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Old 02-19-2012, 08:35 AM   #1
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Hollow Keel

Was grinding my bottom off due to delam/hydrolysis...saw a dark spot along the bottom of the keel amidships (looked wet too). So I ground a half inch into the corner of the bottom of the keel and ...wow... a stream of water like a garden hose started...

Then I ground some more and double that came out for at least 15-20 minutes. I'm guessing somewhere 50-100 gallons came out.

With a flashlight and a stick...it looks to just be a hollow cavity..but the water came from somewhare...any ideas???
*
Scott Neeld
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:33 AM   #2
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Hollow Keel

Scott - Can you tell if the water is salty or fresh? Any oil in it? Above the keel, or at the engine room floor, is there any sign of water? Consider, if all turns out ok, adding a drain plug to the area you opened. If you store her on land in the cold climates, that drains the keel. Common item on sailboats, don't know about powered vessels. Other possiblilty if it is salty -the seal where your shaft penetrates the hull. Is that in the keel, or above?

-- Edited by Old Stone on Sunday 19th of February 2012 11:34:59 AM
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:38 AM   #3
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RE: Hollow Keel

Very good advise!
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:00 AM   #4
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RE: Hollow Keel

Many Taiwanese-built boats were constructed with hollow keels - a number of owners have accessed them from the bilge and filled them with cement for added ballast.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:37 AM   #5
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RE: Hollow Keel

You may want to add food coloring to a 5 Gallon bucket of water. Slowing pour in engine space bilge with some one watching outside. If nothing comes out, move aft and try pouring in Lazerette. You are trying to isolate the entry point. If nothing comes out the bottom, now you know it either entered around rudder or shaft holes. Next way would be the constant water pressure on the outside of the hull working its way in thru a crack or around a thru hull under the water line. Polyester resin is NOT a water block. In time water wicks thru and into it. If you can borrow a moisture meter do the whole hull noting the readings with a marker on the hull. Never move the meter pad over the hull. Place it on, note the reading. Lift it up and place on next spot. Sliding it along the surface will ruin the meters sencing pad. Before you go back in reread and mark down new value.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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Hollow Keel

Pitting of the (metal, even SS) tube around the prop shaft,*if it passes through the hollow keel,*is a possibility, or*probablity.

*If you have a wet bilge maybe seeping through holes, over the keel, drilled for bilge pump attachment or the like.
Good luck, please keep us posted as to what you find.
Steve W


-- Edited by Steve on Sunday 19th of February 2012 02:40:42 PM
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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RE: Hollow Keel

Quote:
Ron T wrote:
You may want to add food coloring to a 5 Gallon bucket of water. Slowing pour in engine space bilge with some one watching outside. If nothing comes out, move aft and try pouring in Lazerette. You are trying to isolate the entry point. If nothing comes out the bottom, now you know it either entered around rudder or shaft holes. Next way would be the constant water pressure on the outside of the hull working its way in thru a crack or around a thru hull under the water line. Polyester resin is NOT a water block. In time water wicks thru and into it. If you can borrow a moisture meter do the whole hull noting the readings with a marker on the hull. Never move the meter pad over the hull. Place it on, note the reading. Lift it up and place on next spot. Sliding it along the surface will ruin the meters sencing pad. Before you go back in reread and mark down new value.
*Thanks everyone...all things I've thought of.* As for a moisture meter...way past that one...some other posts of mine have already described I've ground off all the paint, gel coat and at least the layer of mat between the gel and roving...yesterday I chiseled a 4x4 foot suare as far down as six layers of roving/mat.* Have lots of epoxy work as soon as the weather warms!

Just not sure what to do with the hollow keel...thought about 2 part foam but a couple manufacturers say it eventually absorbs a little and will pull away from the side...well what good is that?*
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:41 PM   #8
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RE: Hollow Keel

WESTERLY has a hollow keel, although it was filled with a type of foam during construction in 1973.* The foam has contracted, so there is space around the foam.* In 1998 (after purchase), the boat was hauled and the shaft removed.* In order to make this happen, the skeg/rudder support had to be removed.* As soon as the bolts holding the skeg were backed off, out came the water.

We let it drain/dry for a couple of months (actually, we made a few holes in the keel to make sure we got it all out).* When it came time to remount the skeg, made sure that the skeg and bolts were well bedded.* During the time on the hard, a deck fill fitting was installed in the top of the keel located just forward of the intermediate bearing in the main cabin bilge.* I check for water once a year.* It's been dry ever since.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:14 AM   #9
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RE: Hollow Keel

Quote:
psneeld wrote:So I ground a half inch into the corner of the bottom of the keel and ...wow... a stream of water like a garden hose started...
A hollow keel or partially hollow keel is pretty typical of boats of this type.* Grand Banks boats have hollow-ish keels, for example.* Most of them have a means of pulling the water out of the keel-- a stub pipe coming up through the floor of the engine room is the most typical thing used on GBs.* Some GB owners have installed drains in the keel to use when the boat is on the hard.* This is particulaly critical for boats that live in places where the winters are really cold and boats are stored on land.* Water in the keel can freeze, expand, and crack the keel open.

