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1368Re:: Painting drop keel

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  • olivershaw4229
    Mar 22, 2017
      I would expect the painting to be a problem,  because of the very short time window in relation to the need for drying time,  but I question whether painting is necessary;    the original was galvanised,  and if that is still in reasonable condition it might pay to leave the galvanising exposed and let it do its job.

      There is much else that you can sensibly do while the boat is lifted,  and I think your time will be very fully occupied.

      After I had overhauled the keel on my own boat I wrote up the job,  and the account is on this site:   Files > Repair Techniques > Drop Keel Overhaul.pdf.    I suggest that it might be helpful to you to have a look at that file before you start.     The following notes merely draw attention to some points in that file.

      Undoubtedly you should check the pivot bolt,   and if you are restricted to just a single 24-hour window it is probably safest to plan to change it anyway,  and lay in the replacement in advance.   The dimensions (for my very early Privateer) are given on the first page of that file,  and I chose to use stainless steel for the replacement bolt (sourced from Classic Marine);   despite the known problem of crevice corrosion for that material I expect it to last longer than any of the alternatives,  but it should be withdrawn for a check from time to time.     However the latter can be done while the boat is on her trailer;   it does not need a lift.    Before you order the replacement bolt do check the dimensions of as much of your one as you can see,   just in case your size is different.

      Early drop keels also had a second bolt,  working in a curved slot,  as a safety device to prevent the keel dropping too far,  and this must also be removed if you need to fully extract the keel.    The later boats moved the location of the pivot bolt to near the top of the case,  and cut away the front edge of the (housed) keel,  resulting in a different profile,  and these boats do not have (and do not need) such a second bolt;    however in this later design the case housing is very vulnerable to damage if the winch wire should break and the keel drop with a bang,  so it is worth installing a hard rubber pad to absorb the shock.

      The Shipmate Owners' Association recommend lining the sides of the slot in the GRP with strips of carpet tile,  to reduce the slop and to help to reduce the tendency for fountains of sea water to erupt into the cabin through the aperture for the winch wire.    On my boat I did this,  and additionally I also fixed some dinghy-style centreboard gasket strip (sourced from Jimmy Green Marine) along the slot sides.    The two together made a vast improvement.    Both have now served three seasons,  and seem still good.

      That apart,  while the boat is in the slings you may want to attend to any issues with the antifouling and/or the condition of her bottom.

      Finally,   note from the file the use of a tie between the slings to prevent the forward one from slipping forward and dropping the boat!    The drop keel is so far forward that this is a real risk,  since the forward sling needs to be clear of the keel slot.     Likewise note that the lifted boat should be supported on blocks (or alternative support structure) before anyone works underneath,   just in case.

      Good luck with the job,


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