This comes from Joel Potter the boat owner not Joel Potter in any capacity regarding my
professional work with my colleagues at AMEL. Sorry, my lawyer insists on this.
Sorry for the delay on this post. Clients intervened and I misplaced it. Just today I
was reminded by a patiently waiting friend that I had yet to post it.
The most important thing to consider when repairing/replacing the keel coatings are as
Select a well known and respected brand name for all the component elements and DON'T MIX
any part with components from another manufacturer. This is particularly important when
employing solvents/cleaners, thinners, bulking material, catylizers, and fairing
compounds. To do so is almost always a recipe for disaster. Use epoxy materials. Do not
Read the instructions. Read them again. And again…Instructions are there for a reason
and each brand has it's own quirks. Be sure to understand the entire process completely
from start to finish before you begin. Just good common sense here. Sorry…
When considering to repair or entirely replace the coatings on the external iron ballast,
consider age as well as condition. Ten to fifteen years, on the average, seems to be the
life span for the epoxy coatings in warm Caribbean water. Colder water is not as harsh an
environment so you can count on a few more years generally.
Buy a small amount of epoxy and solvent of the brand of your choice. Sand a well attached
area of the present keel coating to remove the bottom paint/antifouling only. Heavily
saturate a shop towel with the chosen solvent and secure it firmly to the exposed keel
coatings. Keep an eye on it for spontaneous combustion in hot/humid areas (ask me how I
know this!) Mix a small batch of epoxy and spread it on the present keel coatings (after
sanding off the anti-fouling) fairly thick about 3"x 3" x ¼". Have a beer. Have another
one. After the solvent has evaporated and the epoxy hardened, look for bubbling or
lifting around the edges. Go home for the evening.
Next day, scrape firmly on the solvent soaked area and the new epoxy "patch". Are the
original coatings solid? Any evidence of loss of adhesion or bubbling? If so you have
two choices. Try the same process with another brand of replacement materials or remove
ALL the coatings on the iron keel before replacing it all. If your coatings are near the
end of their life expectancy, this last suggestion is usually for the best overall
However you remove the original keel coatings remember, ALL THIS STUFF IS POISON. IT WILL
MAKE YOU WISH YOU HAD DIED IF IT DOESN'T KILL YOU. Wear a plastic toxic exposure suit,
and an appropriate respirator, eye protection and foam ear plugs. Gloves are essential.
All of the epoxy coatings that have proven to work effectively have two things in common
in the preparation phase of the iron keel. These are:
1. The keel should be sanded/grinded/soda or sand blasted until ONLY
BRIGHT SHINY iron is exposed. No residual coatings or corrosion
is to be tolerated. The iron should look like silver.
2. From the time the iron keel is prepared to it's bright shiny state, you
have at best a matter of a very few minutes to get the primer/sealer coat
on the bright metal. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT
OF THIS REPAIR. If you wait more than a couple of minutes, rust
begins at a microscopic level where you can't see it, but it is there. This
will cause the spread of this rust/oxidation once the iron is coated and
anti-fouled and will greatly reduce the life of the repair. I had one
unfortunate acquaintance who sand blasted his keel in the afternoon
and coated it the next morning. It was good material from International
and it all, and I mean ALL came unattached in three weeks time. I
always prepare and coat an area of about 1' X 3" before moving on to
the next section of keel.
I digress here but this is important. Your AMEL keel is IRON. Not STEEL. There is quite
I try to use all materials, including bottom paint/anti-fouling from one manufacturer.
It's easier to get a satisfactory resolution to any eventual problem when all fingers
point in one direction.
Good luck. Don't forget the respirator…
AMEL 54, Hull # 14, HOLLIS
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]