There was some water in the well of Puffin's keel-bolt, so following forum advice I went about re-sealing the plates and bolt. After draining the water, I noticed that the well filled up again, about 1" of new water! Looking in detail at the base of the well with a torch, I found a crack in the resin coating. Obviously the water had been seeping into the crack, so I decided to open the crack up and see the extent of the problem. Great chunks of resin (no mat in it) eventually came up to reveal what looks like shot-concrete or something similar. Black and highly staining!
I decided to tip the trailer up on it's nose to see if I could encourage the water to run toward the removed resin coat "hole" so I could then mop it up.
After 2 weeks of draining and mopping up, I think I can now say I have now removed the water, although it must still be pretty damp in there. Trouble is, I don't know where it goes underneath as I have a sandwich floor throughout the cabin and under the cockpit (through which keel casing protrudes), and there is no other inspection hatch. I have inspected the hull and cannot find any other means by which the water has got in, so I assume the keel-bolt has been leaking continually for some time while the boat was on its mooring/sailing. There were also several brown "Tide-marks" up the side of the well too which indicated to me that there had been several previous "mop-outs" by previous owner(s).
I am re-glassing the hole - indeed the whole base of the well, but should I worry about this?
Incidentally, I used Sikaflex caravan sealant for the keel-bolt and plates either side. It only sets when exposed to air, so hopefully the seal will last.
I was a bit afraid that if I removed the bolt completely, the keel might drop down a tad and stop me getting it back in again. Was I right in thinking this?
I've only just realised that yours is an interesting boat. I looked through your list of posts, saw the pictures of Puffin and realised I'd seen that distinctive motor bracket before!
I first encountered her at Hickling, at the time I bought my own boat and started this site. You may be aware I wrote about her at that time, some 12 years ago. Now that she in back on Norfolk waters you will at least be able to tell the Broads Authority that the boat you have has their registration number P113 - and I've finally learnt the name of the boat. (At the time I took my photographs she had no toll plaques on her, from which I might have been able to find it!)
Re-reading my piece, I see I got a little confused and slipped from thinking of her as a Moore's boat to one built by Reedcraft, simply because of the style of lockers the builder added to the cockpit. At the time I wrote it I knew much less about how to tell the differences in the two main builder's boats. But it is those lockers that make me wonder. You'll read on the site that Reedcraft style lockers are well known for being the source of leaks - and the water turns up in the bottom of the bilges right by the keel bolt.
You say you've found some poor Moore's workmanship in the area around the keel bolt, but can you be sure that the water is entering via the bolt? I now wonder if the water is actually coming in through poorly sealed lockers, from where it runs down into the bilges and then forward under the cockpit and cabin sole to end up in the lowest part, right by the keel bolt.
I wonder, if there are cracks in that area, if the water could have just gone lower still, into the concrete and random scrap iron that normally provides the ballast in a SeaHawk generating that black staining stuff to mention.
Certainly, if you continue to find water in the bilges after making all reasonable efforts tending to the keel plates, I would look to the lockers rather than something more serious, or mysterious, with the keel.
PS: I've moved this the the "Help Desk" area as it's not really a general boating discussion item.
GregAfloat - My Boating Biography
In reply to this post by Greywing
You will probably remember Puffin as "Nancy Blackett" or even previously as "Tadpole"?
To some extent I feel a little reassured by your reply! I did wonder whether there was a crack on the underside of the keel somewhere (The boat has spent a year on a drying mooring in Chichester apparently) but I came to the conclusion that any water finding its way in would probably then go out again when the boat was on its trailer.
I have checked the lockers but can't find any cracks, holes or indications that they have even had water in them, but the keel-bolt has definitely been leaking as there were large rust stains running down the casing from the bolt plates and the plates themselves were severly rusted on their inner faces.The bolt however looked remarkably good once I had removed the crusty, salty crud around it. It appears to be made of bronze and shows no sign of deterioration or waisting, although the ease with which the nut came off and the bolt slid sideways indicated that there wasn't much in the way of sealant there, of if there was it had dropped out in lumps!
Generally when ballast rusts, it spalls and swells somewhat, so I have been looking to see if there is any deformation of the hull, externally or in the containment internally (what I can see of it), but there is none. So I'm just going to forget it and put her in the water after Bank Holiday and see what happens. Hopefully the work in the keel-bolt and bilge will have done the trick and no further damage.
Incidentally, the monstrosity which was the outboard bracket you referred to, was removed by the previous owner, and a block bolted to the transom. This doesn't work for me as the outboard I have is a short shaft so now I have mounted one of those stainless steel trapezoidal up-downy things which has cured the problem (Took it off my old Norfolk Cobble which is gently rotting away in the barn - does anyone want a project???) .
With regard to your comments re "self built", I have to agree, as there are certain "give-aways" which would not have occurred in an established yard, e.g. the misplacing of the drilled holes for the s/s safety rails, which can be clearly seen even though filled with epoxy, The cockpit drain that is about 1/2 inch above the floor, the mix of galvanised and s/s deck fittings and the none-marine hinges and lock on the fore-hatch. But, a very nice bump rail has been fitted around the gunwale, although the screws project into the hollow of the lip, as I discovered when I tore great chunks out of my finger tips when trying to move the boat a little on the trailer!!
The locker boxes too were originally plain with no surround I think, because the wooden edging is un-matched and screwed on (occasionally) with no uniformity of spacing and the end of the very sharp screw threads protrude into the lockers.
Obviously I have quite a lot of minor things to sort out! But next is a handle on the cabin door - it's a right pain without one, although I may split it eventually, like some other members have.
Just to close off this thread, after a 3 day sail on the Northern broads, no sign of any leaks and the keel bolt bilge is dry as a bone. The keel went down, clean as a whistle, the lockers are dry and all is well!
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