tired keel bolts, iron keel, sister or drop balast? 50 ft wooden

Fellow members, I'm trying to figure away to add another mast to the back of our new 1961 50ft wooden sloop....but in the mean time I have some keel bolt issues. I have talked to three expierenced men and each have their own very logical opinions....one says drop the keel... punch out the old bolts, one says drill the old bolts out.....replace bolts without dropping the keel and the third says sistering is the answer.....going down about 4 inches into the cast Iron keel....now these three gentelmen are the best but I have to make the right decision....would anyone like to be the 4th or 5th or better yet share their expierences with me to help with this decision.
John Jablonowski

Keel Bolt Removal

Blackbird's galvanized steel keel bolts were about 20 years old when I drove them out of the iron ballast. They would not budge when driven by the largest steel sledge I could find. So I made an even bigger lead sledge (40 lbs). They came right out without complaint. They are being replaced with Aquamet. I'll probaly coat them in white lead. If they will drive out, you shouldn't need to drop the ballast. If you have to drill them out you will probably have to drop the ballast. You will need a good set up to handle the weight and to get it out from under the boat, then back under to put it back in. I used steel rollers. Moving the ballast is a one man job with a come along and some deadmen, if you have a good set of heavy steel rollers. I removed Balckbird's iron ballast only because I was replacing the keel timber.

We are in the process of grinding all the old rust off and getting it back under the boat.

Our experience

Our keel is lead, so a little different. We had a combination of keel bolts and drifts. The keel bolts were Tobin Bronze the drifts were also.

Our process was to pound with a big sledge to get the bolts down far enough to cut off the heads under the boat. Then, we pushed the bolts back up through the keel with heavy-duty hydraulic jacks. The drifts were in the forekeel and back in the dead wood. They had to be pulled up and leveraged/blocked in such a way that jacks could be used as well. That was more difficult.

A jack under a single keelbolt could lift our 29 Ton boat so we had to be careful not to do so. However, using the entire weight of the boat and keel was certainly helpful to the process.

Good luck in your project.
Brenda and David

"One can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways." Edith Wharton