I'm Greg and live near Annapolis. I live in a very boat oriented community, but all my friends are power boaters. I decided last year that I want to learn to sail, so I've been reading / watching everything I can get my hands on. I just picked up a tired old Sunfish that I plan to get to know for a while this spring before moving on to a real boat. I;d eventually like to day sail mostly, with the occasional weekend trip. I'll be exclusively on the Chesapeake and its tributaries.
I've come across an 83 Kelt 7.60 that I really like, but have some reservations that I hope some of you may be able to lend some wizened light on. First, here are a bunch of pictures that I took of the boat when I went to see it. As you can see, she has an inboard Volvo Penta MD5C 10hp diesel, with I believe a 120S sail drive, and is a centerboard version. Apparently her current owner was an instructor at the Annapolis sailing school, and from what I can see, she has been very well cared for.
She comes with North Sails Main, 100% Genoa, 130% Genoa, and Storm Jib. VHF, handheld GPS, autotiller, spotlight, all the other standard fare, and years and years of records going back to the original owner. There aren't any offensive odors in the cabin and everything was winterized properly. Sounds great right?
My number one reservation is the keel. According to the broker, the owner said that years ago when he had the original gelcoat removed to add an epoxy barrier coat, the aft end of the keel opened a gap at the hull when they dug out the original putty and the "caulking" they used didn't stick. I wish that I had a better picture of it, but you can kinda see it in the one picture of the keel. Apparently when it's in slings, that opens up to about 1/2 - 3/4". The broker thinks the keel bolts could be tightened, and said the owner told him that it has never been a problem in all the years that he had it. I've read about the corrosion around the table leg on centerboard Kelts, so I hope the pictures I took of that area are sufficient to make an educated guess. The forward sole boards were still screwed down, sorry. I want to know if I should be prepared to drop the keel and re-bed it, or if I should just leave it alone or shoot some 5200 in the gap and call it a day.
My second hangup is the engine and drive. I have no issue with rebuilding either one as I'm quite mechanically inclined, but getting to anything in there looks like a nightmare. I could gain a little bit of clearance if I pulled the alternator off, but not much. There's a small 1' x 1' access panel in the hanging locker behind the head, which looks like I'd need to be a contortionist to make useful. Obviously I'd need to rip out the galley to get to the port side of it. I've seen on other boats where they've added a large access panel to the cockpit floor for just this reason. Has anyone done this on a Kelt? If I could get to the top of everything from the cockpit, I could put that hangup to bed.
On to the little things..
The sheaves built into the mast step don't spin. At least not the ones with any lines in them. I don't see any way to remove them for maintenance either. Is this common? Do I need to worry about the halyard sheaves at the top of the mast?
The headliner is drooping. How big a deal is it to remove / reattach?
Can I get parts for those meissner winches somewhere if necessary? I'd like to just replace them with newer harken self-tailing winches, but that might be a while and I kinda like the originality and "european-ness" of the meissners.
Stupid question.. I don't really understand the super shallow bilge. Is there anything under what I'm seeing under the sole boards or is that the hull?
On that note I didn't see a bilge pump anywhere except the manual one in the cockpit. Does the bilge in the cabin drain to the aft bilge somehow? Has anyone fitted an automatic pump? If so, where?
Is there anything else you notice from the pictures that gives you pause?
Thanks in advance everyone. If any of you happen to be in my area and would care to show off your boat to a total newbie, I wouldn't say no. :)
One of the unused sheaves at the base of my mast is seized, so it's probably common. The other ones still spin though. You could probably lube/clean it. I haven't been able to figure out how to remove them or if it's even possible. The ones at the top of the mast are a different design and I haven't had any problems.
There is really no bilge in the Kelt 7.6; what you see below the sole is the hull. I don't think there would be a good place to install an automatic bilge pump. My boat doesn't even have a manual one. Also, there is nothing I would identify as an "aft bilge".
The headliner on my boat is held with 4 screws and is easy to remove/reattach.
I'm not sure about winch parts, but if they are in working condition now, you should be fine.
I can't comment on much the keel or engine as I have a fixed keel and an outboard engine (in a well). Re-torquing keel bolts is not uncommon, but rebedding is certainly a big job.
Generally, these are very good boats, but have someone look at the keel if you have doubts.
There may be a problem with the photo link you sent. I only see one photo. I did find the ad online and she looks like a beautiful boat.
First the easy stuff:
The winches can be easily rebuilt. See my post from last year on that. I can't recall seeing any parts prone to breakage but if there are it may be possible to find compatible replacements.
I have an auto bilge pump in mine. The pump is beneath the galley sink (I think it's called a Water Puppy) with a hose extending into the bilge. There is an auto switch forward of that. I had to tilt the switch a bit so it would work without hitting the sole. Water from the aft should drain to the center.
Now the hard stuff:
I'm no expert but the keel gap would bother me. If it were my boat I'd do everything possible to close it. So I would have attempted to tighten the keel nuts. There have been some discussions on this forum about these. I believe they are typically covered in something - fiberglass or paint? They should be easily visible after removing the cabin sole - which is very easy to do. So, I would have removed the sole then removed the covering on the nuts and tightened them up. My guess is that they attempted to do this and couldn't get the nuts to tighten. You can bet that there was no gap when it left the factory. What changed to cause the gap? Might be a good idea to contact an expert.
I can't speak to the engine since I've got an outboard. I've climbed into the port sail locker to do a few things so it may be possible to cut an access there.
Best of luck. My 7.60 is a great boat. I've had her for ten years and no regrets.
One more thing. The table leg which houses the cable for the centerboard. Yes, this is a big item of concern. I would be inclined to lift up the sole and check this thoroughly for corrosion. If this fails it will sink the boat. Look for signs of pitting, leakage, etc. I believe mine might have been a retrofit made from square aluminum tubing. Not sure what the original looked like.
I removed this tube entirely and locked the centerboard in the up position. It sails a bit better with the centerboard but I preferred having a more open cabin and not having to worry about it. We used the table a few times after getting the boat then almost never again. If we eat on the boat we eat on deck.
Looks to me like someone has chipped the coating off the keel bolts and most likely tried to tighten them. I think I can see traces of white paint on them. Normally you'd want to have them painted or covered in some way to prevent corrosion. I couldn't see any keel gaps in the photos - but it is sitting on the keel now.
It's interesting that they mentioned that it opens up 3/4" to 1". Sounds like they're being super honest and/or they know you'll be there when it gets lifted and you'll see the gap. I would ask about the bolts. Mention that it appears they've been messed with. Get the full story.
And someone painted the companionway door?! Argh?!?! That should be stripped down and clear coated. That's abysmal.
A note on the bilge. My bilge is usually bone dry. I've got the same boat without the saildrive. If you had a stuffing box you'd have a leakier boat and would probably have more use for a bilge pump. I'm guessing the saildrives don't have the same leak issues. If you had a catastrophic leak then a bilge pump will only get you so far.
Steve- Thanks for your insight. By aft bilge, I meant the space under the cockpit sole. Thinking about it now, that's higher than the bilge in the cabin, so disregard.
Mark - Thanks also for your insight. I hope the additional pictures shed some more light.
I know what you're talking about with the covering that's usually on the tops of keel bolts and it isn't there. My first thought was also that it was removed so someone could attempt to tighten the nuts, but at least from the pictures I took I don't see anywhere where it looks like they cut it away.
As for the centerboard tube, elimination certainly could be an option. If I had the choice though, I'd like to keep it functional. Let me know what you think of the state of the tube from the pictures. It isn't factory fresh, but it doesn't look too bad. I don't have the experience to know what's really bad though.
Out of order reply on that last one (for future viewers).
Mark- I think the white stuff you're seeing on the keel nuts is 5200 that squeezed through.
The compainionway door is shot and will need to be replaced. I don't think that it's original. I'm pretty sure that it's plywood. The handle on it pushes right through the top half with a chunk of wood attached to it. All the paint chips you see around the area are from me taking the door off and putting it back in place. I'm honestly not too big on exterior teak, so I'd probably replace it with something like this. Starboard is pretty easy to work with.
The centerboard tube looks fine. Ideally you'd want to remove, inspect, and epoxy at some point.
