Keel pins snapped

Discussions related to the tiller and/or keel.
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:17 pm

Keel pins snapped

Post by Hamblesailor » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:10 pm

While winding up the keel after a club race this autumn, it was just getting near to the top when it started getting a bit stiffer. I carried on and CLUNK- the keel dropped like a stone- something had snapped :(( . I was sat astride the keel box when winding and can confirm, through the seat of my pants, that the keel actually bounced once when it got to its fully down position.
I got the boat up the beach and got a line round the keel- and then got the boat off the water a few weeks later with no problems- now to fix the keel.

There used to be loads of diagrams, photos etc. on this site of the keel mechanism- but many of these images are now gone. Anyone know where I can see them?

I've had the inspection cover off and can confirm to my relief that neither the main rod thread nor the threaded saddle appear to be stripped- in fact it all looks to be in surprisingly good condition and moving nicely- apart from the small part of the linkage that's snapped.

There is little space in there to see- but it looks like the saddle has a simple linkage beneath it consisting of two flat rectangular cross section rods- one each side. These seem to have at the bottom a rod about 8mm in cross section that goes through them and through a hole transversely through the keel- or perhaps a narrower section of keel bolted onto the back of the casting. It's this bottom transverse pin that's sheared- both ends at the same time presumably. It might have been two pins, one each side- it's quite mangled and hard to see. Perhaps one side snapped months ago and it was lifting the whole weight of the keel with just the pin one side- until that finally snapped?

A few questions:
What is/ are this pin/ pins made of?
Where can I get a replacement?
Should I replace the top pins in this linkage while I'm in there?
How do I get the old one out and the new one in?

It looks like it was some sort of peened over pin- perhaps bronze- there doesn't appear to be space in there for a nut and bolt- will I need any special tools, heat etc?

I also can't see how I will knock it out or get the new one in without removing the main keel bolt and lifting the boat off the keel- which is something I'd like to avoid. It looks like with the keel fully down this pin will not be below the hull line and therefore not easy to knock out- nor does it look like I would be able to perform the repair through the access hatch as the hatch only gives access to one side and might not be in the right place anyway.

Could it just be easier (than lifting the boat, removing the keel etc.) cutting access holes in the appropriate place each side of the keel box, effecting the repair, then glassing up the access holes again? I'm better equipped to work with epoxy, laminates etc than I am the heavy work of lifting the boat, moving the keel etc.

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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:17 pm

Re: Keel pins snapped

Post by Hamblesailor » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:20 pm

PS, I have subscribed to this topic so will be emailed any activity,
So if you are reading this months or a year later than my original posting and know the answers- then please do tell me!
I see this forum has little regular traffic- but I do believe there will be a number of people who are occasionally on here that will be able to help me, and there is nowhere else really that holds the key to this specific knowledge.

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Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 5:37 pm
Location: Cleckheaton, West Yorks
Boat Name: Vega
Sail Number: 191

Re: Keel pins snapped

Post by robvega » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:20 am

Have you seen the articles about keel problems in the technical section of the library on this site?

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Location: Southampton Water, Solent, UK

Re: Keel pins snapped

Post by pmasters » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:21 am

I know this is now an old thread, but as it was invited to be updated, and I have some diagrams, I thought I'd pass this info on:

When I bought my swift, the previous owner was very kind and gave me a load of old swift assoc. articles and pdfs, so hopefully these are useful: ... 2kwdmh0clU ... jFfaUJKUDg ... nc2TUVaXzg ... 1BLZGhMNlk

I've been putting off keel removal for a while, but I think I'm going to brave it before this season. If anyone has any advice, I'm all ears. So far it seems to be:
Keel is very heavy (175-200kg!)
Block the boat up, or get it lifted

I'm guessing to remove it, its just a case of taking the inspection hatch off and disconnecting the lifter, then pulling out the keel pivot bolt?

Are there any tricks I should be doing at this point which would help me when I come to re-attaching it? I'm a bit worried how hard it'll be to line it back up as its quite heavy to be jiggling about. Thoughts?

John Hainsworth
Posts: 68
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:07 am
Location: Poole Dorset

Re: Keel pins snapped

Post by John Hainsworth » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:42 am

My trailer has a sub frame with the wheels attached and the boat is carried on the main frame.
To work on the keel i loosen the bolts attaching the sub frame to the main frame, jack up the trailer until the wheels are free, put in 4 axle stands for security and wheel the wheels out of the way. I then lower the keel using the winding handle, this exposes the fixings to the lifting gear. If I want to remove the keel I lower it using the lifting gear to take the weight, rest it on blocks and knock out the pivot. I leave the top edge of the keel inside the boat to prevent it falling over. Safety is paramount considering the weights involved and a companion is advisable.

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Boat Name: Countdown
Sail Number: 321

Re: Keel pins snapped

Post by storm » Mon May 07, 2018 11:42 am

My keel pin has just snapped this morning.
Can anybody tell me how long the pin should be as I will have to get a new one made?

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