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twofish81 11-30-2007 08:46 AM

Iron Keels Versus Lead Keels
Dear all,

Can anyone please advice what are the pro and cons for both Iron Keels and Lead Keels? Besides the highmaintainance cost of iron keels, what are the advantages for iron keels?

As I know iron price is 6 to 8 times lower then lead, and regarding about the environment issue now a days, most of the people is moving away from lead keels to iron keels.

I'd really appreciate the advice from you guys that have so much experience.

thank you

Clarence Leong

JohnRPollard 11-30-2007 09:12 AM


You pretty much covered it. The reason iron is used is that it is less expensive, which to the best of my knowledge is the ONLY advantage to iron. But it's a false economy in my book. Iron can be a costly nuisance/headache to maintain in the long run. Also, for an external ballast/bolt on keel, the iron keel will require more volume (thickness) than a comparable weight lead keel, so there will likely be diminished performance at the same draft and/or the designer will have to resort to keel appendages like wings, etc.

I think, however, that you are mistaken about the move away from lead. Most quality builders continue to use lead for ballast and would not even consider using iron.

Faster 11-30-2007 09:59 AM

You should do a forum search, this topic has been discussed extensively before.

Another disadvantage of an iron keel is its reluctance to absorb impact. Lead is soft enough to give to a collision with a rock or whatever, often becoming misshapen... but that absorbs quite a bit of energy which means less potential damage to stringers, tabbing etc in the area behind the keel. The Iron keel has no give and transfers all that energy quite (too) efficiently.

However job one is to avoid such obstacles, and living with an iron keel is not so bad in these days of effective epoxies for encapsulation, which greatly minimizes the maintenance issues.

Also you should avoid posting the same question in two forums.....

sailingdog 11-30-2007 10:27 AM

Any reason you posted this exact same topic twice????

twofish81 11-30-2007 10:55 AM

Thank you for all the valuable informations. How can I end this post and stick to one as Im very new to this forum. Sorrry for posting twice for the same topic.

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