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.