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Southwind II - Keel Bang Fix

    This tip submitted by Bruce Humphrys

    Southwind II is moored in a slip which has a bracket between the "sea-side" ends of the piers about 5 feet underwater. Hence, if I leave the keel down when in the slip, I tend to forget it and catch the bracket when getting underway. So, I leave the keel up (1979 C-25, swing keel). As with most swing keel C-25's the keel bangs if the boat rocks. Also, the keel bangs when extended. The two modifications shown here cured both problems.


    I purchased four plexiglass circles, 5" in diameter, 1/4 inch thick from a local plastic place. Price, about $1.25 each. And some epoxy from West Marine (Resin and Hardener Tube Pack, $13.50).

    The marina hauled the boat and put her up on jack stands so that the keel could be lowered all the way. With the keel lowered, I scribed a light line on both sides of the forward part of the keel in line with the boat's bottom. This set the lower limit of application when later affixing the shims. I then raised the keel fully back up. This exposed the area "above" the just scribed lines which, when the keel is lowered, lie fully in the keel trunk.

    I held one of the plastic shims on the keel so that the very top edge - about 3/4 of an inch - actually protrudes into the keel trunk. I scribed a line around the shim, and removed it. A 3/8" variable speed drill with an abrasive pad quickly removed all the paint in the area where the shim will be (remember, both sides). A quick "fit" with shims confirmed that everything would fit with the keel lowered. By-the-way, my keel sits naturally with one side producing more of a space between it and the trunk than the other. I simply used one plastic shim on one side, and two on the other (1/4" vs. 1/2").

    I prepared epoxy and liberally spread it on the plastic and keel. On the side requiring two thicknesses of plastic, I spread epoxy on both sides of the shim nearest the keel, and clamped the top plastic on. Clamping firmly to the keel, the epoxy cured fully in 24 hours, but I waited another three days before launching.

    The shims have completely eliminated the banging the full down keel used to produce. Total cost: $15 with 4 tubes of epoxy left over!


    To prevent the keel from banging against the side of the keel trunk when fully raised I made a rubber bumper which is bolted to the aft side of the keel, just below the lifting pennant and which fits snugly into the trunk when the keel is raised.

    The rubber bumper is a trailer bow guard (pictured on page 604 of West Marine's catalog, part number 417800) This is a 3" bow guard, the kind that looks like a Vee with a wide base. Price, $5.19. With a hacksaw I cut the guard into two pieces. Imagine cutting the V straight through so that the two "sides" of the V separate. The photo of the bumper show what it looks like after cutting and mounting.

    Lower the keel just enough to gain easy access to the area you're going to mount the bumper onto. See photos.

    Select a stainless steel bolt that will be long enough to pass through the rubber and the keel; drill a hole clear through. I found it helpful to clamp the bumper in place while drilling to ensure an accurate hole. Placing the bumper about three inches "below" the lifting pennant seemed to work just right.

    Bolt the bumper on, trim the end of the bolt so it isn't any wider than the rubber bumper. You're all set. Now, lifting the keel full up the rubber wedges into the trunk and prevents the keel from flopping side to side. Naturally, when the keel is down, some drag is produced by the bumper, but I've not noticed that it makes any difference.