Catalina 22 Keel weldments are out! (Part 1)

Curtis in Alaska broke a keel screw and contacted me to find out if I’d fixed mine yet.  I hadn’t yet so he had to learn about it on his own.  He’s done some research, started it and sent me pictures.  I’m glad he is slightly ahead of me in this.    With his encouragement I decided to get started.

The swing keel folds up into a well in the center of the cabin.  The weldments are on either side, down near the sole (cabin floor).  They are called weldments because a flat piece of metal is welded onto the top of a threaded socket.  The red arrow on the left is trying to indicate the inside of the compartment, not the oscillating saw!

Keel weldment location in cabin

Keel weldment location in cabin


I got out my oscillating saw and went to town.  Curtis used a drill to clear out fiberglass material, but I didn’t find it that usefull.  I just used the saw entirely.

Here is the view from the bottom looking up into the well.  Aft is towards the bottom of the picture..

Sheared Off Keel Bolts

Sheared Off Keel Bolts

I bought a special 1/4″ drill that is 12″ long.  With it I drilled up from the bottom through a weldment without a bolt so that I could see the location from inside the cabin.  I didn’t have to go the full 12″.  Note this finding technique will only work on the port aft weldment.  As you will see later, on the starboard side the drill will just stay behind the keel well wall.  You won’t see it until you cut through the wall.

The rear port weldment is located at the aft end of the forward dining table seating compartment.  The picture below is taken inside the compartment looking towards the center of the boat.  (to the right in the picture).  Here I’ve made a few exploratory cuts to get to it.  Water started flowing out of the space under the dining table well as soon as I cut through the wall.  I’m not too concerned since the boat was half full of water when I first got it.

weldment location

weldment location

Below, you can see the first hint of the metal showing through the fiberglass.

First hint of the weldment

First hint of the weldment

To do this cutting, I did have on a breathing mask.  Fiberglass dust was flying everywhere.  I would definitely NOT do this without some sort of breathing protection!  I also recommend wearing a disposable suit or at least long sleeve shirt.  I didn’t and it’s been a bit itchy yesterday and today.

After some more cutting I got to this.  You can see the weldment is completely clear of fiberglass.  You can also see that I cut too much and went right through the hull!  The weldments are so close to the edge of the fiberglass that it’s near impossible not to do so.  Out of the 4 weldments I cut out, only on the second one did I manage to not to cut through the hull.  I’ve placed the new weldment in the picture to give a comparison of how much is still imbedded in the fiberglass.

Old and new weldments

Old and new weldments

Once it was clear of fiberglass, I took a 1/4 inch bolt, put a couple of nuts on the end and hammered upwards on it from below till it popped out.  In the picture below you can see I’ve knocked it upwards a bit already.  A few more smacks with the hammer and out it came.  On some of the others I didn’t clear out so much fiberglass first, so they wouldn’t come out all the way until I went back and cut out the fiberglass that was still in the way.

Hammering out the weldment

Hammering out the weldment

Once the first weldment was out, I started on the second one.  I measured the holes on the hull and transferred the measurements to the top.  After more fiberglass cutting the second weldment appeared.  This is the only one I didn’t cut through the hull on.

Port, forward weldment location

Port, forward weldment location

With this experience under my belt, I tackled the weldments on the visible side of the keel in the cabin.  Following Curtis from Alaska’s example, I taped the smooth finished fiberglass so it wouldn’t shred.  Then I again drilled through a weldment to get a location.  This time it was the forward starboard weldment.  In this picture I’ve opened up a hole to access both weldments, and have the aft one almost cleared.

Cut away to starboard weldments

Cut away to starboard weldments

The cylindrical thing sticking up on the right side of the cut is the drill bit through the forward starboard weldment.  I started first on the aft weldment.  The exterior cut is a bit high so I could get the oscillating saw in at the correct angle to cut down through the fiberglass to the weldments.  Not sure how I’m going to patch this up and have it look OK, but that’s another project!

Here is the view of from starboard inside the cabin after the weldments are out and it’s cleaned up.

starboard view of weldments removed

starboard view of weldments removed

Here is a close up

Close up starboard view of weldments removed

Close up starboard view of weldments removed

Notice the dark lines above the left weldment?   There are some smaller ones on the right one too.  Those are holes where I cut through to the keel housing well.  Notice also that the tape didn’t seem to help all that much.  The edges are really jagged.

So there it is. If you’ve had a keel bolt shear off on a Catalina 22 (and probably goes for a Catalina 25 too) you just have to cut them out of there and put new ones in.  Let me know if this post helps.  I sure would have liked to have found a post from someone else that had done it.  If you’re doing one of these, let me know how things turn out for you!

