becook

Looking for keel assembly drawing for Columbia 30 '72-'73 Bill

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I have a '72-'73-ish Columbia 30, allegedly hull #135. It came with an assortment of documentation, some labeled for a C30; probably not original. In the owner's manual is a drawing for the keel assembly, which they say is cast iron. On my boat, it is lead, as verified by the boat yard when I had it hauled out in Moss Landing, CA.

 

My keel bolts are rusty and so are the channel plates they go through. I did have some work done on the keel, but in retrospect, maybe should have done more while it was out on the hard, (like maybe drop the keel and replace bolts.) The keel has a steel plate on the outside of the hull (now epoxied and glassed in) and this makes me wonder if the keel had been replaced at one point. This construction seems inside-out. Normally the steel plate would be on the inside of the hull, no?

 

Old owner from back to 1988 contacted, says no, keel was never off when they owned it. There are some older receipts from boat yards and an older survey, in which they make note of rusty keel bolts and even had some of the SS nuts replaced on them. I had a survey done when hauled out this past spring, he said they need some help.

 

I had a guy who specializes in drilling and tapping and installing new bolts while old bolts remain in there take a look at the pics. He said I shouldn't sail the boat in anything higher than 5 kt winds, but it's OK to motor it around. (Gee, it's not as fun to sail if there's only 5 knots or less blowing...) The boat is down in Moss Landing, we sail it out front of the stacks there, watch whales, maybe go fishing, try not to go out if it's more than 15 knots.

 

Some say these old Columbias have keel bolts that look hideous, but might be OK. It would be nice to have some feedback from the SA community. Y'all don't hold back, I see.

 

I have some pictures of the work done to the keel when boat was out. Old epoxy around steel plate was removed, cleaned, new flexible epoxy put in, fiberglass over, then barrier coat, then bottom paint. I have questions though...more like why was the steel plate put there in the first place? The pictures are too large to post. I will have to dumb them down. If you are curious and want to see them, I can email them to you.

 

Looking for the drawing is only a long shot. Talking to another Columbia owner that has had some similar issues would be even better. Anyone?

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I joined this forum today after reading of the similar issues with your c-30 boat.

 

Hope this helps. I had similar worries with the keel on my 1972 C-30 hull number 036 which I purchased in 2015. I contacted another forum's membership and got really lucky in that a response (one of many) cam back from a chap who actually worked at their Californian plant alongside the very production line my boat came off.

 

I also contacted Vince Valdes, son of Dick Valdes who was the builder back in the day and Vince sent me the keel diagram which he unearthed from their archives.

 

I have since managed to purchase all of the blueprints I needed from another website whose name I can provide for you if required.

 

Back to the issue though.

 

My keel had a horrid crack running longitudinally along the starboard side just around the fairing of the keel to hull area (the curved portion). My boatyard figured this was simply due to hull flexing and may need to be done occasionally as a matter of course. The bolts themselves looked quite bad but were covered by the nuts which looked equally bad, so it was hard to tell just how bad it was.

 

I lost many nights of sleep worrying about my keel falling off as well, just like you probably have.

 

We had the boat hauled out for a few months that year and did lots of upgrades and repairs including grinding out the cracked are, filling with epoxy and finally glassing it over to a smooth finish again. The fellow from the forum who worked on Columbia's production line gave me the courage to go ahead and take a look at the keel bolts whilst the boat was out and just as he had found with his Catalina 30, once he had removed one bolt, he discovered that the bolts cleaned up quite nicely and were not so bad after all. I went ahead and had my boatyard do this and took photos of the before and after to prove the work was done. Surprisingly, he was right and mine did not appear as bad as they looked, once cleaned up. My boat does not have channel iron as shown in the drawings but has 1/4 inch thick galvanised steel plates 6 by 6 inches square at all 9 bolts. The forward end of the keel has a transverse plate just ahead of the mast in front of the door to the head.

 

If you want to email me directly off the forum you can do so at barbara_foster@telus.net

 

Here is the drawing I got from Columbia Yachts in Costa Mesa, CA

post-129159-0-51501800-1486153569_thumb.jpg

post-129159-0-88393500-1486153571_thumb.jpg

post-129159-0-09395600-1486153573_thumb.jpg

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Becook please Please email me your keel work pictures and I will try to dumb mine down and add some more. It will be obvious which are the before and which are the after shots ! LOL

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I think the before & after from my Columbia 43 will top youse guys. ;)

 

post-95343-0-58245000-1486168948_thumb.jpg

 

post-95343-0-51659300-1486168964_thumb.jpg

 

As bad as the before looks (and was), the bilge was dusty dry.

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Wow! This is very interesting, especially the diagrams. Now I understand why there was rust along that keel-to-hull seam. And yes @ogre, there were many nights of lost sleep over this situation. Not to mention sailing like that was especially nerve-wracking, wondering if the keel was just going to fall off at any given moment.

 

@SloopJonB...OK, you win! Those are pretty shot!

 

Turns out, ours was not as bad as we thought they would be. They look pretty horrific when you first notice that the nuts are totally rusted. We sailed the boat from Moss Landing Harbor, CA to Monterey Bay Boatworks over in Monterey's outer harbor. They did a fantastic job of cleaning up the bolts, replacing the nuts and steel backing plates, and slobbered a fair good amount of grease on the nuts and bolt threads to coat, and after 2 years now, so far so good.

 

We did find, that on our boat, someone had improperly routed the bilge line, so that when in following seas, saltwater was actually coming back into the boat, via that hose, and thus filling up bilge area, and of course this spilled over into the keel bolt area. Well, it became real obvious after that discovery, why there was always water in there, and why the nuts were so rusted. It has remained mostly dry after the repairs and re-routing of the bilge line. (Someone had neglected to put an air loop in, which allowed water to run freely back into the bilge.)

 

If I can figure out how to post pictures, I will do so.

 

Thanks so much for your reply!

 

 

 

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Looks just like my setup - I guess Columbia did all their boats the same way around then. The rebate in the hull and the wide flange on the keel make it a very strong joint.

 

You should be good for more than another 45 years because I don't think Columbia painted their 'floors'

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Columbia lead keel on the 30 was poured around a steel backbone. This in turn was epoxied to the hull and the chanelling and bolts were called "Channel bolt backup" on the drawings. I have heard that no Columbia has ever lost a keel - If true, I hope this is still the case ! Hopefully this is not "alternative truth" LOL

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A 43 lost its keel at the dock in Sausalito. Presumably the fasteners got worse than mine and it just fell off one day. The owner was aboard and heard a muffled thump (as it hit the bottom). He went below and saw 10 little geysers shooting up. The boat didn't roll over, the water ingress was stopped, the keel was raised and reattached and everything was fine.

 

Better to catch it prior to all that though.

 

There are lots of stories about Columbias sailing without keel bolts because they were bonded so well and so forth but they are urban myths. They used a white goo of some sort that stayed completely flexible for decades - mine was over 30 years old when I pulled it and the stuff was still white and completely pliable. No idea what it was but it was good stuff.

 

It didn't remotely come close to holding the keel on though - just a tenacious sealant.

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My first Austin repair shop was behind The Columbia dealer. I have replaced all the nuts on at least a dozen Columbia 8.7, 8.3, and 9.6

For some reason some fruitcake decided to use good old sorta like stainless only really shitty nuts.

 

The damn things were at the bottom of a very deep dump and some were downright inaccessible

 

I have checked up on most of them from time to time as most of the boats are still on the lake owned by folks who know I have taken care of them since 1980

 

One 8.7 has a cirrided but so damned far down and below a small opening in the sole I had to get creative.

The. Lot sticks up a few inches above the corroded but.

I found stainless washers for two inch bolts and stacked those over and around the nut. When the stack was taller than the nut I added washers for 1 1/2 , 1 1/4. 1" and 3/4 " bolts. Then I installed a new nut on top of that Christmas tree.

 

It has been over thirty years and every time I put theboat on my trailer I tug on that bolt with a big wrench to

Be certain it is strong

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columbia 45.

About to launch, keelbolts bad.

 

Been on the hard since I bought boat 2.5 years ago.

Keel bolts were bad and unattneded to by previous owner.

I cleaned up bilge and have kept it dry, but it seems air humidity has worsen the corrision, even after covering all metal with rostoleum....not a very good idea....

(ps im pretty new to this but learning)

 

I see beecook and sloopbJon has done recent keelwork....pretty impressive...

Would love to get in touch and discuss over phone or such but I dont know how that works in the forum. Or if someone knows someone that does or has done something like this...

 

anyways.

 

Builder of boat at columbia plant, who owns the yard im in, said 16 months ago that the bolt would prob hold and that he hadnt heard of any columbia loosing its keel...

 

Now as im approaching a launch and revisit the issue Im getting second thoughts....and rather do something about it....i pict mine look as bad as SloopJonB's...

 

The right thing to do would of course be to take out old ones and go back with fresh stuff, which it seems wouldnt necessarily mean a droppin of keel, since it appears that it would be possible to do from inside cabin. What are your thoughts on that? What did you use to get bolts out?

 

My plan be was to rent a magdrill and try to drill an oversized hole, put a new stud an epoxy it in and put new stringer, next to old stringer.

 

Has anyone done anything like that, that is reenforcing keel with new bolts, leaving old corroded ones where they are?

 

Has anyone had a keel drop while at sea? or marina?

 

Thanks beforehand

 

Jon

 

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I didnt see SloopJonB's last mention of keeldrop. Nice story...and scary at the same time...impressive he didnt roll over...thanks for sharing that.

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PM me and I'll give you any advice I can,

 

You should pull a pair of studs and check the state of the keel threads before making any move to drill new ones. If you do have to drill, I'd be inclined to oversize the existing holes to 1" rather than sistering new ones.

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Thanks for your response. My number is 5045152990. Im on cst so its late. Pls call at yr convenience. Id kove to hear all you know about the bolts...and fixing them.

