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New S2 6.7 Owner - Lifting Keel Maintenance

Apr 11, 2018
7
S2 6.7 Holland, MI
Hello,
I recently became the new owner of a 1980 S2 6.7. I hope someone here might be able to point me to some recommended maintenance procedures. The manual I have found online and the information that came with the boat does not say much about how to keep the systems unique to this boat working properly.

Specifically I would like to know what I should do with the lifting keel to ensure that I am always able to lift it. Having something break and being unable to get the boat on the trailer could be a serious issue. I am also looking for recommendations on how to make sure the hull stays solid. I am familiar with looking for soft spots on a cored deck near hardware as other through deck fittings. I am not sure what I should do to make sure the laminated hull does not turn to mush and fail. The light weight sold me on this design, but I have to imagine part of the price is making sure the balsa all stays completely dry.

Thanks in advance for any advice or links to information.
 

FDL S2

.
Jun 29, 2014
406
S2 7.3 Fond du Lac
First of all, welcome to SBO! You will find you get some great advice here. You may want to ask these questions in "ask all sailers" because there are many sailboats that use a lifting keel and cored hulls.

I have a 1979 S2 7.3 - a completely different boat from the same manufacturer.
I can't help with your lifting keel concerns but I have a few questions: Are you leaving the boat in the water for extended periods of time or is it put on a trailer after every sail? Are there Zebra mussels in your body of water? Will you be sailing in shallow water or is lifting the keel only a concern for trailering?

For the cored hull, it is similar to inspecting a cored deck. Look at through hull fittings and make sure they are sealed. Look for soft areas on the hull by tapping from the outside. Inspect the fiberglass on inside of the hull for cracks or holes that can let water in to the core. Inspect the lowest areas for standing water, etc.

Good to see another S2 owner!
 
Apr 11, 2018
7
S2 6.7 Holland, MI
Hi FDL,

Thank you for the response. I will take your advice and post in the 'Ask All Sailers' area. From what I understand the lifting keels on the S2s are somewhat unique. I thought it would be best to try to find some other S2 6.7 or 6.9 owners first.

Thank you for the advice on the cored hull. It seems I need to develop an ear for tapping on good fiberglass vs wet or de-laminated fiberglass. I never had much luck 'hearing' problems with a deck but when walking on deck I have found soft spots by 'feel' a number of times.

Here are the answers to your direct questions:

Are you leaving the boat in the water for extended periods of time or is it put on a trailer after every sail?
At the moment the idea is to work on the boat in the driveway and trailer the boat to the launch every time I want to sail. We will see how long that lasts. The slip prices might look like a better deal after I put the rig up and take it down a few times. Even I if do stick with the trailer sailing I will still plan to do some short cruising or at least anchor our over night at the local harbor. In this case I expect to leave to boat in the water for no more than 1 week at a time during Summer 2019.

Are there Zebra mussels in your body of water?

Yes! I am amazed at how they manage to grow inside places with such small openings to the water. Zebra mussels love it here on Lake Michigan. Are you suggesting that they can set up shop inside the keel trunk and foul it so badly that the keel no longer moves?

Will you be sailing in shallow water or is lifting the keel only a concern for trailering?
I settled on a lifting keel for trailering purposes. I like the 6.7 in particular due to the claimed 10" draft with the keel up. Since I now have an ultra-shoal sailboat I plan to trailer sail and also get setup to anchor out in what ever shallow gunk holes I can find far away from other boats. So I guess what I am trying to say is that I will be motoring and anchoring in shallow water but I expect to have the keel all the way down when actually sailing.

Thanks again.
 
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Likes: FDL S2

FDL S2

.
Jun 29, 2014
406
S2 7.3 Fond du Lac
Hi FDL,

Thank you for the response. I will take your advice and post in the 'Ask All Sailers' area. From what I understand the lifting keels on the S2s are somewhat unique. I thought it would be best to try to find some other S2 6.7 or 6.9 owners first.

Thank you for the advice on the cored hull. It seems I need to develop an ear for tapping on good fiberglass vs wet or de-laminated fiberglass. I never had much luck 'hearing' problems with a deck but when walking on deck I have found soft spots by 'feel' a number of times.

Here are the answers to your direct questions:

Are you leaving the boat in the water for extended periods of time or is it put on a trailer after every sail?
At the moment the idea is to work on the boat in the driveway and trailer the boat to the launch every time I want to sail. We will see how long that lasts. The slip prices might look like a better deal after I put the rig up and take it down a few times. Even I if do stick with the trailer sailing I will still plan to do some short cruising or at least anchor our over night at the local harbor. In this case I expect to leave to boat in the water for no more than 1 week at a time during Summer 2019.

