Keel, to paint or not?


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Five coats of Epifanes bright red down so far and another one or two to go. The keel lies in our dining room. It has been stripped of paint, cleaned with a two part teak cleaner, and painted with hot linseed oil. Coming up pretty soon is the time to put the keel back on. So, this seems like a trivial question but what are the thoughts on a painted keel vs a keel with just varnish on it? This is for a '27 Old Town Charles River model CS grade.
I like a keel finished bright, but if you paint it you get a little extra measure of leak protection. I cringe when I put on a keel and have to drill holes through a perfectly good canvas, so I tend to paint. I think traditionally they were all painted.