SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Iron Keel opinions Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-15-2013 06:04 PM
Re: Iron Keel opinions

I don't like the idea that a boats floating, and my surving perhaps, is dependent on a heavy piece of anything bolted through the floor.

A well designed lead encapsulated keel is best. (escept perhaps for racing) Anything else is merely an economical substitute. What price economy. Only you can tell.
09-12-2013 07:51 PM
Re: Iron Keel opinions

That's pretty much the way it is with iron - Beneteau didn't do anything special there.

The bottom line here is lead is the best but iron is perfectly acceptable in most cases and even has some advantages, like the aforementioned bolt removal.

It's also a lot cheaper - that's why the euro builders use it so much.
09-12-2013 06:58 PM
Re: Iron Keel opinions


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
09-12-2013 02:36 AM
Re: Iron Keel opinions

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 Beneteaus’ have iron keels with lead sometimes being an option. I wonder if the iron keel is deeper or longer to compensate?
The Beneteaus’ 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.
09-12-2013 01:32 AM
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.
09-12-2013 12:44 AM
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?
09-12-2013 12:29 AM
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...
09-12-2013 12:01 AM
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.

09-11-2013 10:23 PM
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.
09-11-2013 10:04 PM
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)
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome