Obsessing about the keel and getting nowhere

I’m frustrated.  Way back when I bought this keel, I didn’t know squat about what I was doing.  Now I’m facing issues with it, and don’t have a solution to either.

  1. The hole for the pivot has to be drilled out for the bushing, and filled in where the cast iron is worn away.
  2. The metal around the rear eye bolt is worn away and needs to be built out.

You’ve seen the pictures already so I won’t bore you with the same thing again.

I can’t find anyone with cast iron experience to do the repairs, and I have read enough to make me not want to do a hack job and attempt it myself.  I could try to fill it with epoxy and hardener, but there is a lot of stress on these points and I don’t think that will hold.  That leaves me with no options for fixing this keel.

I’m considering going back to craigslist and see if I can find a keel in better shape.  No way I can afford a new one.  I’m stuck.  This sucks.

On a happier note, I spent yesterday visiting a live aboard friend in a marina.  We prowled around the boat yard looking at all the boats “on the hard”.  Found a couple of Catalina 22’s and checked out their keels.

This keel was in bad shape, but the eye bolt looks good.  No telling how bad the corrosion is though.

Rear eye bolt in good condition

Rear eye bolt in good condition

These looked pretty odd.  Not sure how they got here.

wonder how this happened?

wonder how this happened?

Saddest of all, there is some serious neglect going on. This is just one example. The hatchway boards are in the cockpit and the interior is open to the weather.  Sad.

neglect can kill a boat

not going sailing anytime soon


9 thoughts on “Obsessing about the keel and getting nowhere

    • Thanks for thinking of me. That’s a great idea, and exactly what I’ll do too.

      Also. in that thread, you mention “you’ll receive a PDF file of a NACA 15% template”. I didn’t see a link for that on the blog. How can I get one?

  1. Ahoy, I went through the same thing as you, but luckily I found a welder who did a great job, but a friend of mine went a different route with his Catalina 22 which a bad keel pin. Essentially he used a bushing and JB weld iron. He took many steps to be sure the bushing would be lined up correctly and then packed JB Weld Iron in around the bushing. NOTE: JB Weld Iron sets up in 45mins, so you must move quickly and have everything staged and ready to go. Once it drys, it will be as hard as metal and drilling/sanding it will take just as long. I have photos of my keel prior to and post weld repair, but I don’t think that will help you. My friend who used the JB weld iron has been sailing his boat for over a year now without any problems.
    I also have an issue with my hull where the keel bracket bolts to as a previous owner replaced the factory bronze mounting with all epoxy with all-thread and washers. As of 3/15/2015 I was able to push out all four boats from the hull cabin with a hammer and screw driver. I’m in the process of replace them with actual 5/16″ bolts and two 1″ x 1/4″ x 6″ stainless steel strips (to act like a huge washer) to distribute the keel load over more area than a standard washer.

    • I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thanks for letting me know that. I’m going to renew my search for a welder, but then use JB weld iron as a fallback plan. I’ll post my progress.

  2. Hang in there. Once you get the welding done, you can do the rest as fast as you want. Where are you located that it’s so hard to find a skilled welder? Did you check craigslist? Post a help wanted ad? Angies list? Did you ask welding supply distributors and metal outlets? How about local boat yards? Maybe they know somebody.

    Let this inspire you…

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