Jaques, the number of replies to your questions is probably a good indication of how often Sandpipers lose their keels. I don't have first nor second-hand information about a 'Piper losing it's appendage. There was a post on this forum several years ago about a boat dropping its keel at the boat ramp. I don't think the details were ever revealed.
Of all the things to worry about, losing a keel is probably well down the list (well below accidentally setting off your car alarm, but still above winning a million dollars).
Hello Jacques, I know about a case. A friend of mine once lost his keel. It simply broke free from the screw for some reason. Luckily David from CL boats could provide for a new keel to him and everything was fixed.
The only real danger of loosing the keel would be by inadvertently removing the big nuts that hold the screw and the keel attached to the keel case. Just be careful when you lower the keel and stop turning the mechanism as soon as you feel it is locking. Take a look at it and you will understand what I mean.
Thanks for the replies. It sounded strange to me that a keel would fall off but I wanted to be sure just in case.
This occurrence would be extremely rare, more likely due to lack of maintenance or over forcing it. At the top are 2 nuts on the keel screw shaft tightened together, with the lower nut having a locking pin, both above the mounting plate.
I head stories of some abuse of the keels hitting rocks and bending the screw but none of these ever detached.