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Author: echeyde ( contact the author
Subject: Witchy Woman Keel Bolt Failure PLEASE READ
Info: (8627 views) Posted: Friday 10-5-12 01:45:45 PM
Would it make sense to get somebody with a high tech imaging device make the rounds of boats on local yards and we share his/her cost across?

:: This is a very sobering failure and a reminder to never
:: stand under boats that are on the hoist. Tough news for
:: Tom & the Witchy gang...
:: For those who haven't seen it, you'd be proud how well
:: the boat held up despite the fall onto pavement. The
:: rudder is ruined, the keel needs repair (and presumably
:: new keel bolts), but the hull itself suffered only a few
:: minor scratches (at least that I could see from the
:: outside).
:: I believe Larry Tuttle at Waterat has the molds and/or
:: templates for making new rudders and has done so
:: recently.
:: Making a new keel could be more problematic. I'm not
:: sure if the keel mold was with the rest of the E27
:: molds, or if it even exists any more. Dave Wahle in
:: Watsonville would know, probably. Hopefully the keel can
:: be saved and repaired.
:: As far as maintenance and prevention: Everyone should be
:: aware that keel bolts are not maintenance free.
:: Periodically (annually?) the bolts should be carefully
:: torqued. To torque the bolts holding the hoisting strap,
:: the strap must first be removed. I was unable to find a
:: specific torque for these nuts, but the consensus among
:: the experts was to torque them tightly with a short
:: (approx 24") 'cheater pipe' or breaker bar. Be sensitive
:: to galling and don't torque them hard enough to damage
:: them. You will need a deep socket (3/4" I think), a long
:: (12") extension, and a 1/2" socket wrench with cheater
:: pipe. It takes only about 10 minutes.
:: I recently replaced all the nuts and washers on my keel
:: bolts (one at a time--don't pull all the nuts at once).
:: If possible, the keel bolts should be completely dried
:: and sealed against water intrusion before the new washer
:: and nut are installed.
:: Crevice corrosion in stainless bolts is a nasty
:: insidious problem and very hard to predict or inspect
:: for. I've seen a lot of stainless fasteners fail with
:: very little signs of inspectable corrosion. So even if
:: we could see the keel bolts (which we can't without
:: removing the keel), it would be hard to know for sure if
:: they were compromised without dye testing or some modern
:: imaging. There may be some possibility of x-ray or
:: imaging technologies that could inspect keel bolts
:: without detatching the keel, but I don't know if any is
:: available locally (or affordably).
:: Though eye nuts on neighboring keel bolts sound
:: promising (and available--Fastenal sells 3/4" stainless
:: eye nuts with 4700lb working strength), care should be
:: given to placing loads on the keel bolts not intended by
:: the designer. All the keel bolts in our Expresses may
:: not be bedded equally in the keel (the hoisting bolts
:: may be better supported), and side loads should be
:: avoided. That said, Get Happy!! (hull #1) has the
:: hoisting strap attached to different keel bolts than all
:: the other E27s I've seen and so far no problems...
:: We are all wishing the best for the fast and effective
:: repair of Witchy Woman.

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