Hull / Keel / Rudder / Tiller

Catalina Direct Discussion Topics / Catalina 22 Discussion Area / Hull / Keel / Rudder / Tiller / Steel Keel Pin
Author Steel Keel Pin
Eugene, OR

Boat Name: Blue Bird

Model/Year: 1973 Catalina

Hull No.

Hailing Port:
02/23/2006 4:16 PM Pacific Time

Hello fellow sailors,

I brought my 1973 Catalina 22ft to the boatyard for Keel Repair. The keel was really loose and I don't have the facilities to lift 500lbs.

So, Catalina Direct has keel kit which includes brass keel pin and stainless steel bushing. The boat will be achored in saltwater.

The boatyard wants to fabricate the keel pin and bushing out of steel themselves. Using steel seems too corrosive for that critical area. It's not like a small boatyard, but is just seems odd they don't use brass/stainless.

I told them to hold off on work until I get some feedback.

Comments welcome, thanks in advance.
Greg Nelson
Rose Haven, MD/Oro Valley,AZ

Boat Name: SOBB TOO

Model/Year: 1975/6

Hull No. 5953

Hailing Port: Deale, MD
02/24/2006 8:21 AM Pacific Time

Buy the CD kit. A steel pin will not be compatible with the keel hangers. The difficult part will be inserting the bushing if your keel hole is enlarged and elongated. Others can give you better advice on that than I can. While you are at it , I'd reccomend replacing the hangers. The new ones you get will be wider and eliminate some of the movement that wears the keel pin. CD also sells some shims that further reduce keel movement. My experience is that it is better to bite the bullet and do it all at once. Then, except for checking the torque on the keel bolts annually, you should feel safe for years.

By the way, the next thing to check are the chainplates on your shrouds. If the eyebolts are the older 3/8 inch ones, replace them as soon as you can. The older ones tend to rust where they pass through the deck and you can't see it. Take it from me that while watching your mast bend into an L and go overboard is exciting it is NOT fun.

Fred Apstein
Gabriola Is BC

Boat Name: Scruples

Model/Year: 1976

Hull No. 95

Hailing Port: Gabriola Is BC
02/24/2006 10:48 AM Pacific Time

I'm pretty sure your yard will cost two to ten times the price of the Catalina Direct kit to make a custom pin, and you'll end up with something that doesn't work as well as the CD parts.

I replaced my pin bushing in the swing keel with marine tex epoxy putty after lots of folks on this list told me they had sucess and no problems for years afterwards with this method. A year later my keel is still fine and tight. West System epoxy with fillers or JB Weld would both work as well as marine tex, I think.

It is very important to clean the metal in the hole so the epoxy sticks to bare metal. Sanding, grinding, filing and general abuse with chisels and small hammers may be necessary. Once the metal is clean, at least prime it with epoxy right away so it doesn't rust. It can start to rust overnight just from condensation.

you only need to clean the hole and maybe two inches around it. It's not a real big job.

DO NOT sandblast the whole keel down to metal, no matter what your yard suggests. The swing keels are very rough and there is a lot of filler from the factory. You can make a small job into a major hassle. This is the voice of sad experience and a big value of this list. You can learn from the mistakes of others.

I would suggest that you power wash the keel or have it done at your yard, and tell them to only remove the bottom paint and anything that's really loose. Then put on a good coat of epoxy to seal it up, then fair the keel with epoxy putty, then bottom paint.

The keel is iron and the bottom paint has copper in it. They must be separated by epoxy or some other insulating coating. epoxy is easiest and maybe best. There are tar/epoxy combinations from industrial paint suppliers that are very good and less expensive than yacht brands. These are used to coat steel that will be immersed in salt water in industrail and commercial applications.

Good luck!
Hull / Keel / Rudder / Tiller
Catalina Direct Discussion Topics / Catalina 22 Discussion Area / Hull / Keel / Rudder / Tiller / Steel Keel Pin