Westsail 32 - Keel & Rudder Crab Pot Line Preventer

The keel shoe/preventer that extends over the gap between the keel and the hull on a Westsail 32 has proved worth the time and effort to build and maintain it.  It gives us Peace of Mind when sailing through waters that are loaded with crab pots and when tidal currents case you to drift backwards over your anchor line.

This is the third and we hope the final time that we will have attached a crab pot line preventer shoe to the keel of our Westsail 32.  There was one on the boat when we purchased it but it was lag bolted into the bottom of the keel and it became loose.  On one of our routine haul outs we glassed over it hoping that this would keep it snug and secure.  It lasted two years and then on our last trip to the Bahamas we lost it.  We were anchored in the Ragged Islands just North of Duncan Town and the winds shifted in the night and the anchor became dislodged.  Before it could get another bite we went aground on a hard rock shelf in a falling tide.  With the help of a fellow sailor we were able to dinghy the anchor to a deeper sandy spot and kedge Mary Rose to safety.  During the process we later realized that the freshly glassed preventer was ground off the bottom of the keel.

During our most recent haul out we had a new preventer fabricated that fit the aft end of the keel like a shoe and the tail extended past the rudder then bent up at a 45 degree angle and stopped short of hitting the rudder.

The shoe was fabricated out of 1/4 inch 308 stainless steel and I had the welder attach two short lengths of pipe to one side before drilling the attachment hole so we could use them to make sure our holes lined up when we drilled through the keel to attach it to Mary Rose.  It was a Rifle Barrel concept and it worked perfectly.  We then cut the tack weld that were hold the aiming pipes.

After a couple of test fits and minor adjustments we were ready to drill the holes through the keel and attach the foot. 

After the foot was securely attached the excess length of the 1/4 inch bolts were cut off.   We used 3M 5200 to protect from water penetration into the holes by filling all the voids and around the holes we drilled.  The next step was to mix up some epoxy and fair the edges smooth so it became a integral part of the keel.  After the fairing was complete we gave it several barrier coats to seal it all up before applying the bottom paint.  We hope that this one will stand up to the abuse that it takes when in marginal anchoring conditions.  We will let you know.

Captain Don Montgomery

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