Subject: keel paint / welded Centerboard slot.

Sam Finlay (
Thu, 6 May 1999 13:25:42 -0400

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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As a former welder I have a few observations. Welding isn't "forever". There are
lots of ways to undo a weld: drilling, grinding, sawing, chiselling and when all else
fails there's always the cutting torch. I can't quite figure out from
your description how the slot was welded but if I were doing the job I'd take a small
length of bar stock, place it across the slot and tack weld each end. That sounds
like what was done.
A hack saw might work but I'd try to get at it w/ a cold chisel first.
For a *small* weld in an inaccessible place, I've found that chiselling is faster
than hacksawing. Another thing to try is a dremel-type diegrinder with an abrasive
cut-off disk which may be small enough to fit in the slot and slice right through.
Be prepared to buy several disks and no matter what, be sure to wear a face shield
as abrasive disks shatter very easily and chisels can throw shrapnel when you least
expect it. The disks also spray sparks in the direction of rotation so you should use
a wet cloth or equivalent to protect the hull.
Since from your description the board doesn't sound too bad, I'd just declare
victory for the summer and go sailing instead! It'll wait.

Sam Finlay
P-15 Indomitable 1964
Luray VA

Another newbe question... I've been reading the mail and looking at my 15.
Inspected my keel today and found the slot had been welded closed... Can't
galvanize. Plan b... There was a little rust which sanded off easily.
I'll be at West Marine tomorrow in San Diego and I can pick up some paint,
but, would good old Rustoleum work on the keel?

Bill: are you sure? There's very little room to safely weld with the CB in
place, and if there is room to weld, you may be able to get in there with a
hacksaw in a pistol grip or a pair of vice-grips and cut it out. The other
alternative might be that it was welded while removed and then replaced by
removing and replacing the pivot pin. If you haven't already done so, I'd
urge you to take a close look at what actually have been done and how it
could have been done. (for instance, and scorch marks around the leading
edge of the trunk? any gobs of sealant around the pivot pin either in the
wet side or the dry side of the trunk?

Good luck -- dwf

This boat is hull 1075, about 1981. I turned the boat on the side and,
with the CB fully retracted - in the up position - I saw a small weld, what
I would call a tack weld over the slot where, I think, the CB hangs. There
was no damage or evidence of burned or melted glass around the place where
the pin lines up with the surface of the hull. There was a coat of blue
something (- paint or sealer?) on the inner wall of the CB box. I was
unable to shift the CB around in the slot when it was extended in sailing
The CB itself is in very good condition; some surface rust on the leading
edge which came clean with a little elbow grease and medium sandpaper. I
think a pistol grip hacksaw would do the trick. I'm too close to sailing
season now to go through removal at this point. I'll be pulling it to
Camden, MA in 21 days...
I also confirmed that I have no reef points in the main. anybody know a
sailmaker in San Diego?