E34-2 keel to hull joint - bottom paint cracked

Jason G

Member II
Hello everyone,

I am significantly impressed with the amount of activity on this website. One of the reasons why I'm looking at Ericson's is because of the strong following and large knowledge base.

This particular 87' E34-2 which I have looked at twice is was based out of Bellingham WA and is now at the brokers yard in Anacortes. I was able to spend time on the boat at the dock in Bellingham talking with the owners who are great people and appeared to have really enjoyed owning this boat. During my initial inspection while the boat was in the water I had commented to the owners how dry the bilge was and they say that the only water they seem to get is rain water down through the mast. The owners had come up with a great solution to keep it from wicking under the sole and to collect it into a cut-off 1 gallon jug so that it could easily be emptied.

My second inspection while on the hard at the brokers yard and after the bottom had been pressure washed and scraped there were large areas of missing bottom paint down to the gel coat but I did not see any blistering. Perhaps it had been out of the water long enough to dry out the blisters but what I was looking at didn't initially lead me to feel like there were blisters. What did catch my attention was the crack in the multiple layers of bottom paint along the keel/hull joint. There were no signs of a grounding or damage to the keel or hull any where. The bilge stays dry according to the owners. Is it common to see cracks along the joint but not to have leaks?

I didn't get any good pictures of the cracked paint along the keel or close ups of the bottom where the ablative paint had been scraped off down to the gel coat.

I plan on making an offer on this boat soon but wanted to get some more info before I do.

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Jason
 

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Jason G

Member II
more bilge pictures

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The string around base of mast collects the rain water and directs it into the jug. The calk along the mast step keeps the floor boards off the fiberglass and directs any stray rain water into the bilge.


Jason
 

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Rick R.

Contributing Partner
Jason, my boat has that same keel join crack every two years when we haul it for a bottom job. Unless there's something wrong like loose keel bolts. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just have it faired when you do the bottom job. Rick
 

Jason G

Member II
Thank you Rick,

Both my previous boats (Kent Ranger 24 and a Gary Mull Ranger 29) have been lead encapsulated keels so bolt on keels are new for me. My concern was from posts I have read here regarding keel bolts and Ericsons lack of prep when bedding keels to the boats built in the late 80's. I have not found much specific info on the 34-2 model.


Jason
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Thank you Rick,

Both my previous boats (Kent Ranger 24 and a Gary Mull Ranger 29) have been lead encapsulated keels so bolt on keels are new for me. My concern was from posts I have read here regarding keel bolts and Ericsons lack of prep when bedding keels to the boats built in the late 80's. I have not found much specific info on the 34-2 model.


Jason

Small world. :)
I raced and cruised a Ranger 20 for 5 years and crewed quit a bit on a Ranger-24. Those boats did indeed have internal lead ballast.
I used to race a bit on a Ranger Yacht 29 also and had a couple of deliveries up the WA coast on that boat. Matter of fact the only time I have ever experienced a dismasting at sea was on the 29. No injuries, but it was... exciting. :0

My take on it, having had the keel on our '88 boat dropped and rebedded, is that there is a chance that the mold release wax was not properly removed on some mid and late 80's Ericson-built boats. I had ours rebedded due to a small leak around a keel bolt.
Other than rebedding our keel with new sealant, we had no other problems. Some other owners have found corrosion of the bolts and had to replace or splice some bolts. The amount of problem and solution method varies.

A good surveyor will know what to look for, other than an obvious seepage around a bolt.

FWIW, we have hit the bottom quite hard once and the lead was not harmed - an frp keel shape might have needed some repair, and another member here assaulted a rock with his 80's 34 (34-2 series, as it's often called) and found no damage when hauled out.

All design and engineering schemes have their strengths and weaknesses.

Cheers,
Loren
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Two points to consider in this bothersome issue, for which there simply is no answer beyond a very expensive keel drop. I may do one myself, soon. BUT:

1. No keel has ever fallen off an Ericson or Olson yacht. All the keels I am aware of on our boats are of low aspect ratio, meaning a long base of attachment. They have nothing in common with famously departed super high-aspect ratio foils, often with a bulb on the end.

2. Discussions of keel attachment sometimes include the recognition that it is nearly impossible to bolt a keel on a boat without some eventual lateral movement of the structure. The point is that whenever the boat heels over, the lateral force on the keel boats is very large, and the attachment points necessarily limited. Over time, the joint works. Water may enter. Such leaking may be stopped or reduced just by renewing the keel-stub fairing.
It is true that some keel bolts, when revealed, show definite corrosion of the stainless as a result of long submersion in low oxygen environment. However, it is often that only one or two bolts is affected. In every case I have read about, other bolts provided safe redundancy.

3. It is my opinion that running around, even at 10 knots under spinnaker, would have just about no effect on the attachment of the keel. Unfortunately, I've done it several times. The violence is real, but the medium of water absorbs much of the force of the collision as the boat rotates on the striking point.

These are entirely unscientific opinions--other observations or information welcome.

The point is that we cannot toss and turn all night worrying about our keels. If a boat looks good when hauled, and in the absence of evidence, move on to man-overboard drills.
 
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mkollerjr

Member III
Blogs Author
My copy of the original E38 manual states: "Even though firmly attached, a small crack may appear between the keel and the keel boss on the hull. This occurs in the fairing material and may be refaired annually at haulout time if desired using polyester filler or, filler and fiberglass cloth."
 

HerbertFriedman

Member III
The manual on my E34 also states that you could fill the cracks and then use fiberglass cloth. I had the yard do this repair using 4 inch fiberglass cloth attached to the keel to hull joint that was ground down. I think I have traced my leak to refrigerator condensation rather than the keel to hull joint but need more time to diagnose what is going on.
 

Brad Johnson

Member III
My e26 also had this slight crack which I filled and added a 3" strip of fiberglass , that was 25 years ago and it has been fine. Hope you got the boat , fellow club ember bought one two years ago and raves about the boat.
 
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