[Public-list] Water in Keel Cavity

George Dinwiddie gdinwiddie at alberg30.org
Mon Nov 22 21:33:43 PST 2004


The A30 has a relatively porous hull.  It will soak up water.  It will 
hydrolyze the fiberglass, but it doesn't tend to form blisters because 
the hydrolyzed resin flows back out through the porous gelcoat.

The first year we had Calypso, I had water draining at the rudder shoe 
all winter.  Yes, I think this is an "unrepairable situation" that, in 
50 or 100 years, might prove to be the death of the boat. ;-)

I would suggest moving slowly on this.  It's a new boat to you and the 
temptation is to jump at any possible problem.  But the boat's already 
37 years old and has been living in northern climates.  It's not going 
to suddenly disintegrate.

My suggestion is to let it dry over the winter and fill any gouges.  If 
you have some blisters or loose patches, you can grind them out and fill 
them, too.  Little spot repairs may be all you ever need, and you can 
check things every time you haul to see if it looks any worse.

  - George

John Irving wrote:
> This morning I checked my boat and noticed a wet spot about 14" long
> along the bottom of the forward end of the keel. The boat is on stands
> and is covered, with the front end of the keel blocked about 4" higher
> than the back. There is no opportunity for water to enter the boat. I
> have concluded that the only source of this water can be existing
> water in the keel cavity which is slowly weeping through the laminate.
> I am concerned about two things:
> 1) Water freezing in the keel cavity over the winter causing damage.
> 2) Eventual delamination of the fiberglass from inside.
> I have posted some images of the keel at: 
> http://www.roundthecorner.com/blueteal/index.html
> My research on this problem suggests a range of opinions from "minor
> problem, wait and see what happens" to an unrepairable situation that
> will eventually end up in the flaking and swelling of the cast iron
> keel and delamination and failure of the laminate from the inside.
> Most writers on the subject suggest the problem is usually the result
> of a heavy grounding. There is certainly evidence of scratches and a
> gouge on the keel, but the surveyor was unable to locate any
> significant cracks.
> I've read several accounts of owners drilling holes in the bottom and
> sides of their keel to let water drain out, let the keel cavity dry,
> and then fill with either expandable foam or epoxy. Another owner on
> this list mentioned previously that he fixed a wet ballast problem by
> putting a new laminate on the top of his keel. Someone else has
> suggested a garboard drain.
> Two questions for the list:
> 1) Has anyone with a similar problem successfully stopped this weeping
> (or tried to)?
> 2) Would listees recommend the following repair: drill holes in keel,
> drain keel cavity, fill cavity with epoxy, apply epoxy barrier coat to
> hull. Or does this sound too invasive?
> 3) What is the proper location for a garboard drain? A picture would
> be very helpful.
> Thank you in advance.
> John Irving
   When I remember bygone days                         George Dinwiddie
   I think how evening follows morn;            gdinwiddie at alberg30.org
   So many I loved were not yet dead,           http://www.Alberg30.org
   So many I love were not yet born.
                                             'The Middle' by Ogden Nash


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