Now I have to read up on epoxy and fiberglass so I can patch this back up!








15 thoughts on “Catalina 22 Keel weldments are out! (Part 1)

  1. Ray, Took the boat out tonight to Finger Lake. It’s about a 30 minute drive from our house. No water was coming in near the keel, or at all for that matter. It appears the fiberglass repair I did was successful. The keel lifting mechanism that I replaced is working well. The engine started up again faithfully. The wind was poor quality, but that didn’t matter as I was a doofus and forgot the rudder. It was a good night just being out on the water with my children. The new bunkboards are performing a whole lot better than the old ones. I am please with the progress made on this boat since buying it 2+ years ago. When you remove the old weldments verify that the new ones match the same dimensions as the old ones. They should just sit back down where the old ones come out. I didn’t bed my new ones in anything. I suppose you could place some resin down first before seating the new ones in.

    • Thank Curtis. Any day on the water is a good day. Or night! Glad your repair worked. I’m still waiting for the parts to arrive from CD. They have left the warehouse and UPS say they are in transit. I’ll add some resin to the bed for the weldments. The only issue will be repairing the floor from the access I cut for the starboard weldments. I hope to be back on the water soon.

      • I’ll do that. I haven’t photographed so far but I’ll do the repair and upload for you to share. It’s so nice when you tackle a job of this size and actually fix it rather than make it worse!

  2. This is really helpful. Thank you. I have just steered off 3 of the four bolts 😦 after I had just re glassed a leak from the hull through the weldment. I’m not happen. However this post has cleared up a great deal for me and given me the confidence to proceed. Would like to see how you did the glossing though. Cheers Ray

    • Hi Ray. Glad it helped. I’ve been focused on work and the fixing the keel. Not making much progress at all on the boat. Haven’t glassed in the weldments yet. Will probably finish the keel before getting back to the boat. Working 12 hr days now. Probably won’t get to do much till the end of summer.

      • Hi Cap’n. So I’ve cut them out! Thanks to your post I made no big mistakes! I’ve ordered the new parts from Catalona Direct, so I can kick back and chill now. This all came about after my son and I spent 5 nights sailing the Whitsundays, on the Barrier Reef, and I found I was taking water in the bilge. Turns out one of the port keel bolts was leaking! And seems that the starboard bolts were not at all good. I normally sail in Moreton bay, off Brisbane and it is very shallow in some places with moving sand banks. I’ve had one or two groundings and keel strikes. From now on I’ll keep an eye on the keel bolts, keeping them greeted and free of rust.

      • That’s great! When you seal them back in, don’t use polyester, use epoxy with a filler for strength. I got west system 404 high density filler. Just haven’t done it yet.

        Is your keel off? You might consider refinishing it while it is. I’d check the winch assembly too.

        They there are two kinds of sailors, those that run aground and those that lie and say they haven’t.

      • By “Made no mistakes” do you mean you didn’t cut through into the well? Wow, I’m impressed. Out of 4 weldments, I cut through on 3 of them.

      • Hi Cap’n, yep no holes in the hull! I used a tool called a renovator. Small and good in tight places. I replaced the winch six months ago. The old one was not the correct type and would just let the keel go! I think that might have played a part in the current damage too. Two of the weldments were fractured at the base. Cracks almost full circumference. The keel itself is in remarkably good condition. Always on a trailer. The hanging gear also looks okay and doesn’t bang when lowered. Having good, new and lubricated weldments will mean dropping the keel for maintainence will be fairly easy in the future. Visiting other C22 owners and goons for a sail would be awesome. I have so much to learn. Happy Indepencence Day ⛵️

      • “Always on a trailer” – wow, you’re lucky! Anytime you decide to come to Washington DC area, let’s hook up and I’ll do the same if I’m ever down under. Must be cold there now, huh?

    • Always, except when I’m sailing 😎. DC is on my bucket list so I’ll do that. We have room here so let me know. Cheers.

  3. Curtis from Alaska here. My advice is to make friends with your local fiberglass and plastic supplier. Find an outfit that not only sells the products, but also services and/or makes things. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish. They can fill you in on all the details.

    I have completed the glass work after replacing the weldment in my boat. I am excited to get it in the water and verify the integrity of the bond. Good luck as you move forward with this.

    • Hi Curtis, Ray from Brisbane, Australia here. Any tricks with glassing the weldments? What did you bed them on? Is there a set depth they need to be? Sorry for all the questions. Cheers Ray.

      • Questions are good. Glad this is helping. I think it’s great how this blog is reaching out around the world. Visiting Australia & New Zealand is definitely on my Bucket List.

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