Keel to Hull Joint

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Postby Guest » Tue May 22, 2007 11:04 pm

I'm still quite new to the various J/80 ownership issues and topics and had a question about the keel to hull joint. My boat, hull 54, has developed a small crack in the gel coat on both sides of the keel at the hull joint. The cracks begin about 3" from the leading edge and are 12 to 18" long.

Do these cracks suggest a problem that needs to be addressed, or they largely cosmetic? In either case is there a recommended approach to dealing with them?

Thanks!

Don

[Posted by: Don Sorenson
]
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Postby derek_jackson » Tue May 22, 2007 11:09 pm

are these cracks at the bottom of the stub? If so, no biggie...pretty common... just check your keel bolts and make sure the tension is good. If the crack is occuring right at the hull, you should get it looked at by a professional.
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Postby crazy » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:18 pm

Don,

what was the final action on the hull cracks?
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Postby Guest » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:04 am

Just reading an article about an older J80 (#45) that recently lost its keel 9 miles outside of San Francisco Bay. This is the second old J80 that has dropped its keel, the other was at Sag Harbor NY a couple of years ago. It's possible that this latest event was caused by hitting something. My older boat (#82) had developed stress cracks in the sump. They were repaired, but it still makes me nervous that the keels have fallen off two boats.

[Posted by: Bob Lemaire
]
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Postby ewpatterson » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:58 pm

Below is the story about the incident from Latitude38. Scary stuff. Thankfully both are ok. I also do shorthanded coastal races outside of San Francisco Bay. This hit a little too close to home. All information regarding J80 keel problems / maintenance would be much appreciated.

When longtime Sausalito resident and friend of Latitude Dave Wilhite was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004, he moved to Bellingham, WA, to be close to his parents while he waited to die. Thankfully chemo did its job and Wilhite, 51, is in full remission. "Three months ago, my doctor told me I'd die from getting hit by a bus before I died from leukemia," he told us last night. "I can't wait to tell him I almost died in a yacht race."

Wilhite says he'd been planning to do BAMA's Doublehanded Farallones Race since January. Since he doesn't own a boat on the Bay, he asked his old friend Peter Truce of San Rafael if he could borrow his 1994 J/80 Heat Wave. Truce readily agreed and Wilhite began preparing for the race. "This is a tough race," he said of the nearly 60-mile course around the Farallones and back, "and I never took it lightly." Indeed, he was meticulous in his preparation of Heat Wave and himself, putting together safety gear, working on the boat and recruiting an excellent crewmember.

Wilhite met Dave Servais, 24, while racing on Puget Sound. After Servais moved to San Diego to pursue his goal of being a professional sailor — he's a professional rigger and has taught at J/World — the two kept in touch. When it came time to choose crew for the race, Wilhite immediately contacted Servais, who immediately said yes. "We've only known each other a couple of years," he notes, "but we have really great communication and sail well together."

As noted in the lead story, for most racers, the DHF was a total bust. But a handful held on, including Wilhite and Servais. "I'd spent too much time and money on this race just to bail out," Wilhite said. So the pair stuck it out with a group of five or six other boats until the wind filled in. On the way back from the rocks, Wilhite reports wind in the low-20s with gusts to 30. A little higher than forecast but not dangerous.

"By a little after 8 p.m., we were beam reaching under jib and a reefed main," Wilhite recalls. He noted the waves were 12-14 feet with a fairly long period between, a fact the Coast Guard confirmed, though they put the wind speed closer to 40 knots. "Dave (Servais) was setting us up on a wave, reaching across it, when we heard a whuump," said Wilhite. "The helm turned to slush, the boat slowed and the wave we were shooting broke over us. Then we heard a cracking sound like a tree falling over — that was the sound of the keel ripping off."

The boat immediately turned turtle, submerging the pair, who were tethered to the boat and wearing PFDs. Wilhite had a short tether while Servais was attached with a long tether. Once the boat settled and they popped up, Wilhite realized his tether was keeping him too close to the water so he pulled out the knife he had stowed in his pocket and cut himself free. "It was weird not to be attached to the boat," he said. "Dave was holding onto the rudder and there was nothing else to grab, so I held onto the lifelines underwater. My hands are really cramped and cut up today."

