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Small keel repairs, worthwhile?

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I've got a new-to-me X-34 with a beautiful VC Offshore race bottom with a few imperfections.  This includes a lobster pot gouge on the leading edge of the keel and a handful of spots where ocean life attached itself.  

I understand ultimately I will need to grind out these spots, fill with vinyl-ester resin (for an X-Yacht), fair, repaint and burnish.  This will be all new to me so far from routine and a little intimidating.  Also no quarts of VC Offshore so I'd be in for a $350 gallon.

I'm wondering if its worthwhile for this level of maintenance.  I want to keep the bottom in top shape, but maybe I should wait a year or two until the problems get a little more significant(?)

Also, anything like 'bondo' for keels to fill the lobster pot gouge on the leading edge?




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ok so first off, you can use epoxy resin, you don't have to do vinyl-ester for your repairs

second, I've used system three quikfair to fill pot gouges. you can use it above or below the waterline, it can be sanded in about 4 hours, so you can get a few layers on in a day if necessary. it sands pretty well, and it stays goopy enough to shape.

third, no you can't get vc offshore in quarts, but you can get black widow in quarts. scuff the vc with 120 grit and paint with black widow - totally compatible and you can burnish the same way. don't be surprised if you decide to do the whole hull with BW since it actually works as an antifoul paint.

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55 minutes ago, Tack nazi said:

I used a burr on a drill, sanded and used marine tex. After it dried, applied barrier coat and bottom paint. Repair has lasted three years.

round carbide bit works like a charm, I have a 1/2" one that works well for this

1 hour ago, F_L said:

"Bondo for keels" = 3M Premium Marine Filler

Good stuff but expensive.

wear a mask when working with this stuff...   less hardener vs more hardener, is better...

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You may want to inspect those holes up by the keel joint more closely. On the Xboats where the keel joins the hull there is a small slot and the keel slots into it. There is then a sealant ring that runs around and forms an exterior seal in addition to the sealant at the top of the keel around the bolts.  I’m not sure of the X34 keel construction but on my 38 the top half is cast iron and the bottom shoe is lead. Last year when we hauled I had a very similar looking gouge with a small amount of water that drained very similar to the lines you can see of dried water in yours. When I removed that sealant ring I was able to see that what was really happening was a small section of the cast iron had been exposed to the sea water where the sealant failed over time and the pressure from the rust then pushed the paint off like what your seeing. 

Its a pretty simple fix to pull the sealant, inspect and grind off any rust, prime, fair and reseal. Im also part of the Xyachts owners group and a bunch of other folks had had a similar fix over the years. 

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Thanks all - lots of great suggestions 3M Premium Marine Filler, black widow in quarts, burr on a drill...  maybe still time to get some done this fall even.

SurleySailor, your comment about the exterior seal and the X-Yachts construction made me quite nervous.  Yes, the X34 has a iron and lead keel.  This doesn't sound simple at all! :)

15 hours ago, SurleySailor said:

Its a pretty simple fix to pull the sealant, inspect and grind off any rust, prime, fair and reseal.

I will have to investigate this further, but I think not this year.  Is the sealant ring replaceable or is it all caulking and fairing?  The joint between the keel and hull is really very well formed.  Does this all need to be removed and replaced?

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