One other thing. You can see rust degradation on the keel. This is normal. The paint wears and the keel rusts. It's a PIA to take it down to bare metal and apply a two-part epoxy - and get it to adhere well. I've done it twice, the last time with Interlux (I think) and it's doing okay. There are a couple of schools of thought on whether this is necessary. One is that it's more a cosmetic concern. It's a big hunk of iron and will take a hundred years to degrade to a point where you'd be concerned about it. So, just touch it up as needed. I think I did mine more because it was annoying me.
It almost looks like they put the bottom paint over some rusted areas. If so then that's kind of slack. They might have attempted to sand/touchup before painting. If so then it still looks a little slack because rust is already coming through.
Yeah, the bottom job isn't super fantastic. I can't believe that they painted the whole sail drive, including the zinc. The yard it's at probably did the bare minimum with the cheapest paint possible just to check that box and make it look good for the sale. Given your thoughts on the tube, I think what I'll do is use it for the season as-is, then next year get it hauled at a different yard that I trust more. They can take the bottom back down to the epoxy, address the keel gap, fair the keel and the bottom, then do a high quality non-ablative bottom coat.
I'm definitely going to pull the sail drive though and replace the main diaphragm. If you aren't familiar, there's a big round accordion diaphragm that seals the sail drive flange to the hull. They have a lifespan, and I doubt this one has ever been changed. There's also a lower seal that goes around the skeg and is glued to the outside of the hull that's completely missing. Going back to gaining access to the engine compartment, the port sail locker has a big stainless fuel tank mounted in it on this boat. Taking that out would probably be easier than cutting a big hole in the cockpit floor, but I don't know how much it would buy me. Adding a cockpit sole hatch would certainly simplify maintenance (which will make me more apt to do it). This is what I'm talking about:
Yeah, that hatch idea looks like the way to go. Shouldn't be too much trouble to install.
I really wouldn't worry too much about the hull. As long as the paint adheres properly then you're good to go for two or three years. Then just get as much of the old stuff off as you can and put on a new coat.
The saildrive should have antifoul on it but it may require a special kind. Although if they painted over old paint then it should be fine. You never want to use antifoul paint with copper over aluminum and possibly other metals. Yep, they should have known not to paint the zinc!
I really wouldn't worry about fairing. That's just extra money for not much gain. Sailboats are slow. Another 0.3 knots isn't going to do you any good.
We have a tendency when we buy boats to want to attack every problem - especially if we've got some mechanical skills. Best to just chill a bit and enjoy the boat. I have a friend who bought a boat almost three years ago and hasn't sailed it yet. He's completely redoing it. The work he's doing is beautiful but there's got to be a balance. :)
I went back and looked at it again last night and stuck my head into every nook and cranny I could. I took a ton more pictures and have them shared here.
I'm less worried about the keel now that I've taken a better look at it. The gap between the hull at the aft end is smaller than I remember, and it's aft of all of the bolts. I'm not even going to worry about it for now, but monitor on next haul out.
After looking in the port cockpit locker again, I do see an access panel for the engine that I didn't notice before. This should be sufficient for access, but I may still put a metal hatch on the cockpit sole just to make it easier to check the sail drive oil.
I also found a few issues which should be fairly easy to address. Both aft pulpit tubes are coming away from the toe rail. Looks like someone tried to weld the stainless tubes to the aluminum toe rail at some point, which obviously failed. I should have looked under the toe rail there but forgot. I'm guessing the pulpit has a threaded hole at the bottom which accepts a bolt from under the flange. Shouldn't be too big a deal to fix.
The port chainplate appears to have one of its two thru-deck bolts broken. The head is on top, but nothing coming through the headliner.
The water pump is shot (the broker told me as much) but looks like it has been for some time and has rusted out the bellhousing.
Looking at some of the records, it looks like the previous owner was told at some point that the motor is a MD11C, but it's most definitely a MD5C (maybe B, but probably C due to timeframe). I doubt that this has caused any trouble, but it's interesting.
Motor mounts look shot as well.
Sail drive bellows looks pretty old, as expected.
There's no holding tank that I see, unless it's under the head. It looks like the head is plumbed straight to the thru-hull. I'm pretty sure that's a big fine waiting to happen. The "seacocks" for the head are garbage home depot PVC ball valves connected to plastic thruhulls.
