Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Lead Keel"
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Thread: "Lead Keel"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Lead Keel

John Humphrey

Hi Bud, On Sapphire WS32 #703 I have drilled and drained water from the keel. I have removed the covering over cast lead keel which had seperated from the hull allowing water into voids around lead and now the area is drying. The lead has been put in place without encapsulating leaving 1/2 to 1 inch void. Looks like the center chunk of lead would go though the roof in a rollover. So the plan is to pore resin and encapsulate the keel. What would you recommend using? Any idea how much? Looks like at least 10 gal. thanks John

Jay Bietz

John: For the rest of us - can you take photos and record the process and results of your repair?

Bud Taplin

If the factory installed the ballast, I am surprised that they did not fill in around it.

I would recommend mixing a filler material with the resin to make a mixture about the consistency of pancake batter before catalizing and pouring it into the spaces. Mix up a few gallons, pour it in and see how much it fills up. That should give you an indication of how much to mix on subsequent pours.

Alan and Sue Johnson

Bud: After my boat has dried out all summer the California storm of 10/13 left a few inches in the bilge. The rudder holes are weeping water again. There appears to be a hole in the bilge but I cant seem to find it. Do you have any ideas where this keel water may be originating from? I hope not to have to do a fix as extensive as John. Alan

Bud Taplin

Apparently there is a break in the fiberglass covering the ballast, probably in the sump area. Try blowing air back into the rudder holes that are weeping to see if you can find where the water is entering.

Bud Taplin

Thanks for the update on your procedure. I am sure you took care of the problem.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Does that mean I messed up when I drilled through the fiberglass and into the underlying lead to mount the bilge pumps and float switch in the sump area (aftermost in bilge before engine room)?
Should I fill those holes and find another mount for the pumps and switch?
Thanks in advance.

Bud Taplin

No, just put some caulking around the fasteners. Or better yet, pull the fasteners, put a drop of caulking into the hole, then reset the fasteners.
Actually, if you use a few drops of 5200, you will not need any fasteners. Just don't smear the entire bottom of the fitting with 5200, as you will never get the switch off if you have to in the future.

Tom Crank

Even better mount the pump and switch to a thin sheet of aluminum or acrylic so that you can lift it up and clean it when it gets fouled.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Another step forward, two steps back.
Will I ever get done refixing things I thought I fixed already?
Great ideas, thanks. I think I'll go with the plan I read somewhere that suggests, sort of like Tom, using a marine grade garden hoe (or making a facsimile), cutting off the handle and sticking the bilge pump on it so you can lower the spade with pump attached to the bottom of the bilge with the handy handle nearby.
Now, where can I get a stainless steel garden hoe?

John Humphrey

The keel on Sapphire is now encapsulated. Required 13 gal of epoxy mixed with 10 lbs of micro fibers. Then a new fiberglass floor over the keel. Had a lesson on xotherm, even with the 3 large chunks of lead as a heatsink the limit is 2 gal at a time. The bonus is the oppertunity to house clean under cabin sole. http://

Bud Taplin

From a stainless steel garden, naturally.

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