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Keel Bolts and General Topics on Keel - Swan 37 Keel bolts - checking and replacing
23 February 2024 - 20:48
#1
Join Date: 15 January 2016
Posts: 3

Swan 37 Keel bolts - checking and replacing

I am the lucky owner of Swan 37 #55, currently names Samphire, previously Chanchullo (for 7 1/2 years). She has always had a slightly crack at the front of the keel, which tends to slightly open when she is lifted. 

Due to the yachts age (c. 51 years), I think I should try and inspect the keel bolts, and would welcome any feedback or guidance on this.

Many thanks,

Tom

 

24 February 2024 - 07:13
#2
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1031

Dear Tom,

could you please post some detailed images of the crack, and let us know if you have water coming in from the keel bolts?

It is likely to be the typical "S&S Swan Smile" (please see example attached), which should not worry you.

Looking forward to seeing the photos, thanks.

Matteo (47/069 Vanessa)


25 February 2024 - 15:32
#3
Join Date: 15 January 2016
Posts: 3

Port side Keel

Port side keel

Starboard side keel - close up

25 February 2024 - 15:35
#4
Join Date: 15 January 2016
Posts: 3

Dear Matteo,

 

Many thanks for your prompt response. Please see photos now posted. I will trty and post some better pictures if I get the chance. There is a hairline crack at the front of the keel join to the hull on both sides, which slightly opens when she is in the slings. The crack is not getting noticeably worst, but there is some 'bleeding', suggesting some internal corrossion.

As I'm sure you know, the top of the keel bolts are glassed in making inspection/removal a significant job.

Thanks again,

Tom

25 February 2024 - 19:06
#5
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1031

Dear Tom,

photos should be no more than 4 MB (when open), could you please send me them again, to my personal mail address, and I will re-size and upload them?

If it's an hairline crack should be the typical "S&S Swan Smile" and of no worry, bleeding is normal when the boat is on her sling, it does not mean there is corrosion, probably just a cosmetic problem, anyway, before dismantling the keel, very expensive job, why not getting an ultrasound check on keel bolts?

If bolts are still covered with original gelcoat that's a good news, it probably means the boat never went aground and the previous owners did not need to check the keel bolts.

Looking foreward to receiving the photos.

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

26 February 2024 - 20:33
#6
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1031

Dear Tom,

thanks for the new photos, now perfectly visible.

It looks a typical "S&S Swan smile" and should be of no worry.

You are right, a 50 years boat probably deserves a better check, but before committing in an extremely expensive job as dismasting and drop the keel, why not checking with ultrasound?

Q-composites is an Italian company with a deep experience on this kind of non invasive checks on S&S Swan, and they travel all over the world (trusted  expert of many boats of the America's Cup and F1), you may contact them and ask if they have some job in UK, as asking them to come just for you could be awfully expensive, but adding a job on another business trip in UK could be convenient for both of you.

To ultrasound check the keel bolts you need to get rid of the gelcoat on top of the bolts, so a perfect occasion to even check the tightening. A dedicated document (written by our friend, late Lars) on keel bolts exact torque is on "Technical papers) .

Fair winds,

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

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