 

Best

 

Jon

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Was more thinking in line of stacking washers and nuts as governail describes...anyone done that? Im trying to get an idea of the method...thnks. :-) j

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Consider this - Use at least 1.25" silicon bronze threaded rods if possible with matching nuts and oversized washers. 4 may be adequate in addition to the old ones you are planning to leave behind.  Clean up as best you can then use purple heart encapsulated in epoxy and painted in epoxy to back those rods. If you do that - your keel bolts will last 100 years and there is no worry as the shear strength is 20,000 x 4. It will be 1/3 more over stainless ones but well worth it. Once set - there will be no ever need to tork them as many think they must.

The approach - make a large form with a pre-bored thick block to 1.3" or matching the bolts which you will want to use. next position and clamp into place securely. as it will allow for a clean drill with very little drift. Take your time and use kerosene liberally as lube so your sharpened bit does not bind (in lead it will want to very quickly) so make shure your clear the bit every 1/2 in or so in your bore. The solvent will evaporate and not leave any residue for the epoxy once done. you can blow out the residual lube with a reverse shop vac and a tube - make sure you air out and have a fan running for ventilation. If you chose to even more clever - you can pocket out the keel and place nuts into keel - that way it could be removed or checked in 25 years. The real take away is to take your time. Take your time. Take your time.  Count on 5 hours to complete the 4 bore jobs. you'll be happy with the results and will save you thousands plus outlast nearly every other part of the boat. 

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If I had to do it again I'd use titanium - you can get Ti "ready rod" or "Allthread" and get it cut to length. Costs a bit more than even bronze but you'd never have to think about keel bolts again. The difference in cost is significant on a percentage basis but in actual $$ it's not that much - particularly in light of the rest of the costs in doing a keel remount.

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Thanks all for you input. Black Jack, how do you pocket out the keel? 

Again apologize for my ignorance. thanks beforehand. j

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I am bit late to this thread as I recently joined, but has anyone with a Columbia 30 actually have a cast iron keel? I think that the segment in the owners manual that states Cast Iron doesn't apply to the C-30, but to other models. Anyone know anything about this, or want to state what your c-30 keel is made out of?

I have really bad corroded bolts and about to sister in new bolts in between the current ones but not sure if the keel is cast iron or lead.

Thanks much!

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55 minutes ago, searooster said:

I am bit late to this thread as I recently joined, but has anyone with a Columbia 30 actually have a cast iron keel? I think that the segment in the owners manual that states Cast Iron doesn't apply to the C-30, but to other models. Anyone know anything about this, or want to state what your c-30 keel is made out of?

I have really bad corroded bolts and about to sister in new bolts in between the current ones but not sure if the keel is cast iron or lead.

Thanks much!

Most Columbias had iron but I'm not certain about the 30. If you won't be pulling the boat (so you can see if it's rusty) I'd get a powerful magnet and put it in the bilge to see if it sticks.

If you have iron, forget sistering the bolts - pull them and check the threads in the keel per post #13.

Have you asked on the Columbia Yacht Owners site? It was an active group when I had my C-43.

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Thanks Sloop! I ordered the brochure and some drawings, and it says that the keel is "steel-on-lead" . I'm not sure what that means and haven't been able to get a clear explanation by googling it. Does it mean that the keel is made out of steel but covered in lead? On Post #2's picture/drawing they mention a "Steel backbone", I'm not really sure what this exactly means either :/ 

 

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I vaguely remember that - it's a steel plate "web" hanging from a steel top plate that retains the keel bolts. The web piece has large holes drilled in it and the whole thing sits in the middle of a lead fin - like they suspended the steel structure in the mould and poured the lead around it. More "lead on steel"

Or something. :D

The most chronic problem with old Columbias is the keel bolts and backers - they used plain steel and it gets pretty corroded. Fairly easy to replace and not all that expensive.

Here are pics of what they looked like in my 43

 

8a These actually held the keel on!.jpg

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SloopJonB- Looks like I have the same situation on my  71 C34 (#91)  Metal on the channels is flaking off...real ugly. Wondering about having the yard replace the channel plate during the next haulout (this winter).

Did you do the work yourself  or a yard? Wondering how much this is going to put me back... as doing it myself is scaring me...sounds of dropping keels are un-nerving...

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I did it myself - sort of or mostly. I had the keel dropped for trucking from Cali. Once here I had it sandblasted and coated with epoxy resin - I later filled & faired it with talc thickened epoxy. Had the yard weld up a temp cradle for it and chased the bolt holes with a bottoming tap - the threads were still good.

I had the attached hardware cut from S/S and electropolished. Installed the studs with some anti-seize to preclude galling and then had the boat lifted over it. Put a thick layer of 291 on it and they dropped the boat on it. Went onboard and installed the backers and double nuts.

Hardest part of the job was filling & fairing the joint - big gap because of the rebate the flange sat in.

Lots of work but no special skills required. Obviously a fair bit of contracting out because of the weight involved and the S/S cutting & drilling. I think all told it was under 2 boat bucks - maybe 2 1/2 but that was 15 years ago.

You can do it and save a lot of money. Also you get a skill that most don't have - who among us has remounted a big keel? :D

More pics to follow

 

8 These actually held the keel on!.jpg

8e New keel hardware.jpg

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