Keel Removal

Jason Schmidt wrote

I have gotten some great advice from everyone here in the past and am hoping that you can help me now. After taking my "69 v-21 out of the water at the end of the season, I decided to remove the swing keel in order to repair its gashes and cracks (which definately slowed me down and contributed to my frequent inability to get through a tack). After mustering up the courage to tackle this project, and determining to muscle the damn thing out (since I dont have any special tools, dolleys, etc. to help me with the job), I now find that I cant even get it to drop out of the keel trunk. I removed the bolts, so nothing is holding it in except for the rust build-up and general corrosion from 30 years of use and exposure. I tried sticking an L-shaped crow bar up into the keel trunk from beneath the boat, and pulling it down, but to no avail. Upon Jack's advice -- who posts here fairly regularly (one of the many valuable and indispensable resources on this list) -- I rehooked the winch and spent Saturday afternoon raising and lowering (as much as I could on the trailer) the keel, attempting to jiggle it down slowly. Nothing. Any advice from you guys would be greatly appreciated. Jason.

Frank Balcer answered

Had the same problem with my keel. Put the boat (23 venture) up on chocks in the back yard last winter for a complete rewire and overhaul. As for the keel i pulled the bolt and winched up and down but to no avail. I finaly had to drill (with a holesaw) a 1 inch hole directly above the swing keel and insert a piece of 1 inch dowel rod. After about 6 or 7 hits from a 8 pound sledge the keel fell out.

Frank Balcer

Andrew Sanderson answered

It was not difficult to refit the keel to my V222 after rebuilding the keel this autumn, even without a big jack, but it needed two people.

The boat was on a cradle about 3' off the ground. We connect the keel winch cable and hauled the bottom of the keel up into the keel box as far as it would go. Then we put some support (we used old tires) under the middle of the keel. The person not winding the keel had to ensure from this point that the keel stayed on its leading edge as the keel was raised and lowered. We lowered the bottom of the keel back down to the ground. The top of the keel was now well off the ground, pivoting around the support put under the middle. We put some support under the top end of the keel and again winched the bottom up into the keel box. Put more support under the middle of the keel and lowered the bottom end again. The top of the keel was by now pretty close to being in the right place to put the keel bolt in. It took one more repeat of the raising/adding support/lower process to get it lined up. It took a couple of goes and about hour with no tools to lift the keel back into place.

There is probably a more elegant way of doing it but the above work ok, cost nothing and is the way I would do it again if I ever had to.


V222 - no name yet