Cast Iron Keel rust - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-29-2008 Thread Starter
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Cast Iron Keel rust

Hi All,

I am in the process of negotiating/buying a Beneteau with cast iron keel. During the short haul, the keel was rusty in spots despite being recently bottom painted. I mentioned epoxy coating, and the broker said that would only get me a few years. Does anyone here have experience with rust on the keel vs. epoxy coating? Thanks, Chris
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-29-2008
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A well done epoxy job should last all but forever on iron, if maintained.

Well done means grinding the iron to white metal and rolling on 5-6 six layers of hard epoxy (West style). Fill, sand and paint to taste.

Each year repeat the process for the area surrounding any dings.

All R19s have steel keels and the racers get decades of use out of a properly covered keel (especially after paying for professional fairing...).

PS - that said I still don't understand why a generally good quality builder like Beneteau saves money using steel for keels...very stupido's one of those weird European things (sorry Alex...). several regards...

Last edited by sailingfool; 05-29-2008 at 06:34 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-29-2008
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Cast iron keels are out there, no question, and they do need some extra care.

I agree with SF that if the epoxy sealing has been done correctly it should last a long while as long as you don't break through it - don't hit the bottom!!

If it's never been done, then blasting and fairing followed by a good seal coat will pay dividends for a long time to come. Our boat has an iron keel that has been sealed and so far it's been fine. We have had previous boats that needed sealing and they required cleanup each haulout. After doing a proper sealcoat job, that was the end of the rust for as long as we kept the boat.


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post #4 of 6 Old 05-30-2008
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I stripped and sealed my cast iron keel 12 years ago, it's still looking great. The boats in the water all year and I thought I would need to be doing touch-ups by now but there is no rust at all. The key is using first grade materials and taking as many hours as required to do the job right, and believe me it took many, many hours.
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-31-2008
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European builders use Iron as a major cost savings for them, as Lead is not a prevalent in Europe as here in NA. With that, I have a 23 yr old Jeanneau, and last summer I had to from what I can tell, redo the keel, as it needed new epoxy barrier coat etc after 23 yrs. If done right, it should last awhile.

If you like the boat, do not let this issue scare you.


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I drives me dinghy!
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-05-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks, this confirms my research that I should bite the bullet now and do the work right to enjoy for more than "a few years". Regards, Chris
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