keel restoration

by Luca
(Amsterdam, The Netherland)

Hello guys, due to some water leaks I decided to remove the painting on my 70 years old sailing boat and check the state of the wooden keel.

there are two major points that concern me:

I found some big gaps between some plank. They are filled with some sort of transparent silicon, not sure who and when that was done but I'm thinking it's not working properly

the connection between the keel and the metal ballast seems to be sealed with the same transparent silicon. The rust I could see dripping from the paint should be a signal that it was not working properly

I was thinking to cover the whole keel (ballast included) with fiberglass but i'm afraid the fiberglass won't hold on the metal.

Any suggestion?

Another thing that intrigues me is that I can't see the keel bolts ending. It should be somewhere at the bottom of the keel right?

The rest of the boat is built in plywood and it's in a good state.

Thanks to anyone who will read this post!

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May 18, 2020
Update II
by: Luca

Here a better picture of the hole!

Thanks everyone

May 18, 2020
by: Luca

Hi all,
I finally scraped all the boat and in the very last part, when i was thinking "it's done!" I found that:

It's a rotten area 10x10cm in the left side of the boat where you can see the keel bolt passing through.
Maybe the water entered from the back of the keel, from the pockets you can see in pictures, they where filled with a red sealant.

How can i fix it?
Should I somehow fill the hole or replace the plank?

Thanks all

Apr 28, 2020
keel bolts
by: Luca

Thanks for your quick reply.
Actually my first intent was to check and possibly replacing the keel bolts but the fact I couldn't find them made me change my plans and I'm also a bit scared of the whole operations.

I red the article you linked, I also already bought the book suggested at the end of the article. I found it very interesting and it helped me to start with this restoring project.

I think in my case the bolts end is at the very bottom of the ballast since I can't find any "pocket"at the sides. I already looked but I couldn't find them there, maybe they are very well hidden by the painting. I'll ask to raise up the boat so I'll have a better access to the bottom of the ballast.

My biggest fear is the bolts are cast in the ballast.. I'll keep you posted!


Apr 28, 2020
Keel Bolts
by: Mike

The keel bolts may be either ‘galleried’ or cast into the keel.

Do you know when they were last inspected?

They might need replacing or just tightening up.

It might be worth checking them before you think about replacing the sealant.

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