View Full Version : How to block HM with keel?

04-21-2013, 12:01 PM
I recently purchased a 1986 38' Coastal with a keel. There is NOTHING in the manual about how to block and store this boat. It looks like the keel is hollow so I'm hesitant to put the boat's weight on it. The fwd sling point isn't even over the keel.

How are you guys blocking this model boat? How many spots do you block the keel and where do you put the blocks? How many stands do you use and where do you put them?

10-28-2014, 08:26 PM
Just hauled out our 1986 37' aft cabin and blocked it. We've had it for 15 years. About the sling - I removed the original markers because they made no sense to me or anyone else in the yard. I wouldn't want the sling in front of the keel for fear of it slipping off. These boats are back-heavy, so I would move that front sling back to where it catches the keel. In the back, I run the sling about a foot forward from the back of the keel. I suppose you could try to sling it between the back of the keel and the prop shafts, but you don't want to catch the shafts and you don't want the sling half on and half off the back edge of the keel. I did that once and was afraid the sling would rip.

As for blocking - blocks or stands under the two back corners + 3 blocks distributed along the keel + One stand on each side forward. Rock solid. As for the keel being hollow - don't know. I know it is under the cuddy, but not sure about the back. If hollow all the way back - why isn't it open like the front? I've wondered about that keel for years. It keeps the boat on a good line and maybe provides some ballast (not sure). I've heard of other HM's made without it and they get another couple of MPH out of it, but I bet it's more squirrely. I've wondered about the drag caused by the flat front - even though it's slanted.

10-29-2014, 07:17 PM
That's how I ended up blocking mine. Blocks fore and aft on the keel with an adjustable Brownell keel stand in the center. Stands under the back corners, and another on either side up towards the bow.

Regarding the keel being hollow, I've done a lot of thinking since my original post above but it's still a mystery. I'm just itching to bore a 1" hole into and find out. I can easily repair the hole myself but this is low on the priority list so it's going to have to wait another couple seasons. I've been working on a complete engine room refit which needs to be finished first. I did the stbd side last year, this year I'm doing the port side. Then, I'm adding a windlass. Then, some interior upgrades.

Our marina used to be a HM dealer. One of the mechanics who's been there forever said the keel adds a lot drag. My boat will do 29mph with the keel, he was saying without the keel it would do over 35mph. While I'd love to get more speed, I don't want to sacrifice handing by removing the keel. I'd LOVE to have twin 454's, that would be the best of both worlds, could probably hit mid 40's... wouldn't that be a sight!

10-29-2014, 08:47 PM
You wouldn't be in MN would you? I know a guy who as at a marina in Afton that was dealing HM's for a while. I'd love to see pics of what you're doing to yours - we've done a bunch to ours as well. I'm interested in your windlass plans - that's something I've wanted for a while. Getting too old to haul up a big blob of St. Croix mud everytime we anchor out.

Our 305's will never get us to 29 MPH, much less beyond that. I just want to get the damn thing to plane. They're just too small for this boat with all it's extras. I took in the carbs for rebuilding a couple days ago. The shop owner was real interested in my boat and my power issues. He suggested nitrous - wouldn't that be a kick for a houseboat?!

As for drilling that hole - the first year I owned it I went on just such a quest - from the inside. About 2/3 of the way back (in our galley) there's floor access to the bilge. I think I drilled over an inch down through the hull into the keel - hoping to hit air. Then I started to get cold feet and questioned my sanity for drilling an unnecessary hole in the bottom of my boat. I promptly glassed it all back in.

10-29-2014, 09:03 PM
Engine room refit, all thanks to an incompetent surveyor. Check the stringers I said, if nothing else check the stringers. How in the hell could anyone with half a brain miss this? Pics of stbd side, port is next...

I'm in MA, but our boat came from the Lacrosse area.

If you ever blow one of your engines, replace it with a 350 and do the other to match at some point. I used to have a 28' cabin cruiser with 305's and even on that boat I would have liked the extra horsepower. Nitros, ha, that's funny...

10-29-2014, 11:27 PM
How did you know the stringers were bad??? Now I'm worried! That's quite an undertaking. I appreciate the correspondence - not many active HM discussions around. If you know of any, please let me know.

10-30-2014, 11:50 AM
Remote oil filters are lagged to the side of the stringer. I was trying to break the filter loose and the whole bracket ripped right out with all 3 lag screws. I stuck a screwdriver in the hole and was able to push it all the way to the other side of the stringer. I checked the engine lags and a couple of them wouldn't tighten. Drilled a few exploratory holes to confirm my biggest fear.

Thankfully the engine room stringers are separate from the rest of the boat so the damage ended there. The engine room stringers are made up of flat layers of 1/2" thick plywood, while the rest of the stringers are solid beams. My guess is the moisture crept right through the hull over the years. They built these boats with polyester resin which is not waterproof. My theory is the holes (engine mounts etc) in the stringers combined with the engine vibration allowed a 'path' for moisture to travel through them. Being plywood probably didn't help either.

10-30-2014, 02:13 PM
Trying to decide if I want to test my engine room stringers, or live in blissful ignorance! (I'll likely do the former). May I ask what the cost was/is? Mine would be an even greater nightmare with the aft cabin. But I've made a long-term commitment to this boat, so I want to do the right thing. If I do the hull extension, I think I'd move the genny from between the engines into the extension behind the transom. That will make further inspection and maintenance easier in the engine compartment.

As for the polyester resin - isn't that pretty standard? Having heard other problems from boaters about blisters or water infiltration with cored hulls, I've been pretty happy with the HM hull - thick, single layer construction. BTW, do you know of any sources for window parts for these boats? All the little plastic clips are breaking and the sliding windows are getting harder to operate. I'll post some pics soon of various projects.

10-30-2014, 05:32 PM
I'll probably be into it for $10k by the time I'm done; that's doing all the work myself so that's pretty much all materials. But, I did a lot of extra stuff unrelated to the stringers. Just for the stringer work I'll probably end up around $6k in materials and tools. I'll have nearly $3k invested in Seacast alone.

Regarding polyester resin, it is pretty standard. I didn't mean to imply that it's a substandard material. The modern epoxies are supposed to be waterproof but they're expensive and they didn't exist back in those days. I used vinyl ester resin for the repairs which is supposed to be harder than poly, but not anymore waterproof.

These boats are built like tanks. The bottom of my hull is 3/4" thick sold glass. The stringer walls are 1/4" thick solid glass.

10-30-2014, 06:58 PM
That's a heck of a DIY job. Seems like getting the engines out and getting everything out of the way might be the toughest part (yes?) I can see a whole lot of labor, but would never have guessed materials would be so high. Sure looks pretty though. My aft bilge is an ugly mess with no easy access for cleaning (thanks to it all being under the aft cabin bed). If I ever remove my engines, I'll have cut up some of the interior and rig a crane inside the boat with some kind of trolley to get it out a window or the sliding glass doors. Thanks for mentioning Seacast - never heard of it before. Looked it up - may be a useful product some day.