It was then that they noticed why they had flipped — nothing at all was left of the keel. "It ripped off at the root," Wilhite said. "The only thing sticking out of the bottom of the boat was the bilge pump." He says he has no idea why the keel fell off — "It's not something you're prepared for" — saying there was no evidence they'd hit anything. Some wonder if it's possible they hit a large sea mammal that was moving in the same direction, but the question quickly becomes irrelevant when you're holding on for your life in the North Pacific.

Just moments after getting their bearings, the duo realized a Moore 24 — they have no idea which one — was screaming by about 100 yards away. They yelled but went unheard. "My first thought was, 'Oh my God, we're going to die.'" Instead of panicking, the two experienced sailors discussed their options. They had a knife and a compact but powerful waterproof LED flashlight that Wilhite had stowed in his pocket. But without a way to communicate, things would turn ugly fast.

Wilhite knew there was a waterproof handheld VHF in a sheet bag in the submerged cockpit. "I was presented with a choice," Wilhite said. "I remembered a line from Shawshank Redemption: 'Get busy living or get busy dying.'" So he took a deep breath, let go of the lifeline and swam back under the boat!

Let's pause for a moment to let that sink in. In 12- to 14-ft seas with 40-knot winds, this man with a pair of cojones the size of Texas and Alaska combined, let go of a perfectly good boat to swim back under it. If you're looking for a modern-day hero, look no farther than Dave Wilhite.

Miraculously, the VHF didn't fall out of the sheet bag when the boat flipped. Once Wilhite resurfaced, Servais, who'd managed to pull himself mostly out of the water, took over communications with the Coast Guard, calling a mayday around 8:23 p.m. Servais told the Coast Guard their approximate location — eight miles from the Gate — and that they were near a couple of Moore 24s. The pilot boat California was near the scene and began searching. Two USCG rescue boats and a helo were dispatched as well.

The crew of California were first to spot Heat Wave, guiding the rescue boats to them. "I was watching the helo work a grid with a spotlight coming right at us," Wilhite recalls. "I turned around and the pilot boat was right there. I wasn't going to wait, so I swam over to them." It took a couple throws of the LifeSling but Wilhite was ultimately pulled aboard California "like a wet seal." One of the Coast Guard rescue boats plucked Servais from the water a minute later. The time was 9:15 p.m.

"When I taught sailing on the Bay years ago," Wilhite recalls, "I told my students they had 45 minutes to live if they fell overboard. I was in the water for more than an hour." He credits wearing high-tech gear and calming himself down for saving his life. "After I realized I wasn't going to get on top of the boat, I just hung out and conserved energy."

Wilhite also commends the Coast Guard and crew of California for their amazing rescue efforts — finding a capsized, keel-less, dark blue, 26-ft hull in big seas eight miles offshore on an ebb tide in the pitch dark. Both Wilhite and Servais suffered hypothermia — Wilhite's being more serious — but were treated and released from the hospital the same night. Both are back at their respective homes, no doubt telling their story to many relieved friends and family. There is no word on Heat Wave's whereabouts, though Wilhite reports it was insured.

"This was the second toughest contest of my life," Wilhite says. "What's ironic is that I wanted to do this race to prove to myself that I was alive. It would have been sad if I'd died, but I've lived a good life. It wouldn't have been a stupid way to go." For those of us listening to the radio on Saturday night, and for those who know Dave Wilhite and Dave Servais, we can say that we're beyond thrilled that it turned out the way it did.
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Postby Guest » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:10 pm

Two boats have now lost their keels. J Boats promised a full investigation after the first one, but apart from the promise we have heard nothing. I'm amazed that the forum is not more active on this topic. If for no other reason than your boat's value is dropping as fast as those keels into the deep.
J Spot
Hull 103

[Posted by: Nigel Beale
]
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Postby crazy » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:11 pm

J80 Owners,

I made several calls to qualified yards today to get the real scoop as to how to determine which boats are in trouble.

All you who have grounded or dropped your boats should get professional inspections. All you who have cracks around the hull to keel joints on the outside or the inside should also get inspected.

In the sling, push on the keel hard and look for movement. I have seen big keels move by doing this. Not scientific but it is telling.

Today USA 151 went through inspection with flying colors. No cracks inside or outside of the sump. No hairline cracks at the trailing edge of the keel to hull joint.

Most will tell you we have sailed the heck out of 151 with no groundings and she seems to be built for the task.

