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Thread: keel voids

  1. #1
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    keel voids

    Has anyone had any problems with water intrusion into the areas either just ahead of the rudder or at the forward end of the keel? I've heard that this is a problem for Tritons, Renegades, and Vanguards and wondered if it also affects Ariels and Commanders.

  2. #2
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    Yes, the manual goes into it extensively and I believe there has been discussion here. Use the search button . . .

  3. #3
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    Yes. Haabet, hull #133 had water in the voids when I bought hter. I had her surveyed in CT and when I bought her home to MD a friend who owns Ariel #!, John Griffiths, who is a retired boat surveyor, marked the areas forward of the ballast where he thought we should drill, and drill we did.

    What a heavy layup the Ariel has. No exaggeration, 2.5 " before the drill broke through to the voids. Then....a lot of water came out. Gallons.

    We let the hull dry out all winter. In the spring we injected the hull with vinylester resin. John drilled two holes in each void. (He found the voids by tapping, and by use of his meter.) One hole very low, and one at the top of the void. When we filled the voids, we squeezed the resin up into them from the bottom, until it came out of the top. Then taped them off with duct tape.

    One thing. One of the voids in Haabet was big enough that John didn't fill them it at once. He felt that when the resin kicked off , it could develop too much heat. It could be bad for the 'glass. So the job was done in stages.

    Now she's dry and solid. Void-free.

  4. #4
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    Commander #280 had a bumpum in the leading edge that someone had filled in with bondo once upon a long time ago...then the bondo got , uh, displaced. Nuff said. Anyway, when Toby had her on the hard she weeped from there for a while.

    A number of Triton have reported water pouring out when the thru bolts for the gudgeons are removed. Mine did, too. Our Triton also had a fair amount of deep blistering on the keel, in the ballast cavity area. deep ones, the kind that are coming from inside. I drilled into the keel at the appropriate spots and got a good couple gallons of water and then some out of there. When I scrubbed out the bilge, greasy nasty ookum came out these 3/8" holes.

    A couple of other fellows have also cut into the foamed-in area at the trailing edge and gotten ooky stuff that might once have been the Pearson foam out. Grody and time-consuming, but it can be gouged out, replaced and reglassed.

    A friend's Renegade had a keel that went clunk on a hard tack. He drilled down thru the overglassing material that covers the ballast pig and poured it slowly full of resin with the boat in the water.

    Tim Lackey made the observation a while back that unfilled resin was not the strongest thing, and that some sort of matrix would be desirable.

    Lore has it, and Mary's dad (who worked at Pearson's in the early 60's) confirms, that the ballast pigs were lowered in onto a bed of sawdust and floor gunk to cushion lest they break the 'glass, then more-or-less wedged in place with scraps of balsa, somebody's stolen lunch, a few empty cigarette packs and an empty pint bottle or two that needed to be hidden...that sort of thing. Officially, scraps of balsa. Probably the main thing holding most of our ballast pigs from flopping in there is the overglassing material's grip around the lifting eyes.

    Plenty of sources confirm that it is very common to find water in the cavity of many boats with this kind of construction, and that it generally finds its way in thru the bilge space.

    I will shortly be to that point of the project, and will be grinding out the overglassing material to gain access to the cavity. Probably make some cursory attempt at degreasing the inside with a stick and rag or similar foolishness and a couple gallons of acetone. Since I need to add a bit of ballast anyway, I'll pour in an even layer of lead shot, then resin, then shot, etc up to a certain point in added weight. That will keep the bottom end supported. For the upper area (I don't want all the weight of a full cavity, at least not on top of the shot which needs to be as low as possible) I figure on wadding up some heavy roving, soaking it in resin, and then CRAMMING it in before overglassing the whole mess again.

    Once the repairs are done, I think the ultimate insurance here is to put a barrier coat on the inside of the bilge to be very sure the situation is never to be repeated in any way.

    Yep, I will indeed take photos!

