Photo 4


Over the last several years water has leaked into Helene’s forward cabin. The amount was relatively small – more annoying than anything else – but something was not right. Everything pointed to the sand keel and what was beneath it, so in the autumn it was removed in its entirety. The screws holding the sand keel on were all shot, and the wood around them was black and badly degraded. I used a 25 mm Forstner bit to bore out around the failed screws, and then went for the rest of the degraded wood by cutting a ‘trench’ along the whole centre line. I cut this using a chisel, and cleaned it up with a Dremel router attachment (its final dimensions were 30 mm wide and 20 mm deep). The bored holes were plugged with Sapele dowel glued with epoxy, and the trench with Sapele sticks again glued with epoxy (no screws). The sticks were about 4 feet in length, joined with half lap scarfs. The next step is to install a new sand keel.

  • Photo 1
    Photo 1
    Forward, sand keel removedPhoto 2
    Photo 2
    Bored holes and trenchPhoto 3
    Photo 3
    Plugs (screws provide temporary handles)Photo 4
    Photo 4
    Trench ready for fillingPhoto 5
    Photo 5
    Sticks epoxied into trenchPhoto 6
    Photo 6
    After sanding

One thought on “Centre line repairs

  1. Jim,
    Seems a very robust repair. Nice job.

    I had a similar (but considerably worse) problem on A1. I wonder how many other Atalantas have certre line/sand keel leaks? I’m pleased to see that my methodology largely follows your example.

    I have put my faith in epoxy including fixing the sand keel to the hull. As the leaks were due to the degredation of the numerous securing screws, I wanted to do away with any sort of fixings which might later deteriorate and allow water ingress.

    The metal keel band will be attached to the sand keel only, using short half inch screws so that there won’t be any ‘holes’ through to the timbers beneath the sand keel.

    I was thinking of writing up a fuller account for the bulletin.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.