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Old 04-24-2002
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How do you fair a keel?

Racers talk about fairing their keels because they want them to be the optimum shape for the best boatspeed. They spend hundreds of dollars on templates, and then hundreds more on epoxy and microballoons to fill and sand until the shape matches the templates exactly. (The owner also provides several cases of beer for the sanding party- but not too much, because he wants a good job done, too.) Your boat probably doesn''t need such exotic treatment, but you will want the keel to be as smooth and slippery as you can make it, without going crazy. This will mean filling in any cracks or dings you come across with the microballoon/epoxy mix and sanding them down smooth, prior to repainting the keel. Make sure you use the fairing compound filler with the epoxy, not the structural filler. The first sands down easily; the latter takes forever. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask to avoid too much contact with the epoxy.
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