The Rot Doctor


Subject: 42' Trojan (keel replacement)
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006

Just thought you might wanna know...

Having ordered a bunch of your products and keeping your emails in mind, we began work on my new keel in early May. Now keep in mind that I have no woodworking background, am barely able to tie my shoes, and had no one's knowledge to draw upon since wooden boat builders/repairers here are non existent.

We slowly jacked up the boat (it weighs 27,000 lbs) using 6 pump jacks, 7 screw stanchions, two pickup truck loads of blocking and 2 20' staging planks, attempting to lift everything uniformly without deforming the hull or breaking any ribs. The old keel was held on with a series of bolts about every 4' and had a joint at 20'. It was not glued on and with the use of a reciprocating saw, a couple of pry bars and courage, we were able to detach it although only 3 of the attachment bolts were accessible from the inside- the rest had to be cut.

I had tried unsuccessfully to obtain a piece of oak 3" x 12" x 20' so I elected to make one myself using 3/4" high quality oak boards from the local lumber yard. I couldn't get anything longer than 14' so I laminated up a new keel using West epoxy, 4 boards thick held together with carriage bolts instead of clamps and cut to the shape of the old keel. Having glued it up, I coated it all with CPES. It looked great.

The keelson was in surprisingly good shape - no rot or deformation - but the seam with the garboard strake was separated in many places from the keelson by up to 1/2 inch and hed been filled with years of applications of 5200. I cleaned out all of this, swathed it with CPES and filled these gaps with west mixed with your sawdust. We then used your wood epoxy glue thickened with sawdust and jacked the new keel into place, securing it with through bolts back into the hull where accessible and 12" lags where we had to cut the bolts. We let this sit for a couple of days before lowering the boat back onto the new keel. To my delight, there was no sign of deformation anywhere. My only disappointment being that once it went in the water, no one would see the product of our efforts.

Nevertheless, jacking the boat resulted in some deformation along portions of the chine and caused some separation of the hull from the transom. Try as I might, I could not pull the planking back onto the transom, so this was soaked with CPES, filled with west mixed with sawdust and finished with your epoxy putty. Then a coat of elastuff was put on the joint. In addition, a section of the chine had to be replaced which I did, once again filling in any seams with west followed by two liberal applications of elastuff.

I then went beneath the hull and ground down any seams I could find to bare wood that were wider than the thickness of a piece of poster board. This was then coated with CPES followed by elastuff, and elastuff on all the chines and around the perimeter of the transom.

Lastly, I had a problem with a sunken area along the starboard walkway on the side of the boat which over the years had deteriorated and sunk, allowing rain water to flow into the boat and created rot near the stairway accessing the salon instead of flowing over the side. Also, small cracks had opened up around the perimeter of the rear deck allowing rainwater to flow in to the aft stateroom causing additional rot. I took the depressed area on the side walkway and filed in the depression with floor leveler, followed by a liberal application of elastuff and also applied elastuff to the rear deck with a width of around 8" in the area where rainwater collects. Both of these applications solved the water infiltration problem.

The boat now sits at my dock and is ready to go into service this week for charters, cocktail cruises and personal pleasure. It is leaking less than it has since I bought it in '96, and yesterday afternoon, I received the ultimate compliment when a customer looked at the boat, looked at me, and said "Is that made out of fibreglass?"

Many many thanks for all your advice, assistance, and most of all, the quality of your products.

Leigh T.
Greenville, ME


I do remember your original post and the difficulty of the keel problem you had to repair. You were thorough and careful and I'm truly happy that it went so well. I also sincerely thank you for telling us the outcome of your efforts and the success our products had in helping to restore your boat.

Have a good season!