Water in encapsulated keel

Discussion in 'Downeast Projects and Boat Building' started by beeliner, Jan 16, 2020 at 11:19 AM.

  1. beeliner

    beeliner Member

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    Hello All,
    I just discovered that I have fresh water in the encapsulated keel area under the engine-not sure how it got in there.
    I drilled a hole inside the boat and found this area to be completely filled with lead and lead pellets, along with water. Then I drilled a 1/4" hole in the bottom of the keel and gallons of water came draining out. IMG_20200116_101728896 (1).jpg IMG_20200116_102905173.jpg
    What is the best way to let this space dry out before resealing it? I can just let it sit over the winter, but are there any other suggestions? Was thinking to maybe pour a quart or gallon acetone into the keel and let that drain? Or some other set up with heat? or a vacuum?
    Thanks.
     
  2. El Mar

    El Mar Captain

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    I don't think you will ever get that to dry.

    I would fill it with -100 non tox then cap it off.
     
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  3. Genius

    Genius Captain

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    It probably came in through a fitting/skeg bolt? You may want to see what goes into that area and rebed them with 5200. I've seen those crosby's with cement and junk chain used as ballast. Nice to have the lead shot IMO. I wouldn't add acetone in this situation. You can try hooking a wet/dry vacuum up to it and run it to get some air going through it. Pick a day that has a low relative humidity??? Good idea about the antifreeze. It's probably been like that for some time, so you got what you got and don't worry about it too much.
     
  4. Bill

    Bill Administrator

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    I’ve heard the guys that think whalers are cool will drill big holes in the bottom of the boat when the foam is wet and then encapsulate the boat in a tent and run a dehumidifier or two and it will pull the water out . Might work here .
     
    Bill,
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  5. Toolate

    Toolate Captain

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    I guess we know how you feel about whalers now :)
     
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  6. Brooksie

    Brooksie Captain

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    I don't think this is really a problem although it would be better if it were drained, pressure tested, & patched/repaired especially if it is to be stored in freezing temps. You could call also TBI or Crosby's for their take on this.
     
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  7. Eastporter

    Eastporter Captain

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    I had a similar problem with my Pearson sailboat- all of them had lead keels encased in fiberglass. I think the water started with a leak in the rudder straps but over the 40 years of freeze thaw cycles it started breaking the glass over the lead around the edges. Long story short... I drilled holes and dried the lower bilge the best I could, and drained about 4 gallons of water out. I let it dry over the winter and in the spring I used a wet/dry vacuum with a piece of pvc taped on to get most of the water out. I then filled the holes I drilled with thickened epoxy and glassed over, then faired. I drilled two new drains, one in the lower keel to get any water from the lead, and another to drain the cockpit. I sanded and reglassed the entire lead cap and it now is dry and holds water instead of getting into the lower bilge from delaminated glass. Lot of work but I won't need to worry about it again. Of course your lead balls are going to be an issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020 at 7:08 PM
  8. leaky

    leaky Captain

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    Ive heard of some company that could vacuum water out of early foam core boats.

    Do not put acetone in there, it can soften and destroy fiberglass parts if used to such extreme (ie wipe ok, filled it for hours not ok).
     
  9. beeliner

    beeliner Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! I've determined that the water came in through the forward cabin...at some point water got in there and drained aft through the bottom of the forward bulkhead (between cabin and engine compartment). There's a small gap there. Thinking I'll pour a few gallons of pink antifreeze through the gap and let it drain out the keel, that way if there's any water left it shouldn't freeze. Then I'll try forcing some air in there with my shop vac using the exhaust outlet..maybe do that a few times on a dry days. Then seal it up and put a drain plug in the side of the keel. If there's no water coming out after the first season in the water, I should be good. Worst case, a little remaining moisture shouldn't hurt anything.
     
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