Seam where lead keel joins needs repair

Stuart 28-2

Member II
1988 28-2, Winged keel. The seam is open pretty much all along it. It looks like it is just age and neglect. I tried to use 5200 but the result was not good as the photo shows. It bubbled and sagged like it is just too much volume. One side took whole tube. On the other side I tried to layer it on, each layer a few minutes apart but the result was not any better.
Should I use a smaller volume of 5200 and then something else like fairing compound?
So many different products and ifs and buts, I find it a bit confusing.
The second photo shows one section before paint sanded away and loose and old filler removed.


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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
We had our keel dropped and re-bedded back many years ago. This is a "maintenance" item, on about a 20 or 25 year basis. Altho once it's done and done right it can last for another 30 years. (IMHO)

What we found was that there was some moisture intrusion around the bolts with surface rust on the threads of several. No damage to them. The cause was that someone at EY had not cleaned off all of the mold release parting wax from the bottom of the hull surface so that the sealant could get a good grip. After cleaning up the keel top and hull in slings above it, a lot of sealant was slathered on the the hull was carefully lowered down and the large inside washers and nuts were torqued up.

Dry bilge ever since. (Not counting rain water from inside our keel-stepped spar, which I syringe out weekly in the winters.)

What you do not want is to have water getting in that joint and, in the absence of oxygen, eating into those large SS bolts. This is happened to some other boats and the repair was somewhat complicated.
Do you presently have any visible leakage around any bolt, inside your bilge?

Quite a bit of information on this, in past threads. Here is just one:

And this thread:
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Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
As Loren noted best practice is to drop the keel and rebed the surfaces. If that is not an option and you want to fix that "smile" I would use West G/flex thickened epoxy. You'll need to clean that joint and sand or grind a V shape all the way along the seem and then apply the epoxy per manufacturers specs/directions. I did this spring of 2020 and so far so good. Check out the link and see if you think it will work for you. They are also very responsive to questions/help via email or phone.