Keel repair for a 1946 former lifeboat

by Chris
(Shoreham, England)



Hi all,

I bought, without a survey, Salotean, a former lifeboat built from wood by Harland & Wolff in 1946.

She was attached to cruise liners for 10 years, before being turned into a clipper for sailing.

More recently, she was converted into a live aboard boat.

That's why I've bought her.

And she's saved my life, survey or no survey.

She's in the boatyard at Sussex Yacht Club, Shoreham at the moment (October 2021).

Local 'experts' noticed rust spots along the keel and I was advised to strip back the fibreglass coating.

I have done so and water has dripped out of the hull and bilge areas.

What to do next?

Once cleaned up, treated etc, do I replace the fibreglass sheathing to the keel again?

Or do I extend the steel keel, through welding, to either end, before sealing?

I am a novice and apologise if these are stupid questions!

This vessel was bought with my heart, not head.

I understand that was wreckless (excuse the pun).
Which is apt, as my first wife was lost at sea along with five others and neither the boat nor the crew were ever found.

Salotean has squared a 37 year circle for me and I feel happy for the first time - my wife was called Sally.

So, any advice would be appreciated and now I'm able to look forward, I hope, after living on board for a couple of years, be able to save enough to turn her into a clipper again.
Then sail to France and down the Canal du Midi.


Comments for Keel repair for a 1946 former lifeboat

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Oct 24, 2021
by: Chris

Hi Mike, I really appreciate you taking time to give me some advice and pointers to help me repair the keel.

I'll check out the information and start the investigations!

Thanks again, all the best, Chris

Oct 23, 2021
Keel Bolts
by: Mike

Hi Chris,

I wonder if perhaps the fiberglass sheathing has been the problem or at least exacerbated it.

Sheathing, if damaged and separating from the wood/metal, can act as an envelope trapping water inside.

Now that you have it off, allow everything to dry out.

Check the wooden keel for rot.

But mainly, check the keel bolts.

If water is dripping from the bilges it is probably coming down the bolts, if they are in good condition they may just need tightening and some bedding compound put in the seams.


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