Kirby 25: Lowering Keel, Rebedding and Resetting

Keel Blocked and Hull Lifted

Keel Blocked and Hull Lifted

After a grounding (not severe) this Kirby 25 developed a very small leak, not severe enough to limit the sailing season. During the following spring maintenance period this was corrected. The boat is stored on a trailer, supported on the keel and four screw type hull pads. As shown in the first photograph the keel was blocked so as to remain stationary, the keel bolt nuts and washers were removed in the bilge and the hull elevated on the threaded pads to open up the join by approximately 30 mm. At this removal the keel nuts were found to be well below suggested torque values and one or more of the original square washers were deformed.

Lead Keel, Polyester Hull and SS Bolt Cleaned

Lead Keel, Polyester Hull and SS Bolt Cleaned

Now that the join was open the stainless steel bolts, the lead keel and the polyester hull were cleaned and found to be in good condition. New square washers were made from stainless steel plate with the thickness increased to 1/4 inch from 3/16 inch. The boat was left in this state for two weeks until the weather improved and the sun came out and the work proceeded.

New Square SS Washers and Bolt Torquing

New Square SS Washers and Bolt Torquing

A proper sealing adhesive was applied to cover the join surfaces and under the inside square washers. The threaded hull pads were brought down in an even manner and the join surfaces remained parallel during closure. The keel nuts were now torqued (using a proper torque wrench) to 135 foot pounds. For this size of fastener an upper limit of 170 foot pounds is suggested. The outside keel join had been taped and after curing the “squeeze bead ” of sealant was cut away clean and the join faired with epoxy. During the sailing season the keel nuts should be retorqued.

by Ed Sulis


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