It looks like the mast step is missing something on the forward side. Should there be a bolt or something there? Doesn't look like it would attach underneath though? Maybe for a spinnaker pole downhaul?
There is substantially more water in the bilge now. Unknown where it's coming in from, but it's somewhere for sure. We've had a ton of rain lately, so I'm not surprised. I'm glad it isn't more.
There are pictures of all of the goodies that I found on board as well. How about that GPS??! I wonder if it's Y2K compliant lol
The tiller pilot looks basically brand new, but is probably almost as old as the boat.
I would have liked to have pulled out the sails, but it was muddy and getting dark. I didn't see the storm jib anywhere.
The broker is coming back from vacation tomorrow and I told him that I'm ready to start talking numbers. If you see any other issues that might be a huge problem, let me know before I make a mistake.
Looks like you're doing a super thorough job of examining the boat!
Could be worth torqueing the keel bolts. I believe we had a discussion on the forum at some point on possible torque values.
I had an aft pulpit come loose. From what I recall the bolt sheered off. I re-tapped the hole and put in a new bolt. It's held for a number of years.
Almost seems that there could be a holding tank behind the head? Seems to be a false floor there. I may be mistaken. I'd be very surprised if it was plumbed to discharge overboard but you never know. Good you're looking for that because, yep, that's a big fine.
Looks like you've got a different mast than I do. I don't think mine has that feature where you can put a bolt or something through. Wonder if that's to raise/lower the mast? Maybe it's only for that purpose?
I've had water come in through the cockpit and leak down into the bilge. I believe it was melting snow. I can't recall if I figured out exactly how it got in.
This may also be on your radar but you might want to consider cutting out much of the bulkhead separating the v berth. I cut mine out maybe nine years back and haven't had any issues. Left probably six to ten inches around the edges for structural support.
There's a Kelt at my club that has the mast attached to the step with bolts both forward and aft. Mine is only attached aft as there is no attachment point forward on the step (though the mast base does have it).
FYI, the aft bolt also serves as a pivot point for lowering/raising the mast as well as the attachment point for the boom vang.
I am new to this forum and just saw your post.
Re: Kelt 7.6 bilge pump. In the first year I had the boat in 2018, I installed a Whale low-profile automatic bilge pump in my Kelt 7.6. (This pump probably saved my boat from sinking that year. See my Water in Bilge post for more detail about that episode). There really is not much room under the cabin sole, but the low-profile pump just fit. This pump has some kind of sensor built in so that you do not need a separate float switch. i routed the hose and 12v wire out through the aft end of the cabin sole to exit just under the sink's foot pump. Not very elegant, but it works, and the hose/wire are not too obtrusive.
Thanks for the info about the Whale pump. I'll take some measurements and see if it will fit somewhere in my bilge. I have a bit more going on in mine due to the centerboard tube, wire, blocks, and surrounding structure. Maybe it will fit next to the tube/table leg.
In other news, I got the engine access hatch installed. I'll make another post about it.
No problem, Greg. As you know, the Kelt has a very shallow "bilge" and the low-profile Whale automatic pump did its job when the boat sprung a leak while we were absent the boat. Our Kelt does have a manual bilge pump operated from the cockpit, but the inlet
hose is behind the head. There would have to be a considerable amount of water in the cabin before the pump could "suck".
Your cockpit hatch looks very robust. I wish I would have investigated such a hatch when I owned a CS27 with an inboard diesel. It would have spared me much body contortions when servicing the motor or drive shaft! My present Kelt7.6 has a Yamaha 9.9 outboard
in a well. During Fall haul-out, the yard boys winch out the motor while unstepping the mast, service and store the motor over the Winter, then lower it back into the well for me in Spring. As a "senior" boater, it saves me a lot of work. Cheers.
From: ClownTrigger11 [via Kelt Sailboat Forum] <[hidden email]> Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 8:05:01 AM To: Rick Bera <[hidden email]> Subject: Re: Potential Kelt 7.60 owner, Maryland
Thanks for the info about the Whale pump. I'll take some measurements and see if it will fit somewhere in my bilge. I have a bit more going on in mine due to the centerboard tube, wire, blocks, and surrounding structure. Maybe it will fit next to the tube/table
In other news, I got the engine access hatch installed. I'll make another post about it.
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