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C22 Swing Keel/Fiberglass Repair?

Feb 18, 2021
10
Catalina 22 NA
Hello,
I am in the early process of restoring a 1975 C22. I am now doing the entire swing keel and all of it's components. I removed the weldments that support the pivoting castings and found some fiberglass issues. The fiberglass that supports the forward port side weldment is completely cracked, and the fiberglass needs major repair.

On the starboard side I saw some cracks in the gelcoat around both holes. I tried to grind out the cracks in the gelcoat and found that they go beyond the gelcoat and into the fiberglass. At this point I assumed that I would taper the fiberglass around the surrounding area and put a couple of layers of glass over the entire area. These cracks are fine cracks but they appear to go deep into the fiberglass. Below are some pics of the starboard side and the cracks are visible. Am I right in assuming that they require more than just a couple layers of glass. I am thinking the recessed support holes for the pivot castings would need to be completely removed and reglassed. Any input would be appreciated.
 

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Sep 15, 2016
612
Catalina 22 Minnesota
It sounds like your on the correct course for the repair. The Hangers are held in by weldments that are embedded in the glass layers. There is no access from the top side without cutting out and repairing a portion of the inner hull liner. Your not the first nor will you be the last though to deal with this repair. If your good with glass then it's doable however if you don't already have the C22 association tech manual (not the Catalina direct one) I highly recommend it. There are many articles about repairing the weldments and the glass layers you show in the pictures. Once the structure is sound then it's just a matter of repairing the hole with glass layers as you describe. If you are able it sounds like flipping the hull upside down makes this job much easier. There are numerous threads here that talk you through how others have done it and a few articles on that as well in the tech manual (for both rotating the hull and repairing the weldments).

How early is your hull # and what are your intentions? If your going to race it the early years are sought after because they tend to be lighter. In this whole restoration make sure you service the Keel to fair it all out, update to the Stainless spreader brackets if its not already done, and upgrade the bow eye with the reinforcing internal turnbuckle as these are all known failure points. Hope this helps.

Oh and parts are available for all this from Catalina Direct as well as the Catalina factory.
 
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Feb 18, 2021
10
Catalina 22 NA
It sounds like your on the correct course for the repair. The Hangers are held in by weldments that are embedded in the glass layers. There is no access from the top side without cutting out and repairing a portion of the inner hull liner. Your not the first nor will you be the last though to deal with this repair. If your good with glass then it's doable however if you don't already have the C22 association tech manual (not the Catalina direct one) I highly recommend it. There are many articles about repairing the weldments and the glass layers you show in the pictures. Once the structure is sound then it's just a matter of repairing the hole with glass layers as you describe. If you are able it sounds like flipping the hull upside down makes this job much easier. There are numerous threads here that talk you through how others have done it and a few articles on that as well in the tech manual (for both rotating the hull and repairing the weldments).

How early is your hull # and what are your intentions? If your going to race it the early years are sought after because they tend to be lighter. In this whole restoration make sure you service the Keel to fair it all out, update to the Stainless spreader brackets if its not already done, and upgrade the bow eye with the reinforcing internal turnbuckle as these are all known failure points. Hope this helps.

Oh and parts are available for all this from Catalina Direct as well as the Catalina factory.
Thank you for your reply! I just started sailing last fall and really enjoyed it so I bought my first boat so I can learn about boat repair and maintenance as well as sailing, plus I am retired and like working with my hands. I have never done any fiberglass work until this project. So far I reinforced and reglassed the step that supports the winch, replaced the wet and rotted wood embedded in the hull under the compression post, and replaced the locking hardware for the keel. So far I am very happy with the way these areas have turned out although they are not yet finished. I have a template and do plan on fairing the keel out. I have the centering kit, castings, weldments, locking mechanism, cable and winch all from Catalina direct.

I will certainly look up that tech book as you suggest and hopefully it will give me some guidance. I have tried to find information as to how to approach this particular fiberglass issue. I was thinking about making a negative mould especially for the one weldment hole that is completely gone. The weldment hole and the surrounding several inches of glass cracked all the way through and I removed it completely so it is now just a hole in the hull. I was thinking about mounting the mould on the outside of the hull to create the recess that the weldments are mounted in and putting the glass in from inside, however I have no idea how much of the surrounding area I would need to remove to get to that 12 to 1 overlap I keep reading about when repairing glass. The glass in that area is about 1" thick where the actual weldments are mounted so if that general rule were to apply here I would have quite a large area to deal with.