Are there Zebra mussels in your body of water?

Yes! I am amazed at how they manage to grow inside places with such small openings to the water. Zebra mussels love it here on Lake Michigan. Are you suggesting that they can set up shop inside the keel trunk and foul it so badly that the keel no longer moves?

Will you be sailing in shallow water or is lifting the keel only a concern for trailering?
I settled on a lifting keel for trailering purposes. I like the 6.7 in particular due to the claimed 10" draft with the keel up. Since I now have an ultra-shoal sailboat I plan to trailer sail and also get setup to anchor out in what ever shallow gunk holes I can find far away from other boats. So I guess what I am trying to say is that I will be motoring and anchoring in shallow water but I expect to have the keel all the way down when actually sailing.

Thanks again.
I'm in Wisconsin on Lake Winnebago, but I have sailed Lake Michigan and I know all about Zebra mussels from both those bodies of water. I was thinking about them gunking up your trunk and making it hard to lift the keel.
My other questions were geared toward how much use it will be getting. Things that get used often tend to get better maintenance. So if the previous owner used it a lot they probably kept it operating smoothly, also you will be inclined to keep it that way. Is it a cable on a winch? Do you have any pictures?
 

henke

.
Jul 20, 2009
5
2 6.9 Bloomington Indiana
Hello Fourth Coast,
I have a 1984 6.7 In beautiful condition (for sale only to a loving home :). I used mine in similar ways that you describe. It has spent most of its life in a garage or barn, but when season and time allowed, sailing we went. One time I landed on a sand bar in the middle of Tampa Bay. When I began to hoist the keel; the line snapped. It was probably the only line, I had not replaced, on the boat. We were able to thread a temp line to finish the sail, but I would recommend checking and probably replacing said keel lift line. Pretty easy job on the trailer.
Good luck and have fun.
Tim
 
Apr 11, 2018
7
S2 6.7 Holland, MI
Thanks for the response, henke. I will be sure to replace the cable. It seems like some sort of back up line or at least a messenger line to help jury rig a keel lift would be a good idea as well.

Do you think the bracket or whatever attaches the cable to the keel would ever need to be replaced? I imagine you got a good look at it when you replaced the cable.

I am not clear -- do you have an S2 6.7 or a 6.9? I looked and looked for a 6.9 and eventually gave up and went for the 6.7. In the drawings the S2 6.9 interior looks really sweet. If you have a 6.9 for sale I am going to kick myself for picking up the 6.7 just a few months ago.
 
Last edited:

felbz

.
Oct 5, 2016
3
S2 5.5 and 6.7 Barnum Bay, Rome WI
I have a 1980 S2 6.7 hull 17 whic I sail on Petenwell Lake in Wisconsin.
I assume your winch set up uses a 2 to 1 purchase.
You may want to remove and inspect the wire rope sheave which attaches to the keel lifting tab, as mine was built pretty light considering the keel weighs 525 lbs.
Several years ago I had a hard grounding which broke the sheave. The cable itself was not damaged.
Once back at the dock I was able to cut the sheave free using a Dremmel tool mounted to a long stick along with a long rod bent 90 degrees at the end to push out the bushing in the keel lifting tab.
To replace the original sheave I fabricated a shackle and steel rope sheave along with a pin fabricated from 1/4 inch 304 stainless steel which fits the hole in the keel lifting tab.
The cover on the winch can be disassembled by removing the tiny locking set screws then unscrew the cover. Once open clean out the old grease then replace with marine grade grease. Raising and lowering the keel will be much easier.
The cable should be periodically inspected for strand breakage.
I hope this helps.
 
Jul 13, 2018
13
S2 8.0C Johnson Lake
Do you have any pictures of the winch that raises your keel and the set up around it? How its attached, etc...?
 

felbz

.
Oct 5, 2016
3
S2 5.5 and 6.7 Barnum Bay, Rome WI
Rangerick,
My boat is currently in heated storage at an old Walmart building in Tomah. When we get it out this spring I will take pictures of the winch system and keel attachment.
 
Jul 13, 2018
13
S2 8.0C Johnson Lake
Thanks. I would like to see if its similar to my 8.0C. I'm restoring my S2 and I tore out all the rot and water damaged wood, but forgot to take a picture of it in order to replace it.
 
