So after my run of bad luck things are picking up and I now have lil dee home.
I have pumped her all out and jacked her up on the trailer and can find no sign of damage.
I put her on blocks so the keel is clear of the trailer to check for damage.
My question is where do I need to check for leaks.
To my knowledge
1: The keel bolt & Housing
2. The bottom of the keel (outside)
Is there any way to check if the keel box itself is damaged inside , can it even leak from inside the slot ?
Your comments appreciated
The keel box is a very simple affair and quite shallow so easy to check for cracks. Best way is first examine the box from inside the boat - any serious cracks should be obvious. Then add some water to the bilge box so it covers the bolt - if there is a leak it will drip through underneath. Don't despair if it does leak. You can usually fix this by cleaning the outside of the box thoroughly with acetone and glassing over the box inside the boat using a West system epoxy kit. The only parts you can't get to are the rear of the box under the floor, but that's unlikely to have been damaged.
I carefully poured a 2 of liters of water into the bilge being careful not to get any water on the bolt and i it leaks from the front of the keel so the leak /crack must be below the level of the bolt, which as you say should be simple to seal with some fiberglass and resin.
I am seriously considering sealing the keel up ... less to leak and from what I read it will sail more or less the same except to windward.
I really wouldn't seal the keel box. The keel makes a huge difference to the way the boat sails, especially to windward, but also on a reach. With the keel down the boat is much more stable and stands up to her canvas better. Pedros had the same hull but with no drop keel but they were fitted with smaller sails. I sailed alongside one on the River Dart. It was slow and really didn't sail well to windward. I would try to fix the leak first, then make sure you have a proper way to lock the keel up. My Seahawks both had pins through the grab handle to secure the keel.
I'mm guessing that your keel was forced downwards and has cracked the front edge of the box. That should be fixable with West system epoxy.
Hi Brian thanks for your comment, when you say the front edge of the keel box, how will i be able to access it, or do i just clean up the bilge and epoxy the leak from inside ? I am having a hard time trying to imagine the keel box separate from the boat but I presume the bolt/bilge is the lowest part..
The keel makes a huge difference to the way the boat sails, especially to windward, but also on a reach.
I think folk mislead themselves when they say that its only windward performance that is affected. While it's true you wouldn't normally notice the difference 45° either side of directly downwind, the effect gets progressively worse all the way to the limit of sailing up wind. It is noticeable well before you are at 90° to the wind. The further you are heeled the more the boat seems to get blown across the surface of the water with the fat flat bottomed main keel seeming to offer little resistance to the sideways motion. In higher winds the effect becomes more noticeable still, forcing you to reef that much earlier in order to try to keep the boat more upright.
When sailing on a Broad, where tides and currents are non-existent, you can always see a tree or some other fixed point in the distance and it becomes very clear the difference of forgetting to drop your keel after leaving a shallow mooring makes.
After a sponge out in the bilge and some serious yoga to get in a position to see the front of the keel box I believe I have found the crack exactly were you predicted Brian about an inch up from the base at the very front of the keel box , bit awkward to get to but should be an easy fix once dried out and given a thorough clean...
Glad you found the leak :) Try to grind the surface back a bit and thoroughly clean with acetone. Only use west System epoxy, not standard polyester resin. West system sticks really well to clean surfaces and is totally waterproof. Hope she is back in the water soon!
After a bad launch i grounded my seahawk, the fibreglass on the centre keel is damaged right along the keel and i think that is letting water in (i have a leak). You mentioned using west epoxy rather than polyester resin, can i ask why? I'm going to take your advice but i'm just curious. Thanks
Epoxy resin is much better than polyester resin for a number of reasons. It is much safer to use as the fumes are far less toxic, it sticks much better to damaged surfaces and is totally waterproof unlike polyester that can be porous especially if fillers are added. I use West system epoxy for repairs as it is easy to use and reliable, but any good quality epoxy resin will do the job.