santalars 9:31pm, 26 January 2008
Has anybody who has a triple keel seen these cracks on his boat?
(see photos)
Do I have to worry about or are these just usual stress cracks.
How are the fins attached? Are they bolted or just laminated?

I can only say that there was definitely no water ingress during the last season.
busy home [deleted] 11 years ago
The only boats I know of where stress cracks are normal are westerly centuars .even then they must be repaired .
The angle of the Achilles fins are much less acute and this damage looks nasty to me. If you subject this fin to a regular sideways motion
ie swell or rough sea .failure would occur Yes even sinking!
Being that the repair is easy I would certainly do it and sleep better!
First clean off all paint etc around the damage and post some more pics.
I dont know If the keels are bolted I doubt it ..Ask Aeolus!!
Skykomish E29 Posted 11 years ago. Edited by Skykomish E29 (member) 11 years ago
They don't appear to be bolted through but I can't remember how Geoff told me they are attached, he said that they are made up of a scoffold type central pole with the moulding constructed around that.
When I cleaned off my antifoul last winter I had no evidence of cracking.
You haven't used a hard antifoul that is starting to come away and this is the cracking? My boat was an aweful mess when I bought her with cracked , flaking antifoul whereit was coming away and caused me some concern when first went to view her until I found that tit was merely the paint cracking and cleaned back the hull was sound.

as Ron Suggests clean off all the paint before worrying too much.
Andrew Curry 11 years ago
As others have said your 1st step should be to take the antifoul off. The Achilles has a clear gel coat below the water line so it will be easy to see whats going on. If you could post more pictures once you have done this.
busy home [deleted] 11 years ago
I can see a black stain in the gell coat I think, Blow to full size .
santalars 11 years ago
Thanks for your comments so far.
I will remove the paint next weekend and will then issue new photos and close up's. As this occurs at both fins I hope that this is the very thick old antifouling.
I can't blow up these fotos - made with a mobile and are full size.
busy home [deleted] 11 years ago
I ment ,,,, go to all sizes ,,,on this photo ie above the pic on this site.
I often do this , Reveals interesting bits!
NormanKlipspringer 11 years ago
When I first looked at Archimedes she had lots of peeling old antifoul between the keels but this pretty well all came off. There were certainly no cracks as in your pictures. I would do as the others suggest and investigate further.
Skykomish E29 11 years ago
I agree it does look worrying, however it must be remembered that the Achilles is unlike other Bilge Keelers in that most of it's weight is carried on the centre keel, whereas a normal bilge keel boat rests on the two "Splayed" fins forcing them outwards and so putting a lot of stress on the mounting.
Unless the fins of an Achilles have been subjected to an impact or unusually stress, there is no reason for them to start coming away from the hull, unless there was a build quality issue, which I would imagine would have come to light before now.
I am not saying that you don't have a structural issue to worry about, but I wouldcertainly explore all other possibilities before calling in a surveyor.
NormanKlipspringer 11 years ago
If the boat is kept on a swinging mooring then there is going to be a lot more stress on the bilge keels than if kept in a marina where there will be hardly any. I know of several swinging moorings where the boat would bounce quite a lot under certain wind and wave conditions, which would cause me a lot of sleepless nights, particularly if the ground is a bit hard.
Skykomish E29 11 years ago
Any swing mooring would give me a sleepless night, and obviously the insurance companies too as this is reflected in the premiums of boats so kept.
I would think the worst possible is the drying mooring, as this must put a lot of stress on the boat as the tide refloats her and the water is still shallow enough for her to bottom out.
I sincerely hope this is just a paint issue and not anything structural. The difficulty I could see is that if the Gel Coat does have a stress crack, how do you tell if it is limited to just the Gelcoat and not the substructure without pretty radical grinding back, and how complex would the repair need to be to maintain peace of mind?
I had a crack in my rudder skeg that I can only assume was from an impact with the ground as the base was damaged too. this caused me a lot of soul searching as to how I could effect a repair, until I realised that the skeg has an internal support and the outer structure is really just a "fairing", I ground it back and filled with marine epoxy, an utter B****rd to smooth back but has held with no signs of further damage.
blueachilles 11 years ago
I would say that any swing mooring should have plenty of water under the keel at all states of the tide; this would apply to bilge or fin keels.

