Repairing bottom of keel - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 03-23-2007
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Repairing bottom of keel

It appears that the underside of my fin keel has lost its gelcoat covering, perhaps after a grounding last season. It's a rough bottom and the metal keel is exposed, too.

The ballast is cast iron, so I doubt it's a good idea to leave it exposed.
I want to sand it down, coat it with a layer of epoxy, and fair it smooth.

Any words of wisdom? I thought I'd ask BEFORE I start!
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Old 03-23-2007
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if the keel/iron is exposed ie; not covered with glass and gelcoat then you just have to clean it and refinish. if as you suggest you lost your gelcoat and it sounds as if you do have glass damage with iron exposted you must grind away the glass until you find clean dry metal before you can fix it. if you don't the odds are that you will not get good adhesion and the repair will failin the near future. if you are down to the metal you may consider kevlar as an outer layer over the glass as this will/should protect the glass from any future grounding if not severe, especially if you use epoxy to saturate it.
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Old 03-23-2007
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I'd second the use of kevlar, rather than just fiberglass.... however, you will probably want to use a finish layer of fiberglass, rather than kevlar, as kevlar is a bitch to finish... it tends to abrade when you sand it and it can be hard to get a really smooth finish with it as the exteriormost layer.
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Old 03-23-2007
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Sanding the keel and coating with epoxy sounds good. But if it were me, I would add fiberglass & epoxy to the keel. I would fiberglass over the exposed metal. Metal being exposed isn't a good thing.
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