The water can get in any number of ways.* Something as insignificant as the screws holding an "impact" strip of stainless or bronze strapping to the stem of the boat that runs from above the waterline to below it can admit water through the screw holes if they penetrate all the way through the hull and the impact strip is not properly bedded or if the bedding is no longer doing its job.

While it's said by the experts on the GB forum that water in the keel of a boat with a solid fiberglass bottom, like a GB, is not structurally detrimental in itself, it can over time add a lot of weight to the boat.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:40 PM   #10
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RE: Hollow Keel

My brother in law had a 36' Grand Mariner, the B.C. version of the Albins. It's been gone from his hands for many a moon. However, he had a similar dilemma, water comeing into the bilge from around the shaft log, not the stuffing box.
The shaft liner tube from cutless bearing to the shaft log had corroded through allowing water into the keel.
It was ground out and replaced at the cost of a lot of work and $$.
Don't know if he really had to do it but the decision was , do it.

Hopefully this is not your problem. You might try pressure testing the tube to see if you have a similar problem.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:17 PM   #11
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RE: Hollow Keel

On a side note, I am aware of a*situation where adding keel length to an Al hulled*vessel was required*to deal with a cockpit extension. The naval architect designed it so that an Al compatible antifreeze solution could be added to the hollow keel extension to improve stability versus just airspace. About 150 gallons of solution was added. Weight down low isn't all bad and in many case is intended.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:02 AM   #12
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RE: Hollow Keel

I think I'll add an interior drain pipe so I can monitor what the heck is going on.

The thought of adding something to keep water out is tempting and if heavy will add some stability (not sure I need/want that much more)...but till I know how fast it's coming in..hard to get worried...

Yeah...I don't even want to contemplate a shaft log replacement...one yard I spoke to said they would never do another one!
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:51 AM   #13
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RE: Hollow Keel

One of the things that came up in our pre-purchase survey was a poor repair job on the keel as a result of the previous owner contacting a reef in the Canadian Gulf Islands. Looks like they put a band aid on it to keep going on their cruise. After the first season, we pulled it for painting and cutlas bearing replacement. The area of the patch continued to weep water after several days. We ground out what appeared to be Bondo under a thin layer of glass, then vacuum bagged the area and let a shop vac run for about a week straight until no water would come out. Probably no more than a couple gallons total. Ground it down a little bit more then had a pro come in and patch it. No problems since, but it's kinda hard to tell.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:07 PM   #14
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RE: Hollow Keel

Quote:
charles wrote:
Scott,
No speculation here is what I did.
Found a small amt of water, it could have come from either a screw that was holding a bilge pump to the eng room sump floor or a very small crack in the keel, very small as only about gallon of water would come out on haul out. Crack was at the back end of the keel.
Actually not a huge job to fix, though it sounds so:
I cut a hole in the side of the keel abt one foot high by 2.5 long. Made a beam of two 2x4's and wrapped in fiberglass. Placed this inside the keel and glassed it in. This was at the extreme back end of the keel where it sits on the rails when being hauled out. The repair made this area really strong. Used the peice of glass that I cut out to close up the hole, put a couple of peices of wood inside the keel to hold the cut out in place until the glass hardened. Once sanded and painted, could not tell the job was ever done. Pics and description of the repair was placed in the repair binder for the boat.
I, of course , fixed the screw hole in the sump with a dab of glass.
At the back of the eng room, this is a P/H boat, I cut a round hole in the floor and installed a plastic screw down inspection plate, abt 6-8 inches in diameter for access later if needed. Never needed it!
I did not put in concrete nor foam nor anything else, did think it through, but quickly disabused myself of such due to the difficulty of any future problems, as this would make repairs much more difficult.
*Not sure what the advantage of your wooden beam is....if it din't seal up the whole hollow keel or cover a known leak...what was your reasoning?
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Old 08-02-2016, 09:06 AM   #15
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Ok, I know, it's a 4 year old thread but an interesting one.

How did this saga end?
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:01 AM   #16
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Kept the boat...problem was my hollow head...

Actually just drained the keel...and went cruising.

September for my week yard period...will be checking all underwater parts closely. If I see that more needs to be done, will drill into the keel and see what I have now.

Good news, no blisters or further hydrolysis for the last 4 years....and 10,000 miles plus Superstore Sandy under her belt...

If I get water out of the keel, at that point I will roll the dice and see whether a major shaft log repair is going to hapoen, or just let her ride and see if she lasts the 15 more years I need her as a home.

And that is the issue...I really don't want to do that project and I don't want to live on the hard long enough to git'er done.
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Kept the boat...problem was my hollow head...

Actually just drained the keel...and went cruising.

A practical young man indeed.
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