The issue for a boat on a swing mooring is the strength of the cleat(s) at the bow, and of course the strength of your ground tackle.

On Blue's mooring, the chain has a loop in it that goes over the central bow cleat, and the rope strop is then fastened to one of the other cleats on the bow for security.

I would suggest that if a boat can't cope with bouncing around on a mooring (assuming it doesn't actually ground) I wouldn't want to put to sea in it!
busy home [deleted] 11 years ago
I always tie the hand bouy rope (10mm) around the mast for peace of mind, If a cleat fails and the rope goes over the bow it would soon fray away, but having said that I have never seen a cleat come adrift!
90% of failures are due to failed shackles. The cheap ones we all buy are crap . (ask mark) I use tested ones I bought on ebay(2 ton)I think?they come with a certificate yellow code? Also the white cable ties degrade in uv use black or coat hanger wire! I have had all my boats on swinging moorings ,40 years. and have been lucky .but if a bad direction gale is forecast I go into a marina or up river on a pontoon .My insurance has always been around £120 not bad !
busy home [deleted] Posted 11 years ago. Edited by busy home (member) 11 years ago
Blue , hundreds of boats are on tidal moorings inthe Fal hence the popularity of bilge keels, they should be built strong enough to cope with grounding, most are but Its well known that the Centur is prone to keel failure due to the splay, most have been reinforced by now
( the Pandora .Van de stat) bilge would outsail a hurley 22 fin upwind by 10 degrees so they can perform ( I love the Hurley 22 and
have sailed around Lands End in one many times.) but Van de stat could make a livley boat (splinter Pandora invicta pioneer 9 and 10 )
Enough rambling sorry....
NormanKlipspringer 11 years ago
The bouncing I was refering to was of course realted to drying out at the same time as bouncing. If there was plenty of water then there should be no trouble with the keels.
Super Snoopy 050 11 years ago
Snoopy is on drying moorings in the Usk estuary. Springs can be 15 metre range, neaps 6 metre range. Mid tide on the ebb, you can see 4kts on large springs. She sits fore and aft using the standard cleats without any bridles and is in the mud for 50% of her time. While aground, depending upon the wind direction, she either sits perfectly vertical or at at a jaunty 45 degrees.

We've never had any problem (touch wood), even though a Westerly 33 had its port keel ripped off in August last year. Several Centaurs and a Pentland have needed attention - obviously Westerlys don't like Uskmouth mud! Achilles are made of sterner stuff.
santalars 11 years ago
Blue Myth is on a swinging mooring, but there is always plenty of water below the keel.
I'd rather assume that that might have been an issue with one of the previous owners.

I'll check on the weekend the extent of the cracks and will send some more photos.

Even in the worst case I'm not very concerned about a total structural failure as she has had some hard sailing during the last season without any problem.

If the cracks are serious I assume that some additional layers of glasfibre in that area will do.
busy home [deleted] 11 years ago
Yes ,I would beef up the lay up in the area as its a easy job,
use an angle grinder with a flap disc to get back to bare .
inside and out .. six layers inside .two or three out . small bigger bigger and big,!
When grinding run a vacuum and make a tent around the site (plastic sheet) the dust gets every ware. Choose a very warm day with little or no wind.
santalars 11 years ago
Made some more fotos now after stripping the paint and antifouling. I think I have an all clear now. The cracks were generally looking worse due to the brickely antifoul. There are two main components causing the cracks:
The fins are fitted with an elastic sealant which provides an elastic joint. The joint looks tight and seal and there's no need for improvement.
The outer cracks are very minor hair cracks, superficial only, between the original gelcoat and filler which must have been added later.
Further there's no indication of cracking inside.

Also I've made some pictures of my self made plug as I had non last season. The original plug was too massive in my opinion and this one is much smaller and weights approx 2 pounds only; means much easier to store and handle.
For sure it will have to be painted.
busy home [deleted] 11 years ago
Yes looks OK! great, a relief . It did need checking though .
Your plug looks good, you will notice a vast improvment in both speed and feel with the hole filled in. Proper job!!
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