Apr 11, 2018
7
S2 6.7 Holland, MI
I have a 1980 S2 6.7 hull 17 whic I sail on Petenwell Lake in Wisconsin.
I assume your winch set up uses a 2 to 1 purchase.
You may want to remove and inspect the wire rope sheave which attaches to the keel lifting tab, as mine was built pretty light considering the keel weighs 525 lbs.
Several years ago I had a hard grounding which broke the sheave. The cable itself was not damaged.
Once back at the dock I was able to cut the sheave free using a Dremmel tool mounted to a long stick along with a long rod bent 90 degrees at the end to push out the bushing in the keel lifting tab.
To replace the original sheave I fabricated a shackle and steel rope sheave along with a pin fabricated from 1/4 inch 304 stainless steel which fits the hole in the keel lifting tab.

The cover on the winch can be disassembled by removing the tiny locking set screws then unscrew the cover. Once open clean out the old grease then replace with marine grade grease. Raising and lowering the keel will be much easier.
The cable should be periodically inspected for strand breakage.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for the response, felbz.

That sounds like a serious adventure replacing the wire rope sheave!

You advice is appreciated. I will try to change the grease and inspect the sheave.
 

Clayt

.
Nov 16, 2020
2
S2 6.9 Grand Slam Spokane, WA
Hello Fourth Coast,
I just joined the forum and see that your original post was some two years ago, so my response to your questions is a little late. What did you end up doing about the keel maintenance issues and hull core concerns? Also, after all this time I'm curious if you figured out an efficient way to step your mast or if you decided not to be a masochist and put the boat in a slip? I have had my 6.9 for about ten years and am pretty familiar with all the things you bring up. I launch the boat off the trailer every time so have the mast stepping and rigging routine figured out so it's pretty painless. Also have replaced the keel lift winch and reinforced the deck under it and the turning block, plus replaced the keel raising line...pretty much done it all...let me know if you want to chat about any or all of it. Nice boats, huh?
Cheers,
Clayt
 

JDE

.
Jun 6, 2019
38
Hunter 23.5 As many as possible
Looking for some information about the 6.7. I just spent the winter restoring a new to me boat. Launched it yesterday and attempted to deploy the keel. Can’t quite tell if its all the way down. From what I can tell , there’s still a fair amount of keel in the trunk. Is this normal?

When down, there’s slack in the cable and a single depth of cable still wrapped across the entire spool.
 
Apr 11, 2018
7
S2 6.7 Holland, MI
JDE,

On my boat there is at least one turn of cable around the winch when the keel is all the way down. After I have the keel down and have sailed for some time it takes a little bit more effort to get it to 'pop' out of the fully down position. I think the keel rests in a V-shaped section at the bottom of the keel trunk and sort of jams itself in.

If you want to try to measure it I think you should be able to use a small rod or something to probe the top of the keel. Measure how much rod sticks out the top with the keel all the way up and then measure again with it all the way down and the cable slack.

I think you should measure about 3 foot 8 inches, based on the min/max draft here: https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/s2-67

I have never measured the travel on my keel. The 'pop' when I crank it back up was enough to convince me that it was all the way down.
 
Apr 11, 2018
7
S2 6.7 Holland, MI
Clayt,

I was looking for the 6.9 since the accommodations seem to be a little better for the pocket-cruising I hope to do some day. In the end I found a 6.7 first. On the plus side it has no port lights, which means no port light leaks.

I was able to rent a mooring ball for a price that is painful, but not devastating, like the price of a slip.

I honestly like the ball better than being at a dock most of the time. I have sort of my own private part of the harbor and I don't have to worry about hitting the half-million-dollar yacht in the slip next to me when I am single handing.

So far I have done zero keel maintenance. I have a couple ideas about how to replace the winch, but I am not sure what I am going to do. Hopefully I do not get stuck in deep water before I get around rebuilding it.
 

JDE

.
Jun 6, 2019
38
Hunter 23.5 As many as possible
Hey, thanks for the reply. I've done some further investigating and confirmed is is not fully deploying - about a foot short. I used an endoscope camera was able to get some good footage of the interior of the trunk. I presumed there was some kind of build-up or crud that was obstructing the keel. Turns out the interior of the trunk is clean. Then I put it on a lift and tried lowering it only to discover that it rubs hard on the port side and jams. The keel has about 4-5 layers of paint and there's an equal number of layers on the lower inside foot of the trunk. The guides are also up hard against the inside of the trunk. We are planning to pull it out of the top, look for any deformation/swelling that may have occurred and then strip the paint and sand down the guides. Hoping it drops in aft that.
 

Attachments

Apr 11, 2018
7
S2 6.7 Holland, MI
JDE,

When you pull the keel out will you please take a whole bunch of photos showing what the keel and the inside of the trunk look like?