I am aware that one boat in the distant past who was going to try a trans-Atlantic venture was required to fix the keel and seal the hull around the keel to prevent water ingress as well as fixing the lower and sealing in position the lower companionway board for the same reason.
On another note, every couple years we seem to manage a trip in around the Island in StaSea which is always a blast in more ways than one. This is the 1st time I have left her in the north (Grand Bay)however, partly because the wx was crap (tropical depression) and on one of the legs (Black River to Port Louis) we had very rough seas from this storm and even with one reef in the main, put the hull through quite a bit of stress because the keel started banging a bit more than to my liking as we would crash down. Turns out we may have caused some hairline cracks around the base (which are visible) because we are getting a bit of saltwater in where we never used to. As the boat is in the north on a friends safe mooring in a nice little bay, I will take advantage and use it for now to explore the Islands, but I am concerned about the cracks and will have to haul her out to inspect and repair eventually. I was reading something about the keel on the site that other owners had contributed and I am convinced this is caused by many years of "keel banging" in rough seaways when we were too lazy to go below and tighten the clamp......
Dropping the keel will not be a problem in these clear waters (and I have experience putting one back in on Celine with the previous owner -not James- when he lost his keel with a thud in 4 meters of lagoon! That is another story to tell!) We will have to figure a way to drag the keel-less hull onto the slipway trailer on a heel to gain access to the keel slot as we do not have the luxury of a dry dock or crane. I plan on epoxying some carbon fiber into the box. Anyways Coenie, if you can put us on to any others who have been through the same it would be appreciated.
Thanks again for all the info and work you do on the site- I will try and make some contributions with our own experiences for the benefit of others when I get more time.
It is a common problem with the little boat regarding cracks where the keel protrudes from the keel box. The most common cause for the failure is the wedge not being wound up tight enough and there is a little slack causing the keel to knock. I see from a couple of "pics" on the site that the weather was not the best in February. The box needs tlc once in a while. It really is not a big job at all.
I found the water used to enter through hairline cracks near the heads and "weep" slowly. Make sure when you do the repair you cut back by grinding carefully. Frank usually suggests that you cut 3 or 4 deep grooves in the bulkhead and then apply a "string" of glass or carbon fibre. Once tacked into place, then glass over and use a bit of flow or gel coat. T
The finish does leave a very small bump where the "string" is situated, but Frank guarantees that this adds more years and structural stability.
First clear off all the old gel coat till you get to good dry fiberglass. Take a standard grinding wheel and grind a channel into the the front of the keel box but not through all the fiberglass layers.
Take the channel about 2cm back on either side of the keel housing. Do a couple of channels about 2 cm apart along the affected area
Then soak some nylon rope (5 to 6 mm) in resin and force into the channel. Allow to harden and then grind off / level at the two back ends to so that it smoothes out at the rope ends.
Cover with 3 layers of matt and flow coat on top of that.
It should never crack there again. AND KEEP THE WEDGE TIGHT.
PS I had my rudder box professionally repaired twice and then used this method and 15 years later still no problem, except that the stainless steel strap on the rudder box recently broke !!!
We cut a hole in the keel/ wedge nut housing in line with the spindle for the wedge, just above where the cavity for the wedge nut joins the main keel housing. The hole for the wedge spindle between the keel and wedge housings was about 20mm which was allowing water to flow back into the wedge nut housing.
We put a hose pipe sleeve around the spindle packed it with silicon glue and filled in the area between the base of the wedge nut cavity and the bottom of the sleeve with resin. This seems to have resolved the problem.