractured glass somehow, but I did not want to reduce the remaining strength in the still sound portion of the plywood stiffener. Returning to Hardware Sales, a great local non-chain hardware store that has tools that you have never even thought of (and some items that do not even exist), I found small arbors (2 sizes, 3/4 and 1- 1/2 " that would attach in the chuck of my Milwaukee 1/2" drill, and sanding pads, 36 to 180 grit, that threaded into the arbor. This allowed me to carefully grind down through the 11/2" "insert" without removing any significant amount of the sound plywood surrounding the "insert".

After removing the gelcoat surrounding each of the remaining bolt holes in the keel recess from below, I ground the glass in the "insert" down from above, either almost all the way through the "insert" and the fiberglass layer below the plywood and above the gelcoat, or until any visibly damaged portion of the insert had been removed. In a couple of places, I actually ground small holes in the bottom.

I found that spraying the glass remaining in the "inserts" with an acetone mist while maintaining a bright light from above was very helpful in identifying when the damaged glass had been removed. Where I had ground clear though the bottom gelcoat, I attached blue masking tape from the bottom temporarily close the holes.

After carefully cleaning and inspecting the remaining glass and plywood, I began the rebuilding process by wetting out the cavities I had created in and around the "inserts" with West System epoxy without any additives. When that coating began to set, I filled the remaining void in the "insert" with West System epoxy resin, slow hardener, and high density filler, but only to the level of the surrounding sound plywood in the stiffener. After this patch was completely cured, I cleaned off the amine blush and resanded the surface with either 36 or 60 grit, vacuumed up as much of the residue as possible. (I still itch.)

I was then ready to fill each of the 12 x 1 beveled cavities, one by one. I started with the aft bolt hole, simply because it was the most accessible and I wanted to make my mistakes where they would be easiest to fix. Well, after I had applied about five layers of heavy 45(cloth, laid in alternating patterns with the largest piece at the bottom and the smallest piece on the top, and thoroughly wet out with epoxy, high density filler, and fast hardener, the reaction got away from me and the patch became way too hot to handle.

West System's otherwise very helpful materials do not provide much guidance on what to do in when this occurs, other than to get the materials outside and to avoid starting a fire by placing the exothermic reaction somewhere other than in the trash with paper or wood scraps. Avoiding the trash and the wood scraps I could handle, but getting it outside . . . ?

There was not a whole lot I could do but wait for the reaction to finish, cursing my stupidity and hoping that I had not set the boat on fire. After the patch cooled and cured, I noted some brownish discoloration in the patch, so, I ground the patch back out and started over. This time I used slow hardener and allowed the patch to partially cure after applying several layers of the 45( cloth, epoxy resin, high density filler and slow hardener, before applying additional layers.

Where physically possible, I extended the patch around curves and beyond the margins of the 12 x 1 bevel to spread the load. When I reached the desired thickness, I roughly faired the top surface and moved on to the remaining holes, filling each, one at a time. I then applied a couple of layers of glass cloth to the top and wet it out with epoxy mixed with high density filler to create a smooth surface which coated with 4-6 coats of epoxy to create a final fair, and hopefully waterproof, surface.

Returning to the underside of the hull, after grinding out the gelcoat around each of the bolt holes, I ground upwards to the bottom the patch I had applied from above, or to sound material, using a 12x 1 bevel on three sides of the bolt holes, and grinding as far as I felt I could reasonably go towards the perimeter of the hull recess without compromising the strength that it appears the shoulder of that recess is designed to provide. After carefully cleaning the area, I began patching the concavities I had created in the hull recess from below.

This time I started on one of the lateral pairs of bolt holes, again because the access was easier. I began this process by cutting at least five layers of 45( cloth in the shape of the semi-concentric hole I had created, decreasing the size of each layer. When the combined thickness of the layers of the dry cloth was slightly less than the depth of the hole, I wet out the area to be patched with resin and slow hardener. While waiting for the wet out area to become tacky, I wet out my patch, smallest piece on the bottom, layer by layer in increasing size, on a piece of Masonite covered with waxed paper.

