The keel band in Lugger Angie, replaced in March 2021, was particularly bad. Neither side member had fixing points and consequently they had bowed inwards and were restricting the centre plate.
Angie definitely benefited from this work, she had her first charter season in the South Ionian Sea in summer 2021
This was the start of replacing Angie’s keel band. Angie is a MK1 Lugger dating from the late 60’s, and I would say it was her original keel. Indeed the keel band in essence is meant to be sacrificial, but condition of this one was beyond a joke.
We tried getting the nuts off the bolts inside at keel line to no avail. So it was a matter of splitting the timber and using a bar carefully on the hull to lift it off. You will note the external keel band plate for the rudder stock guide and slot for the rudder blade. So much better than the later models where the rudder stock guide was buried underneath the keel band Iroko section next to the hull and screwed to the hull. Another area for water ingress through these holes the screws made.
What commonly happened was when lowering the rudder stock through the casing the forward point end of the stock had no guide in the casing so it was a matter of jiggling the rudder a little so it would locate in this bronze guide and hence pass through. More often than not the end of the stock would hit the flat exposed upper face of this bronze guide, eventually loosening these 3 screws and leaving two exposed holes for water to get into the aft Lazarette area of the boat.
You will note in Angie’s case we replaced this with a Polycarbonate external guide.
These are our new JLJ keel band rudder guide designs. The one on Katerina in the background is with the bronze guide deeply recessed into the external face of the keel band. Note that our JLJ Iroko section for this keel band is 37 mm instead of the 26 of the Honnor marine originals, so we no longer have two screw holes penetrating the hull. An improvement made!
The keel band forward is our new design, still keeping the external rudder plate design, but now JLJ have sourced a manufacturer who makes them for the company in Marine grade stainless at 5 mm thickness, Plasma cut, so a nice finish and incorporates the rudder stock guide and blade slot. We have them with a slot that will take the MK 1 solid rudder blades at 340 wide. This plate is deeply recessed into the Iroko Keel band.
After removing the old keel band we have prepped, primed and spray finished the hull in its new white hull colour.
This now gets us ready for the fitting of our newly machined JLJ Iroko keel band. The first thing to do is to check the fit. If your keel band was supplied in two or more pieces for shipping, you will need to tape these together for this first stage. The place the keel band in the channel on the underside of the hull.
The first important task is to line up the shaft position of the rudder with that of the new keel band. By moving forward and still holding the keel band in the channel, head to the bow and the end of the keel band where it locates into the stop end of the hull. Here it may need a little easing to the underside edge, this dependant on the shape of your hulls ‘stop end’. Ease where necessary. Check also that the centre plate slot has plenty of tolerance forward and aft.
Having checked the fit, now is the time to bond the sections together into a single length using the supplied West resin and a clamp.
The kit supplied is all you require to fit it:
- One M6 x 80/100 mm long S/S machine screw with nuts and washers at the forward end. The hole for this is drilled through the centre of where the mast sits in the block on the bow floor, it’s the block that has a chamfer down to the floor.
- Close to this will be the S/S eye bolt x8 mm with nuts and washers. This eye on the inside is for the rise and fall tackle for the centre plate. The hole for this is just 110mm behind the first screw and is drilled through the chamfer of the mast block.
- Working aft after the centre plate casing are 2 more M6 x 50/60 mm S/S machine screws, nuts and washers.
- To conclude, the last fixing is in the rear well, at the end of the keel band. This is a 50 mm x M6 S/S machine screw with nuts and washers.
Pic 2. Illustrates the forward Machine screw positions. Note they are recessed into 16 mm blind holes in order to bury the heads and the nut of the eye bolt.
Pic 3. The tube of Bond and Seal provided is used to form a gasket around the edges of the keel band and more importantly is to create a band around the holes in the hull that carry the M6 machine screws. Do not fully tighten the machine screws as you go. At this stage you do not want to squeeze out the adhesive around the shank of the machine screw, but to leave the adhesive cure to form a flexible gasket, then once the procedure is finished tighten them all, pulling down on this seal/gasket. With the forward end of the keel band bolted, support the mid to aft end as illustrated in pic 9 and work back fitting the machine screws into the recessed 16 mm blind holes, they will pull the band down to the shape of the hull, ending with the last machine screw in the aft open well.
Pic 4. The heavily countersunk machine screws of the beaching rails
Pic 5. The recessed 16 mm blind holes for the M6 machine screw.
Pic 6. Lastly using the 4 semi diagonal countersunk holes in the side of the centre board position rails, pre drill with a 3 mm bit into the hull and drive in our 50 x 4 mm stainless screws. These will keep the side Iroko rails of the centre plate case apart. The ends of these screws will appear in the boat outside the area of the centre plate casing.
Do a mat and resin mix and produce a sealant in and around this exposed screw tip.
It will be up close to the base of the case trunk.
These 2 images illustrate the heavier section of the keel band and the neat finish to the hull.
I’m sure there will be comments on the external fitting of the rudder guide! However given that the stern of the boat kicks up at the back, in my experience she goes aground amidships and forward, leaving the stern rising and clear. It certainly has worked in the South Ionian Sea with the charter Luggers; they sail onto beaches and slipways throughout the summer and these rudder guides are not affected.