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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-27-2003
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Iron Keel

Anyone here have a Hunter 23? I am looking at one and have been told it has an iron keel (bulb wing). I don''t want to getting into alot of trouble and extra work. If the problem is rust how big a job is it to fix? Will applying an epoxy barrier solve the problem after the keel in repaired? In short HELP....

Jim
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Old 08-28-2003
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Iron Keel

Iron keels are not really the problem that some peple would lead you to believe. I don''t know about the Hunters (are they an encapsulated keel or exposed? I suspect encapsulated in fiberglass) but I have worked on a 70s vintage Shark 24 that had an exposed steel keel with a bulb at the bottom. A regular painting with bottom paint was all it took on a yearly basis. Yes, there were rust streaks by the following year and a bit of wire wheel grinding was necessary.
On a fiberglass encapsulated iron keel the iron is protected until you hit something hard enough to crack the glass. Then, just like an encapsulated lead keel, you have a problem. Water will get in and it must be dried before repair. his could take some time (weeks?). With iron it would be critical to ensure that it was dry before sealing it up. With lead it isn''t quite as serious.
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Old 08-28-2003
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Iron Keel

Use Pettit''s Rustlok Primer. It is tough stuff. If you get it on your hands you will wear it for a while. But; it will stay on the keel and stop the rust.

Walt
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Old 08-28-2003
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Iron Keel

I am fond of using a zinc rich epoxy for this purpose. Also the Gougeons (WEST System) have an excellent technique for epoxy coating an iron keel.

Jeff
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Old 08-28-2003
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Iron Keel

How big a job it is depands on what fixing it means to you. As mentioned in other posts, doing an annual cosmetic cleanup is not too onerous, just understand that the keel back in the water rusts again almost immediately leaving you with a high-drag appendage.
If fixing the keel means having the equivalent of a lead keel, the price is a prep job of perhaps 20-50 hours to grind down, prime with epoxy, fair and sand, and then cover with another 4-5 coats of epoxy. Do a good job and don''t hit too many rocks and the keel job will be good for many years.
I did a full job with the West system products on a Rhodes 19 (they only come with steel keels) and was very happy with the result, for perhaps 20 hours of work.
I also had a Beneteau First 30 with a steel keel which only got annual patching, and I said "never again" and have avoided the same ever since.
IMHO if the prior owner didn''t deal with this situation, you should expect that he/she didn''t deal with other maintenance issues which may not be so apparent - if the keel bothers you, you probably should move on as there are plenty of quality 23 footers that didn''t cut corners and at this point don''t cost much more than boats that did.

Good luck.
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Old 08-28-2003
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Iron Keel

Came across some funny stuff going on with an iron keel in a marina once. It seems that electrical (mis)wiring in a neighboring boat caused an accretion of iron "filings" on the exterior of a cast iron keel on the side nearest the electrical current. This was happening through the paint. Upon hauling for inspection, the keel was covered with "droplets" that looked like leeches, which when touched (and the surface tension broken) broke open into powdery rusted dust that fell to the ground. Scary. Don''t think this would happen with lead, or in a marina with better wiring, but it''s something to be aware of.
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