I own a 1963 42í Chris Craft Conqueror (ďSea DateĒ) that is in need of a new keel. The existing keel has developed a Ďrollí, which has increased in severity over the 20 years that Iíve owned the boat. In addition, the keel has a couple of soft spots, and has incurred some compression (pinching) in critical areas during haul-out in the last 2-3 years. The winch men at my club are starting to balk when hauling my boat and it has become apparent that I need to address the problem this winter.
The Sea Date is now safely out of the water for the season, and Iím preparing to lift it off of its keel-blocks using an army of jack-stands and cribbing (forming a make-shift cradle). Once this is done Iíll start the process of unbolting the keel from the boat. My current plan is to replace the existing 3-piece keel with a laminated keel made out of 1Ē thick sections of white oak screwed & glued together using silicone-bronze fasteners and resorcinol. Iím told that this is the technology that the shipwrights used on the rebuild of the USS Constitution. I feel like a laminated keel would be stronger than the original version and would better-resist warping. Iíve considered using other wood species and epoxy, but feel like the hardness of white oak bonded with resorcinol provides the strongest option. Iíd love to hear the groupís opinions on these matters. My goal is to build the hardest/strongest keel possible. Iíve even considered adding a few inches to its height. Note that boat speed is not a big consideration hereÖ This boat is just too big & expensive to get up on plane anymore.
I also have questions with respect to the use of CPESÖ Should I use it on each individual laminate? Will resorcinol bond ok with it? Or should I just use it on the completed keel once itís glued, screwed and bolted onto the boat?
As far as construction goes, Iím thinking of laying up the keel Ďdryí right on (or under) the boat. I live in the Boston area and our cold winters will prevent me from gluing my laminate sections as I fabricate them. I figure I can build it dry over the winter, dismantle it when the weather breaks (around March?), and then glue it all up when things warm up. Iím not quite sure of what product I want to use bed the completed keel onto the boat??? I think I want to avoid something as permanent as 5200. Again, any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide,