C&C 27 Association – Fixing the C&C 'Smile'

The C&C 'Smile' is a more-or-less permanent slight separation between the fibreglass keel stub and the lead keel. It affects all C&C's designed or built in the 'seventies as well as some 'eighties boats. A traditional fix involves cleaning the area to bare glass and metal and wrapping the joint in glass. This is time-consuming and typically only lasts for a couple of years, if that. Polysuphide and various 3M caulks are equally prone to failure.

When Towser lost some of the filler in the joint, I called Gougeon Brothers and asked if any of their West System products were suitable and was told that one staffer had used their flexible G/flex epoxy on his keel; this had held for a year and seemed promising. Acordingly, I ordered some G/flex (it's not always available in stores).

To apply it, I cleaned the joint back to bare glass and bare lead and applied the G/flex. G/flex Epoxy is thick, but it will sag during the approximately 8-hour cure time, so I filled the joint and then wrapped the area with plastic wrap. I buttressed the wrap with some stiff clear plastic and cardboard that was duct-taped around the keel, and held in firm contact with the keel surface with some 2x4 props. This jury-rigged 'form' looked ridiculous but was very effective in holding the epoxy in the joint. Moreover, as epoxy doesn't stick to plastic wrap, when the form came off, I had a smooth surface that needed only a light roughing with sandpaper before painting and launching.

One year later (spring, 2011), the joint is still smooth.

– David Weatherston, Towser

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