I used the resin, high density filler, and slow hardener for this step, applying each layer over a thoroughly wet out lower layer that had been rolled gently with a small section of a West Systems roller. When the patch was ready, I mixed up an additional quantity of resin, high density filler, and slow hardener to a fairly thick consistency and placed a generous glob on the upper surface of the patch.

After arranging blocking in the bunk beneath the keel recess, I applied the patch by pushing the Masonite up against the hull. I then stuck a hydraulic jack in on top of the blocking, inserted a foot long piece of 3/4" plywood cut to just under the width of the keel recess between the jack and the Masonite, and raised the jack until the epoxy began to squeeze out from each edge. I let it to cure for at least 24 hours before releasing the pressure. For the end holes, the 3/4 plywood was cut to a radius approximating the curve in the recess. Each hole required the same process. (My one attempt at patching an adjoining pair simultaneously was aborted because I could not line up each patch properly.)

After releasing the pressure, I removed the plywood (I had to use a mallet and a block a couple of time because of drips), removed the Masonite and the wax paper. I washed the surface, cleaned it with acetone, and then ground the patch down to roughly fair with the surrounding area. Once fair, I gave it several coats of plain epoxy and barrier coat additive before beginning the process of reattaching the keel. (Since I had lots of time, I also removed all the bottom paint and performed minor blister repair. I intend to barrier coat the entire bottom after the keel is attached and before I apply the bottom paint.

That is as far as I have gotten on the hull because the weather has now become so unpredictable that I cannot control the curing of the epoxy, but at least the damn holes are finally plugged.

The keel is another story. After driving out the keel bolts, (5/8 x 3 1/2 x 11 tpi, galvanized flathead machine screws); bent in a slight dogleg at the point at which the keel and the hull were joined-further evidence of physics at work, I laid the keel on a pallet and I began removing bottom paint and rust.

After an initial flurry of hunting for replacement bolts and looking for advice for materials anywhere that I could find it, I was persuaded to use silicone bronze bolts, nuts, and flats. I located only four bolts that were suitable in the entire Seattle-Tacoma area, and had to forage to the East Coast for any more. The closest I could come was 4", but at that point, cutting off the extra was length was not a concern-until they arrived and I discovered that the threaded portion of the bolt was going to be veeerrrryyyy close to being too short. If (when?) the bolt stretched, I would not be able to tighten it further without adding washers or cutting additional threads on the bolt.

By the time the bolts arrived, however, I had cleaned one side of the keel and most of the rust and silicone from the top of the keel itself. I then realized that the boat butchers had "improved" the bolt holes drilled in the keel to accommodate their "custom keel bolt installation." As a result, the bolt bearing shoulders in the keel's bolt holes were uneven and the holes themselves were irregular at best and significantly ovalized at worst. This would clearly not allow a clean and fair mating of the bolt heads and the shoulders. I was afraid it could, at best, result in a perpetual leak. AT worst, it seemed to be that it could eventually result in the failure of either the flange on the cast iron keel or in the keel bolts as a result of uneven pressure.

After casting about for advice on my ever expanding process, the advice of a machinist at a local commercial boat repair facility seemed best; overbore the holes in the keel and sleeve them. Then reattach with No. 8 iron bolts, (silicone bronze has significantly less sheer strength and stainless is problematic in wet anaerobic conditions) and using a steel backing plate under the nuts in the bilge. Since the backing plate had already been fabricated for use as a template during the drilling and sleeving process, and because the bearing surface of the keel bolt nut is the upper part of the fiberglass in the bilge and hopefully the leak problems are solved for good, that seemed reasonable enough.

The forward floorboard cross support, next to the compression post, would not interfere with the backing plate; it had to be removed earlier to get at the keel bolt nut that it partially covered after the boat butcher's remodel. The middle floorboard cross support could be cut away as well and then rebuilt, except that this cross support supports the cabin liner in that area, and I did not want to lose that bit of structural integrity. So I let it be and will turn the backing plate into several backing plates which will make installation easier to handle. It also makes it easier notch the backing plate to deal with nasty little places like where a locker (forward port settee) is glassed in directly against the keel recess.