The hull number is 4773. I have had it our about 6 or so times but I did not drop the keel cause I knew it had not been serviced for at least 20 years and did not want to have any issues on the water. My neighbor at one time raced so that is not out of the question once I get some experience. Would love to have it ready for this season but this project may take more time than what i expected.

Thanks again for your reply!!
 
Sep 15, 2016
612
Catalina 22 Minnesota
@C_Level the mould idea may be the way to go if needed but based on the pictures I would simply build up what is there from the inside and out as needed. The keel is roughly 500 lbs so it's not the most heavy thing in the world. I'm afraid your a bit beyond my repair skill set with the rebuilding process on that one. I have a wing keel so I don't need to raise or lower anything or worry about the hardware and things.

you may find some great information in this thread: South African "Catalina" 22

while not officially a "catalina" 22 it is identical in many ways. Whatever you do don't overthink it. If your ok with the glass work then have at it and likely you'll wind up with something overbuilt anyway. Far too many here start major repairs like weldments, core rot issues, etc. and then overthink it to the point that the project never gets completed. Or wind up with so much project creep that a new boat would have been cheaper in the long run. The goal should always be to get out on the water, it's a 46 year old boat so it will have its play marks from the years past. I saw your other post as well and it appears the damage was likely due to a falling keel at one point in the boats past. I would rebuild what's there and get it back on the water that's where the adventure happens anyway.
 

ambler

.
Dec 7, 2013
45
catalina 22 Watauga Lake, TN
The stingy sailor (The $tingy Sailor) has a detailed series on fairing the keel - including a template to get the proper foil shape.

When I replaced my keel it was tricky getting the holes in the bracket to align with the threads in the weldments. It required raising the hangers into place with long bolts threaded through the holes as a guide (see photo). When you glass the weldments in place I suggest you do something similar to make sure the threads line up properly with the hanger bracket.

You probably also know to replace the keel cable, pin, turning ball and rubber hose on the "volcano." Failure of any of those could be a mess.

Good luck with it. These are fun boats.
 

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Feb 18, 2021
10
Catalina 22 NA
The stingy sailor (The $tingy Sailor) has a detailed series on fairing the keel - including a template to get the proper foil shape.

When I replaced my keel it was tricky getting the holes in the bracket to align with the threads in the weldments. It required raising the hangers into place with long bolts threaded through the holes as a guide (see photo). When you glass the weldments in place I suggest you do something similar to make sure the threads line up properly with the hanger bracket.

You probably also know to replace the keel cable, pin, turning ball and rubber hose on the "volcano." Failure of any of those could be a mess.

Good luck with it. These are fun boats.
Hello Ambler, I am familiar with $tingySailor and I downloaded the template for reshaping the keel. It's probably not necessary however since I am restoring it why not go the distance. I have spent many hours on the internet trying to find out whatever I can since I am new to sailing. I also am familiar with south African Catalina 22 that Landshark had mentioned. There is quite a bit of good information out there for these boats and many helpful sailors.
I did repair the fiberglass and install the weldments on the starboard side as it was the easiest to repair. I wound up grinding out about 1/8" of fiberglass from the inside and outside of the recessed area that holds the weldments.
Before putting in the new weldments I built it back up with several fresh layers of fiberglass and I ran each layer up along the trunk and outwards on the hull. Once I started glassing I was able to complete the inside and outside of the hull in one step so I should have a good chemical bond. I was able to bolt the new casting in place prior to the fiberglass curing (thanks for the suggestion) so the bolts would line up and it worked out well. Below are pics of inside and outside of repaired starboard side and pics of the port side that are partially prepped for reglassing.
I do have all new parts that you mentioned for restoring the keel and associated hardware. I also replaced the 1/2" plywood that supported the winch as it was wet and rotted and the winch was loose. I shaped a pc of white oak to replace the threshold at the companion way, reglassed it and put 3 weldments in it for winch support to eliminate through bolts going through that step area. So far going well.
 

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ambler

.
Dec 7, 2013
45
catalina 22 Watauga Lake, TN
The repair looks beautiful. I'm saving your photos in case I'm unlucky enough to have to do mine in the future.

Fairing the keel is a big job in it's own right. I did mine because my keel was severely rusted. It was covered in knuckle sized "rusticles." After I chiseled them off I had the pile of rust shown in the picture. Smoothing out the keel improved performance. I picked up about a knot in top speed and cut way down on the leeway when sailing to windward.

Enjoy your boat.
 

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