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ODay 30 – Keel Leak

Discussion in 'Bigger Boats' started by dcstrng, Dec 1, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

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  1. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    We recently purchased an otherwise pleasantly clean ODay-30 that almost immediately revealed a leak that was undisclosed at sale (yaw, I know all the legal mumbo-jumbo, but we’re past that). Finally hauled it this week -- sitting at the dock, the bilge pump kicked in about ever 6-7 hours for 20 seconds; and, underway it is about every 2 hours and ten minutes for the same 20-seconds like clock-work, so the leak can’t be ignored. I see a lot of commentary on the bolt-on keels, but this isn;’t one of them.


    Two issues, one is the 6-inch or so crack at the trailing edge of the keel near the hull/keel joint (please see picture) and the other is what appears to be seepage from within the keel at the very bottom (very slight, but where it shouldn’t be after sitting on the hard for 72 hours). This is a 1979 model and not the bolt-on keel, so I’m guess the damage was done at a previous haul-out as the bottom and keel is otherwise pristine and shows no signs of grounding. Although tricky, since it involves overhead, I think the upper keel/hull crack is structurally manageable with the usual layups of glass and epoxy. I’ve seen somewhat similar “keel leaks” where the advice was to use flexible epoxy, but the area looks structural to me and that doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy… What I’m just a tad concerned is the seepage I’m seeing below and its possible ramifications… In any case, my thought its to let the whole thing dry out over the cool months and then attack the glass work in the spring…

    Thoughts, warnings, cautions, suggestions… ???

    Thanks…
    IMG_2451.JPG
    -- Larry
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  2. njlarry

    njlarry

    Joined Sep 23, 2009
    1,329 posts, 128 likes
    O'Day 34-At Last
    US Rock Hall, Md
    Larry, welcome aboard. Sorry to hear of your problem but it should be fixable. I am only familiar with bolt on o'day keels so can't be of much help but aft edge cracks are usually come from hard grounding which is hard to do in the soft Chesapeake. I would ask some experienced yard workers and a surveyor to look at it. Coincidentally Boat US magazine just had an article on boat damage effects from grouding. I could fax it to you. It stresses inspecting the internal hull for cracks. Also Sail magazine online has some information on keels.
    If you decide to repair it yourself, Boatworks on YouTube is an excellent how to on fiberglass work.
    Good luck and let us know how you make out.
    Larry
     


  3. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    2,597 posts, 258 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    Is this an encapsulated keel, i.e., internal ballast? If so, I'd be concerned that if its water-logged and freezes, further damage could occur.
     


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  4. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    Jviss -- yes it is encapsulated -- was just discussing with another and am planning to go down tomorrow and provide some drains and hope that gravity is my friend -- you can see the seepage in the lower keel after sitting for a few days, so am going to do what I can to make a drain and hope for the best... I'm fortunate that this is also a boat building yard (wood and/or wood/epoxy) that encourages DIY for those in storage, so usually there is someone to help get out of awkwards spots -- but...

    Larry -- thanks for the heads up on Boatworks, juts spent a couple hours with them... I'm not totally ignorant on West and similar stuff; but am just a weekend hack compared to those guys... IMG_2452 -- Keel seepage.jpg Appreciate the advice and am hoping this ends up just being a labor-intensive nuisance that looks all better next spring...

    Larry -- Virginia
     


  5. wing15601

    wing15601

    Joined Aug 28, 2015
    98 posts, 17 likes
    Oday 28
    US St Joseph, MI
    I have an O’Day 28 with a keel which is apart of the hull mold and also a leak of sorts. It doesn’t leak into the boat but over the winter it leaks out of the keel and leaves a white gritty material as the residue. I opened it up to a 3” diameter circle about an inch deep lastwinter and washed with acetone and re glassed with epoxy resin this past spring. Now that it’s out for the winter there’s a 1/2” crack that’s once again draining. I think the molded filled keels on O’Day boats is pretty porous and I should have put a vacuum system pulling the liquid out. I’ve had no problem with water freezing in the keel. DAFBB0CE-BD86-446D-B473-7031C276ECDC.jpeg D8F77FC9-811A-4808-826B-80760EEE8F51.jpeg
     


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  6. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    Thanks Wing -- that's hopeful... I had a similar situation on my Bristol 24... not in the ballast area, but back just ahead of the lower rudder gudgeon/bearing -- ended up carving out a 3-4" diameter piece of the hull, watched the water pour out -- then reglassed it... not sure what had caused it to begin with, but it has seemed to stay fixed for ten years now, so I remain hopeful that epoxy can fix almost anything... :)
     


  7. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    Among other things I discovered this weekend, there is a small void near the bottom of my keel (I could feel it when my drill bit punched through the glass). I opened up the locations where I’d seen the seepage and the two center ones seem to have a void, and poured out a few more ounces of crud when I opened them – whether created by the leak further up the keel or independent of it I don’t know – but am now planning to fill and then reglass with the usual methods… Not sure whether to use something like GFlex or ProSeal (aviation folks will be familiar – sticks to everything), but will have to wait for warm weather; something injectable. DSCN2911.JPG
     


  8. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,603 posts, 1,085 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    If your boat suffered a hard grounding, there could be other signs/damage other than damage to and around the keel. Stays, chainplates, turnbuckles, mast step, and sheet blocks would take an enormous amount of stress with a hard collision with the bottom.
    However, the crack in your picture could be from a soft grounding where the keel became mired in sand while waves worked it back and forth. It's really immaterial except for paying attention to the points of stress I mentioned above.
    You sound experienced and confident with glass work so I don't have anything useful to add that others here are not better qualified to talk about. My '73 O'day mariner has encapsulated flotation and a lot of these older boats get water logged in their flotation. While you are draining the keel, check out the need to dry out any flotation you may have too. Deck-hull joints can leak under the rub rail in the rain. Sailing a boat that has sat for a while may also result in settled water pockets shifting and spilling into the bilge.
    O'Days are nice boats. I know, once you've fixed your issues, you'll love your new boat.
    Welcome to SBO
    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


    dcstrng likes this.
  9. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    Will – thanks. Yes I agree it was probably a soft grounding – the boat has lived most of its life in the Chesapeake Bay area and usually not much down there but sand and muck (in other boats I’ve run aground and not known I was aground until I woke up to the fact I was semi-stationary…). The guy who hauled the boat (been hauling from the yard I’ve used since the 80s, so he’s seen many of them) said the upper crack could also be caused by careless travel-lift operation -- that plunks a boat down on the keel or stores it long term with the jack stands so far aft the hull is flexed with the keel not properly supported… In any case, the boat has not been restored, but although this is my first exposure to an ODay, it looks much younger than its almost forty years and so far this issue looks reasonably manageable -- with a bit of brain-storming and sweat-equity…
     


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  10. SG

    SG

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    983 posts, 154 likes
    J/Boat J/160
    US Annapolis
    My guess: The bottom paint is hiding the story with an encapsulated keel, the water can get in any number of places.

    The crack you see is easy to fix -- it's what's happening below it. Again, my guess (I've never had an encapsulated keel): I would remove the paint and see what the substrate looks like -- IT MIGHT BE in the bottom of the keel (which is a pain because you can only access a little of it which the boat is on blocks). Anyway, you need to reseal the encapsulation AFTER you dry it out.
     


    dcstrng likes this.
  11. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    Yep – agreed… My main mission this week was to open up the lower keel where it had been weeping so (hopefully) any water inside had an escape route and not freeze… Took a shopvac to the bilge so everything above is as dry as I can make it and, excepting the crack on the aft-upper keel, is open – I’ll get to that… But I’m planning to sand off the paint on the keel just to see what the rest of the fin looks like, then once the glass-work is done – barrier coat at least the keel… there are half a dozen small blemishes here and there on the hull which I’ll open up to see what gives, but it is generally quite fair so I’m not planning to create more work than I have already… Come March, it’ll be epoxy time if it drain/dries like I hope over the intervening time…
     


  12. Newpy

    Newpy

    Joined Feb 12, 2018
    2 posts, 0 likes
    O'day 30
    Windy-bay-go US Newport
    We acquired an '83 Oday 30 last year and discovered similar water intrusion in the keel. In our case it all seemed to come from the bilge. The bilge is a frp plate glassed in over a concrete ballast. There must be more to the ballast than just concrete but the top foot or so is a poured concrete plug. In our case a little screw anchoring the bilge pump let enough water below that bilge floor plate that freeze/thaw cracked it and let all the bilge water seep into the keel. It seems the boat takes in rain water through he mast regularly so the bilge had been consistently wet. Short story is I cut, ground and scooped out the mess till there was nothing but a smooth concrete surface. Resealed that with (a lot of) epoxy and it seems ok this year. I also drilled into the side of the keel and into the after lower corner. Water and grit like you described came out down low but only a couple cups. Vacuum bagging it while patching pulled out another cup. Had to redo the patch actually.

    Anybody know what the lower half of the keel looks like inside on these boats? I found the similar voids midway up on the keel. Concrete isn't dense enough so it mush have lead in there some how.
     


  13. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    I don't actually know what it looks like inside -- but what you describe is what I think happened in my case... although ours wasn't rainwater (or I don't think it is the primary sources, as I have a clear crack in the aft end of the keel-root).


    Did you pull up that whole top of the keel-cap? Maybe I need to do that as well... I was planning on a major strengthening on the keel-root, and was thinking of maybe glassing in structural floors as well to stabilize the top of the keel; then once all that is done, to attack the bottom of the keel...


    There is supposed to be an ODay guru at one of the former ODay sales office up east, but I don't know the name... maybe they know what that keep looks like... it certainly was advertized as lead, but obviously if you got our crumbled concrete, then the keel surely wasn't pure lead.


    It'll be a few months before I get back to mine (tore up my leg/knee and am just starting recuperating after surgery), but if there is any other insights/guidance, I'd sure welcome it...
     


  14. Newpy

    Newpy

    Joined Feb 12, 2018
    2 posts, 0 likes
    O'day 30
    Windy-bay-go US Newport
    Yeah I cut out almost the whole keel cap. It was cracked and lifted from freezing for about 18" so it had to go. It was a pretty wild job with an angle grinder and I could't get all of it. I left the portion under the mast step. I had to chisel out a previous repair and work pretty hard to smooth the edges plus get under the main rib. It was winter (like 40 degrees) so I could mix up big pots of epoxy and just pour it in and flow it around before it kicked. I worked both from the shower sump side under the mast step and all around the main bilge. Eventually it made a sort of sump since I went down about an inch. We did it the same time as the repairs to the bottom so it all got barrier coated as well. Bilge pump hangs from the rib now on a little aluminum bar with some hose clamps around it. The switch snaps into the pump so there are no holes at all now.

    It does look like your situation could be all coming in from that crack which would be well below the level of the keel plate. Perhaps you can just reseal the keel plate and leave it alone? I'd probably drill a few holes around the bottom of the keel and vacuum bag it to see if you can pull the water out. It seems there is wood framing or coring so it's a bit of a guess which holes would be most effective. We were confused of awhile by rain water that ran down the hull and down the trailing edge of the keel while on the hard - so watch out for weird stuff like that just adding more water to the problem.

    I think you're referring to a guy at DRMarine but I haven't reached out to him.

    good luck with it - will be very interested to here what you discover !
     


  15. dcstrng

    dcstrng

    Joined Dec 1, 2017
    10 posts, 3 likes
    ODay 30
    0000 Sanctuary US Colonial Beach, VA
    Super, thanks for your insight... I was wondering about that cap since the glasswork looked pretty shoddy and not structural... once I get healthy again (by the time it warms a bit), I think I'll follow your lead and remove as much of it as I can with plans to form a new cap after I've solved the keel-root leak and structural issues... had't thought about putting vacuum to the foot of the keel, but that's a great idea while it is all open...

    Thanks...
     



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