At this point, the keel is now bored, the sleeves are ready, and the keel has been transported to back to the yard for alignment and reattachment to the hull. This is going to be tricky, because the original bolt holes in the hull are now filled and those now in the keel may not be in exactly on the original centers. (The holes in the keel are pretty close, but since they were overbored, they may not be on dead center with the original holes). The machine shop has, however established the mid-point of the keel, marked each end, and has inserted three sacrificial 1/2 studs in the top of the keel, between each pair of bolt holes, that I can use for alignment purposes.

The keel was temporarily supported by a piece of channel steel ( 6' long placed across the top of the keel and bolted through the bolt holes nearest the fore and aft center of gravity and at right angles to the keel, so the keel could be held in a vertical position. The channel steel rested on top of a couple of barrels with the base of the keel is blocked to support the majority of the weight. During this process, significant attention had to be given to the fact that the keel is much heavier forward than aft, and wants to stand on the leading edge.

I then constructed a custom pallet and frame permitting the keel to be held in a vertical position as it is lifted by the forklift and placed on the bunk under the boat. (To do this, the middle adjustable stand will have to be cut from the bunk and later reattached, but these yard folks have been great to deal with.) It might be simpler to just use the crane to lift the boat and reattach it to the keel, but if anything goes wrong, or there is any significant delay, the crane gets very expensive very fast.

The following is the tentative plan for realignment and reattachment of the keel.

1. The unprepared surface keel surface will be rough finished with the grinder and a barrier coat of epoxy will be applied to the top of the keel, the margins of the flange, and the bottom of the keel.

2. A template will be prepared from HDP board, with rough holes drilled for the sacrificial studs drilled as indicated by the backing plate. These holes can then be centered and the template trimmed in place on the keel to the exact size and shape of the keel flange, including any proportional changes in thickness of the flange;

3. A tentative centerline for the hull will be established by chalk line, plumb bob, measurement, and dead reckoning;

4. Using as the centerline of the hull the previously located chalk line, the template will be fit to the hull and any fairing necessary to the hull patches will be completed;

5. Three holes will then be drilled in the hull to accept the sacrificial studs; if necessary, these holes can be overbored to allow for some adjustment; Once the recess is true, alignment points will be marked on the hull and the keel and the template can be removed;

6. At this point, the keel will be moved under the hull by the forklift and very roughly aligned;

7. The 1/2 '' allthread will be lowered through the holes in the keel and fastened in the holes drilled for the sacrificial studs.

8. The keel will then be carefully raised on the pallet with a hydraulic jack and cribbing under the pallet until keel is aligned, using levers and dunnage as necessary, with the hull and the all-thread on the sacrificial studs can be fully snugged up;

9. The keel can now be rechecked for alignment with the hull by enlarging any of the sacrificial bolt holes as necessary;

10. Once alignment is correct, the keel bolt holes will be drilled up through the actual bolt holes in the keel with each bolt hole being secured with a temporary bolt run through the backing plate and temporary oversize washer and nut inside the hull;

11. Once all the temporary bolts have been installed, alignment will be checked and the keel will be lowered slightly by loosening the temporary bolts and removing some blocking;

12. The cavity between the hull and the keel will then be filled with 5200 and the keel can now be retightened to the hull; before the 5200 is cured, the temporary bolts will be removed and replaced, one by one, with the permanent bolts, washers, and nuts,

13. The excess 5200 can be then be removed, the pallet cut away removed, the adjustable pad rewelded to the bunk, and the keel and boat blocked back in place.

14. The sacrificial bolts can either be retained as additional fasteners by reinserting the studs, or removed and the holes filled with epoxy mixed with high density filler;

15. The new rudder will then be attached (it has already been dry fit and the rudder tube reinforced) and the boat and bunk will be moved to the clean area by forklift.

16. The boat will be power washed and lightly sanded all over, washed with clean water and hand dried; a barrier coat will be applied to the remainder of the keel and the hull and allowed to cure;

17. After light sanding, the bottom paint is applied less than seven days prior to launch. The mast will be re-stepped at launch.

Since most of this work has to occur on weekends and is subject to the vagaries of the now changing weather, the eventual launch date has been move to early summer.

I hope this is helpful. If anyone has any questions or suggestions, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 06, 1999
Kona; P-26, # 788; The Keel Saga
Tom Ashton

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