Hunter 326-Bent Wing on Keel

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Jun 15, 2010
Hunter 326 Bronte Outer Harbour
As you can see in my attachments, the port side wing on my keel has been bent from an impact. It is a lead keel and was manufactured locally, but after conferring with the maker I was stunned at the sticker price for the repair. I would also have to remove the keel and have it refitted afterwards.

Does anyone know if there is a method of repair whereby the keel does not have to be removed?

Any advice is much appreciated.



Feb 10, 2004
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
Well, having done this myself, more than once (or twice), I have corrected the bend by brute force. Using a sledgehammer and blocks of wood under the keel, I have hammered the wings back into shape. I think the key is to use many moderate hits vs a few all-out slams. The lead is quite mailable and will slowly go back into shape. Heat is not necessary or desirable IMO.

My only concern for your keel is that the wings may crack at the main part of the keel. I would go slowly with the sledge. You will probably need a 6# sledge to do the job. A lighter one will not impart the amount of force you need. Begin hammering about 4-5 inches out from the vertical keel. That is where it looks like the bend begins. Work fore and aft along the length of the wing. Don't hammer out on the wing tip at the beginning but you may need to adjust the outer section of the wing near the tip after the inner portion is back in alignment. Be sure to support the section of the wing next to the vertical keel underneath with a heavy block of wood or steel plates. As you work out toward the tip, move the supports underneath as well.

Take your time. This job will probably take 2-3 hours. After the wing is back in shape, you can use filler (rated for underwater use) to fair the shape. If the keel is coated with epoxy, you may want to re-coat it before bottom painting.
May 28, 2009
Hunter 376 Pensacola, FL
Why would you be opposed to the application of heat? I've heard of bent wing keels being straightened by heating liberally with a large propane torch (the kind used to melt ice on sidewalks) and then hammering with a small sledge. Lead has a very low melting point, and it doesn't take more than a few hundred degrees to increase its malleability quite a bit (e.g. less hammering). Also, I'm not sure how susceptible lead is to work hardening, but softening the lead with heat should allow the metal to deform without introducing stress cracks or trapping point defects that can cause later fractures. With most metals, heat would be the way to go. I could be wrong because I've never really forged lead alloys, but it would seem that it would help.
Jun 6, 2006
currently boatless wishing Harrington Harbor North, MD
Saw them off

and be done with it. The things look too small to make much of a differance anyway.
Dec 19, 2006
Hunter 36 Punta Gorda

I would not touch it and just leave it the way it is rather than doing worse damage,I doubt that it will affect the sailing performance of the boat and really does not look that bad and unless you are a serious racer doubt that you will notice any loss of sailing performance,try sailing it for a season will tell you if you need to repair.
I knew some one with a 310 Hunter with a bent wing who never repaired it and said it sailed the same.
Feb 10, 2004
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
Why would you be opposed to the application of heat?
The reason that I wouldn't try to use heat is that with the size of the keel the amount of required heat would be huge. The lead will conduct the heat quickly away from the bent wings.

I agree that you only need to raise the temperature a couple hundred degrees, but given the heat conductivity I think that would be very difficult.

I have to also agree with Bill Roosa that the wings are quite small and losing them probably would cause no grief. However I am not a keel designer.
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
I don't know if it is the picture angle, but that wing looks awful small. I doubt you may notice any significant difference in the way the boat may sail. I concur with Rich, take a sledge hammer and bang it back into place.
Jun 15, 2010
Hunter 326 Bronte Outer Harbour
Thanks for the input. I know the wings are small, but the bent wing does make a difference. I guess I can try the sledge hammer approach.

Worse case, it breaks off, I cut off the other one and even it out.

Maybe I could take them off, melt them into a bulb shape and bolt them to the bottom of the keel:).
May 12, 2010
Hunter 376 Baltimore, Md
I had a similar situation on my previous boat, a H320 (same basic boat). The selling dealier clamped to 2x8;s to it, put three guys on the end, bent it down, then hammered it some more, with no heat, as described, and it was just fine.
Oct 29, 2005
Hunter Marine 326 303 Singapore
thomas, why not just go for another grounding and bent the other side as well? ;) Kidding !! After my first hit on submerge rock, all I got from heating & hammering resulted in crack on wing. So to balance the equation, I hit a submerge breakwater (not intentionally) the 2nd time and guess what? it bent the other side. now I've got a mantaray wing keel. looks good too. Doesn't seems to affect sailing performance. ;)


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