    Dave
    Triton 397

  5. #5
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    EVERETT PEARSON WRITES

    Finally found this E-mail:

    From: Evpearson
    To: RPhelon
    Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 10:50:17 EDT
    Subject: Re: KEEL VOIDS & WATER IN THE HULL'S FIBERGLASS LAMINATE


    The Triton was molded in a one piece mold which made it extremely difficult to lay-up the section just forward of the rudder. Therefore, we made a separate piece which extended from the back end of the keel to a point below the propellor aperture. This piece was filled with urethane foam and bonded with epoxy to the bottom of the hull. Sometimes, when the boats were hauled they were set on timbers where the weight of the hull was borne by this aft section and not on the bottom of the lead keel. This caused some minor cracking and allowed some penetration of water. Some owners drilled a small hole in the forward part of this section to allow water to drain when hauled and prevent freezing. This section filled the area and provided a support for the bottom of the rudder. Otherwise, it is not a necessary part of the hull structure.

    In the Ariel the heel was molded as part of the hull and foam was subsequently poured into the back of the hull to fill this deep narrow area. It was then glassed over to prevent water from getting at the foam and to allow for easier cleaning. If you think there is water down in the back of the keel, I would drill a hole at the bottom below the foamed area, drain it, reseal it, and then
    redo the glass job on the interior over the foam.

    Everett Pearson

  6. #6
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    Squirted in more than 5 gallons expensive epoxy befor it topped in 338's ballast keel area.

  7. #7
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    Everett's Foaam

    The inside of the sump and on back to the rudder post - THE INSIDE OF THE KEEL - is as naked and empty as it'll ever be in 338. The molded keel profile is pretty skinny. I can't see where any foam could possibly be. We're talking right behind the rudder post, right?

    The only foam I saw was a filler for the inboard propeller hole, which was full of water in 338, which is an OB model. And, of course, the foam filler under the gascan deck in the laz, which was also soaking wet.

    Way down in the narrowest part of the keel - looking at it from inside - there is a curving sweep of fiberglass to fair the bottom and bring the bilge water forward to the sump. I have assumed that this relatively tiny volume was just a fill to cover the mess there must have been when the molders where finished stuffing this narrow space.

    It is hard to imagine any foam there. To make sure, I'm going to take a 12" bit and do a couple of probes - from the inside.

    My rudder shoe (we're into the tird year OUT of the water) still weeps a few drops out a couple of the pins that holds it on, along with the polysulfide. I'ld expect the filler to be pieces of mat and cloth not plasticised very well. Not foam.

    I would like to see exactly where this foam hole is supposed to be. Anybody else doing a bareboat remodel - this strange admission by Everett should be explored and located by moore of us.

    When you drill straight up directly underneath the keel you'll find a lot of thickness. Some will be the hull layup, some will be jammed in filler.
    Drilling through the side of the hull, even way down deep, as when 338 was having its keel void filled, I found a hull that was AT MOST 3/8" THICK. This is 338, a later hull.
    Last edited by ebb; 04-01-2004 at 10:07 AM.

  8. #8
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    keel foam search

    Did take the 1/2" bit and drilled 3 holes into the narrow part of the keel behind the sump. Went in an inch and a half each and got only green/white tailings out of the holes. Drilled into the lower part under where the propeller shaft would go if 338 had one. The area is stepped and sloped to get bilgewater to drain to the sump at the end of the ballast under the companionway. Given the narrowness of the area, there is very little volume in the buildups.

    I looks like the fill is solid plastic and glass. Which is stronger and gooder. I'ld rather have that there than bloody foam!

  9. #9
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    Have you checked to make sure the keel void isn't filled with water? The void should be able to hold somewhere around 40 gallons of water (at 8 lbs per gallon)

    bill@ariel231

  10. #10
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    wholey mackerel bill. 40 gals? Whatz that, 4/5ths of a 55 gallon drum?
    Maybe that's the volume of the cavity the lead sits in.
    338 had 5 plus gals epoxy injected into the voids around the lead.
    After the water was drained out.
    Last edited by ebb; 02-01-2006 at 10:41 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill@ariel231
    Have you checked to make sure the keel void isn't filled with water? The void should be able to hold somewhere around 40 gallons of water (at 8 lbs per gallon)
    Egads! I'll echo Ebb's sentiment on that one! I had one little spot that showed up in my survey as a "keel void", but am under the impression it's no big deal - and certainly not 40 gallons worhth! (I hope.) Maybe you mean the bilge? Ebb's 5 gallons even sounds like a lot to me.

    Ebb, I remember the "pig" thread - it wasn't I that was sumpless. And I will have more sump before the boat is back in the water.
    Mike
    Totoro (Sea Sprite 23 #626)

  12. #12
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    5 gallon guarantee

    Mike,
    Unless you had David Pascoe do yor survey, some guy in pressed chinos tapping the keel isn't going to give you squat on the condition of the keel cavity aka encapsulated ballast. I've gone on ad nauseum about my experience, which was a shocker, with diatribes on the survey person, the cousins Pearson and the farmers who built 338.

    I mix epoxy almost exclusively in graduated quart containers. It was a long process filling syringes and injecting on weekends - but I kept a tally pretty well. There were spills and I know I missed a day of counting. I would put the count closer to six gallons of expensive laminating epoxy.

    It just kept going in. Come back the next wkend, and it just kept going in.

    Epoxy appeared in the sump at one point (was fortunate to have caught it). The matt seal encapsulating the cavity under the cabin sole was not turned down at the end of the lead into the sump by the workers.

    This may have been designed, don't know of course, but it did have the benefit of keeping the cavity drained for 40 years - as long as the sump was pumped. When I first drilled drain holes into the hull outside water came out but not much - I thought the cavity wasn't very large, then.

    I think it is a good upgrade for the boat. There may be a better method.
    Epoxy was pushing water out til the end. This blind method has no prep to it so it is likely the epoxy fill is not sticking to anything. and has little strength since it has no fiber. A method should be developed that would force epoxy with some filler in it (flox) into the cavity under pressure.
    Last edited by ebb; 02-02-2006 at 08:43 AM.

  13. #13
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    I'm doing this from memory, someone with a tapemeasure and a boat nearby needs to double check the dimensions...

    the void aft of the ballast is roughly 40" long, 8" athwartships and approx 24" from the bottom of the keel to the bilge.

    in cubic feet... 3.25x0.75x2.0 = 4.875cu

    at 7.481 gal/cu that's 36.47 gallons ...or... approx 290lbs of water.

    when I opened the keel during the original demolition, the foam was 100% saturated. With the bottom of the keel cut away, it took a full year to dry out.

    In the succeeding years, I've occasionally drilled the cavity with a 1/4 inch bit to check that it is still dry.
    Last edited by bill@ariel231; 02-02-2006 at 09:26 AM.

  14. #14
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    bill,
    Here's one place photos would help.
    In 338 the ballast keel extends from the main cabin bulkhead to the sump under the companionway. (Ebbs gallery page 12, 167 and 170) The whole bottom of the 'water tank' in 338 is the top of the ballast. With the original 'encapsulating' matt over the lead.

    With the cabin sole in place (also page 12) there is a long wedge shaped volume (it's a 32 gallon tank as made). Is this where your foam is?
    On 338 the whole bottom interior of the hull was left empty. From the companionway bulkhead aft there is space that narrows considerably toward the rudder. All of this is directly under the cockpit. Don't believe there should be any ballast or weight carried here. There might be foam put here to fill in the narrow crevice.

    The problem with urethane foam is that it is not really closed cell and water will get in eventually. Might have a drain hole into the bottom of the foam aft of the sump so that it will remain drier at the bottom.

    We have had discussion here of foam added to this space under the cockpit.
    In fact Everett admitted to this dastardly deed. But this is not the water in the encapsulated ballast keel problem where the lead is.
    Last edited by ebb; 02-02-2006 at 10:00 AM.

  15. #15
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    Just as I was resizing a couple of my survey pics, Ebb piped in. This is what I've been calling a "keel void".
    Attached Images  
    Mike
    Totoro (Sea Sprite 23 #626)

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