Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Examination of Keel Bolts – Minding the Bit That Keeps You Upright!

19th April 2019
2451 Views
macSweeney_podcast
Keel failure - just how much attention do owners give to that vitally important part of the boat and its structure? Keel failure - just how much attention do owners give to that vitally important part of the boat and its structure? Photo: Courtesy: sailfeed.com

“We write to remind you that, due to the age of your vessel, Underwriters require an update of the last survey and valuation report, to be carried out ashore by a qualified marine surveyor who carries professional indemnity cover, prior to your policy’s next renewal date.”

The insurers of my yacht Scribbler issued their demand and so, my lovely boat in which I have had so much enjoyment and trusted her so much and she has responded so well to looking after me and all aboard, has been subjected to the poking and prodding of the surveyor and a detailed 22-page report has issued which concludes that: “the vessel has been constructed to a high standard and the boat’s present condition is considered very good for the boat’s age.”

That is 33 years this year and the conclusion, which pleases me, is a tribute to the Sigma 33 builders, Marine Projects of Plymouth and the care and attention that has been lavished on her.

At present, she is getting TLC following her health check-up and one of those checks included an examination of the keel bolts.

That got me to thinking about whether enough attention is given to this important part of the boat and how, when we have been well heeled-over during strong wind conditions when racing, so much about the safety of the boat and all aboard is dependent upon the “righting moment” and the keel.

How much attention do owners give to that vitally important part of the boat and its structure?

There have been many changes over the years from traditional long-keeled boats, integral keels to bolted-on keels and so on and, in the modern conception of offshore yachts, swinging keels.

Doing a bit of research about keels I learned that World Sailing is launching an In-Build Validation Scheme to look at the fabrication of the keel and attachment in yachts and, though this is primarily being developed to address what is described as “the increasing loss of keels on offshore sailboats,” it is an interesting thought, is it not, to consider one’s keel.

World Sailing is to produce its Validation Scheme this August and it will then be discussed at the organisation’s annual conference.

What will it all mean for those of us whose primary engagement is club sailing or coastal cruising and even more for those who cruise abroad and for the offshore racers?

That remains to be seen, but for my beloved Scribbler, who’ve looked after her for so many years, we’ve checked all keelboats and, as she ages to maturity over the years ahead, we’ll be implementing a keel bolt replacement programme as decided necessary while she remains giving us sailing enjoyment.

Very important to mind the bit of the boat that keeps you upright!

• Listen to the Podcast below

Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating