Hunter 28.5 Keel rust removal

Jun 16, 2016
Hunter 28.5 Ottawa
Hello all,
I don’t know much about boats. I enjoy my boat on a small budget and want to keep it for a long time.
Since I bought it 4 years ago, it had the smile crack and some rust on the keel.
I had some time now and the weather is crappy so I decided to repaint the keel. I saw that as a simple project: grind to remove paint and rust, prime, paint 2 coats, anti fowl and that’s it.

I started grinding and found out that the cast iron is covered by a thick layer of putty/fiberglass/paint.

I don’t know anything about fiberglass and I don’t want to smell the fumes from it.

Am I committed to give the job to an expert or could i go ahead with my initial plan?

If I smoothen the keel well, the paint should be smooth enough to reduce drag for a leisure sailboat like mine, no?

I also think that if the process is fairly simple and cheap, I could redo it every 5-8-10 years. It lasted 30 years the way it was.

Any thoughts?

If it’s okay to do it
Myself, what would be the best products to use?
How do I do the joint between the keel and the boat at the forward part of the keel?

Nov 6, 2006
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
The keel is cast iron .. it needs to be protected with more than anti-foul paint.. the thing you should consider adding to your plan is to treat the keel with something like InterProtect 2000e immediately after grinding/cleaning old paint (but leaving well attached fill compound)..
Some folks use other stuff:

Coal tar epoxy is another primer/protectant that works very well on cast iron.
Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
Do not use the POR15 system. I followed it to the letter last Spring. When I hauled out in the Fall, the rust was back.
I'm a believer now that you need to blast the keel and do what Claude recommends above. There are no shortcuts.
Jun 3, 2004
Hunter 34 Toronto, Ontario Canada
I redid my hull and the iron keel 4 years ago- no rust at all when it was hauled out last fall and no rust bubbles this spring
I stripped the keel with a compression driven "needle gun scaler. Took it down to as close as bare iron as possible. Immediately covered it with a rustproofing paint, then 4 coats of Interlux 2000. I faired it with a 2 part epoxy fairing compound after the rust proving coating. Lastly applied the VC 17 anti fouling. The first years there was a couple of small rust bubbles in the spring. I dremeled them down to bare metal and applied a bit of the fairing compound.
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Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
With cast iron keels, you have to remove the rust and then apply what use to be called Zinc Chromate. If you can find anything that contains that , then apply it as it will do the job to prevent rust occurring. Use to do that with success
Dec 1, 1999
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
Having owned a boat with a cast-iron keel for many years, you learn that rust never sleeps. I tried using POR-15 some years ago and it failed. Or rather, I failed. That is POR-15 requires getting the keel down to bare metal and then washing/etching the metal prior to applying the POR-15. I found that near impossible as I didn't want to spend the time and money soda blasting. As such, I stripped the POR-15, sanded the rust spots as much as possible and applied 2 coats of Interlux Priomon and then one coat of Hydrocoat bottom paint. I found that year after year all I had to do was spend an hour in the spring doing this every year and the keel -- and I -- were happy.