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  #1  
Old 09-11-2013
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Iron Keel opinions

Hi

would most AGREE or DISAGREE with the statement:

"Although perhaps not as ideal as a lead keel, apart from expecting some maintenance such as sanding/blasting and re-application of a barrier coat from time to time (at intervals likely exceeding 10 years between), there are no serious inherent problems with iron keels and they will generally last for decades."

overall i'd prefer lead keel. have had iron and composite lead iron in previous boats.

considering a ca. 44 ft boat with an iron keel for next boat.

thanks in advance

Last edited by ArgleBargle; 09-11-2013 at 08:56 PM. Reason: forgot a word
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Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

my only experience was a 1984 Catalina 25 swing keel. The keel showed some rust, but it was still basically the same shape as when it was originally deployed/manufactured. That's after almost 30 years of summers in salt water, and in the hands of previous owners who had her for 3+ years, kept her in the water year round, and didn't maintain her at all. So, I'm not all that afraid of iron keels. Would I prefer lead? Sure. But it wouldn't scare me away either.
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  #3  
Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

I have an iron keel. Each haulout on a 5 year old boat, I've had to spot treat rust. The boat is kept in brackish water year round.

Given a chance, I'd go lead keel every time. Its been an expensive lesson (extra $800-1000 at each haulout)
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Old 09-11-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

Aparrently replacing keel boats in iron is much easier.
In lead the j hook should be melted out and melted back in:

Keel Bolt Replacement | MarsKeel

You can drill new holes and screw in lag bolts but that does not result in a like new solution.

With an iron keel you can often unscrew the old bolt and screw in a new one.

Some kind of impacts can really bugger up a lead keel that may not cause as much damage to iron but I doubt if that unlikely possibility would factor in the decision.
It is the ease of replacing the keel bolts that may off-set some of the extra maintenance of the iron keel.

The biggest issue is that if the boat you like has an iron keel you just have to be willing to maintain it.
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Last edited by davidpm; 09-11-2013 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

Have iron, been experimenting with the best way to reseal it. The factory paint lasts a long time. It's the touch-ups that have to be re-done. Wire brush and then re-apply. Mostly right at the very bottom. I ask for her to be "blocked high" each fall.

Ask me again after the next haul-out.

regards,
Brad
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Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

We have an iron keel, well sealed with an epoxy layer.. I don't have really any seasonal rust touchups and we've had the boat now 9 years. In fact at near 30 years old I want to drop the keel and inspect the studs/rebed the whole thing and I'm going to have to cut through the sealing layer before we can drop it. Not looking forward to that. We've owned 5 boats over the years, 3 had iron keels.

The keel ends up with larger surface area for the same ballast weight, but I think esp if the boat's designed with iron in mind it can be fine. However that's not to say that I'd much prefer lead and that will be a bigger factor in selection for our next boat. The iron is less forgiving if you do strike something, and probably transfers more energy to the hull structure with a greater likelihood of popping tabbing and stringers.

I don't think it needs to be a deal breaker, depends on the rest of the package...
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Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

Other than maintenance, another consideration is weight. Lead is heavier (denser) than iron so a lead keel the same size as an iron keel will provide more ballast.

For example, most Beneteaus’ have iron keels with lead sometimes being an option. I wonder if the iron keel is deeper or longer to compensate?
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Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

I would agree with the statement.

I had an iron keel on a Beneteau 235 I used to own. The boat was a 1992 and I owned it for four years. I treated the keel with POR 15 and didn't have an issue after that for a season or two in brackish water. Other owners reported similar results, with the best results being POR 15 and then an epoxy fairing over top. Prior to the POR 15 application, I had a few rust spots that would appear and need to be treated. Something else to consider is that iron dosen't deform in a grounding as lead can, however it does transfer the grounding force to the boat...which may apply if your cruising grounds are shallow with a rocky bottom.
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Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailpower View Post
Other than maintenance, another consideration is weight. Lead is heavier (denser) than iron so a lead keel the same size as an iron keel will provide more ballast.

For example, most Beneteausí have iron keels with lead sometimes being an option. I wonder if the iron keel is deeper or longer to compensate?
The Beneteausí are designed with iron keel but in some buyers prefer shallower keels.
To compensate for the shallower keel you must uses lead to get the same righting moment.
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Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Iron Keel opinions

Well

It is possible to make and iron bulb that weights exactly the same as lead it will just have more volume

I really like how Beneteau has built there iron keels with the ability to remove ONE bolt at a time and service the hardware VS having to lift the boat off a lead keel to see a problem
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