PxPixel
Ask SAIL: A Crack in the Keel - Sail Magazine

Ask SAIL: A Crack in the Keel

Author:
Publish date:
Keel

Although this crack is likely cosmetic, it still needs to be watched

Q: I am the owner of a 1985 Cal 22 sailboat that is moored during the season in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The boat is in very good condition; however, when I pulled it out of the water at the end of the season in early October this year I noticed a slight crack in the keel that extends around the entire keel, about one third down from the hull. A friend looked at this condition and called it the “Catalina Smile,” explaining the crack occurs on older boats where the hull meets the bolted on keel. I am wondering if this condition requires immediate repair, and if so, what type of repairs are needed.

Bill Jonkey, Minden, NV

DON CASEY REPLIES

Your friend is right, although Catalina has no special claim to keel smile. Well, maybe some claim because the company unwisely used plywood in its keel stubs up until around 1987 or 1988, which has tended to make the “Catalina smile” somewhat broader than some others. The crack exhibited in your photo is more or less normal for a 30-year-old boat with a bolt-on keel. Plastic boats flex; metal keels don’t. I doubt that your smile requires any action, but before you repaint the bottom, you would not be wrong to reef out the crack a bit with a wire brush and give it three or four coats of an epoxy primer (Interlux Epoxy Primecote or something similar). If you still have a gap, fill it with a troweled application of polyurethane sealant, like 3M 5200, and then let the sealant cure for a week before painting. Moving forward, just watch the area every year. If the smile doesn’t return, or even if it does but not any wider, deal with it cosmetically. However, if it shows any signs of widening, you may need to re-torque the keel bolts. The definitive repair is to drop the keel, check the bolts, perfect the mating surface and reattach on a fresh sealant bed. However, the current condition of your boat doesn’t suggest anything this drastic.

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

April 2017

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004-02

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more