Bulk head intrusion is another story but soon that will be bullet proof as well.

On to heavy air and possibly a speed record in the 80.

See J80 downwind at swiftsure 2008, good little Utube.

As far as I am concerned it is a boat specific issue for now, not a manufacturer error.

Crazy Ivan
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Postby crazy » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:21 pm

J80 Owners,

I made several calls to qualified yards today to get the real scoop as to how to determine which boats are in trouble.

All you who have grounded or dropped your boats should get professional inspections. All you who have cracks around the hull to keel joints on the outside or the inside should also get inspected.

In the sling, push on the keel hard and look for movement. I have seen big keels move by doing this. Not scientific but it is telling.

Today USA 151 went through inspection with flying colors. No cracks inside or outside of the sump. No hairline cracks at the trailing edge of the keel to hull joint.

Most will tell you we have sailed the heck out of 151 with no groundings and she seems to be built for the task.

Bulk head intrusion is another story but soon that will be bullet proof as well.

On to heavy air and possibly a speed record in the 80.

See J80 downwind at swiftsure 2008, good little Utube.

As far as I am concerned it is a boat specific issue for now, not a manufacturer error.

Crazy Ivan
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Postby Guest » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:40 pm

Upon reading on lost keels I wish to ask for comments on whether it is normal for J80 keels to flex if pushed on, when boat is laid on its cradle (with its keel free). Mine, (1995 US built) always flexed considerably, and keel-to hull looks solid and no cracks visible.

[Posted by: Bill Hunter
]
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Postby crazy » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:23 pm

I have not been able to push on mine yet, but will. That would concern me.

CI
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Postby kos » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:05 pm

Anyone know how tight the keel bolts need to be. I am thinking there is a foot pound measurement for this or do we just tighten as tight as we can?

kos
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Postby wharris » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:39 am

Hi,
Will from Waterline Systems here.

We are picking up the ball on customer service for the J/80.

Obviously keel issues are on everyone's minds, ours too. It is impossible to give 100%, take it to the bank advice over the internet, but we can give some general guidance.

In response to Bill Hunter: As a general rule, no your keel should not flex. Again, it's impossible to diagnose your boat over the internet, but if I were you, I'd try to determine what is going on.

shoot me an e-mail:

will@waterlinesystems.com and we can set up a call and investigate a bit further.

In response to kos:
We have fastener tables online at:

http://www.waterlinesystems.net/servlet ... %2C/Detail

It is a free download, and includes the ASTM torque numbers. It's tempting to think that the tighter the better- but that's not necessarily true.

If any of you have questions about your J/80, email me and I'll do my best to get you answers.

Will Harris
<a href="mailto:will@waterlinesystems.com
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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:09 pm

I'm the original and sole owner of hull number 70. Last night while reading this forum, someone posted that his early J/80 had a 3/16" gap between the stringer and the keel sump. Apparently the stringer had no contact with the hull in some areas and was being held in place by the tabbing. They found this while working to reinforce the sump, and no cracks were showing on the tabbing nor on the sump. That post is now gone what gives? Given the history of sump problems with J/120's, J/105's and J/109's what is the J/80 Class Association going to do about this issue? It's awfully quiet in here.

[Posted by: Antonio Mar%ed
]
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Postby mjolner » Thu Apr 09, 2009 1:17 pm

Antonio,

I was the individual who made the post about my sump, as neither the yard that was doing the work, nor I, were sure that this issue was related to the keel to hull joint issue, I started a separate thread. It is still at

http://j80.org/discus/messages/5/854.html?1239135162 , which is still available in this forum.


I know that I had one post removed once, for alerting other members about someone who was selling sales on this web site. I accepted his counter offer, within several minutes of getting his email, and he sold them to someonelse several days later without having the decency to tell me about it. In any event I thought that all my posts were still being deleted and have tried not to say anything that would run afoul of the moderator.

I am not knocking the boat or J Boats, it was something that was discovered by a qualified yard, which is part of a J Boat dealership, and I wanted to let as many people as possible know that this existed on my boat so that they may consider whether or not they want to look for it on their boat. I have to believe that this was a production issue, as there was no cracking or other indication of stress in this area.
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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:52 pm

Sorry for the confusion, I thought I've read the post on this thread. Robb you are right, your other thread is alive and well.

[Posted by: Antonio Mar%ed
]
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