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Old 12-09-2008, 18:42   #1
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to water ballast or not

If I may, I'd like to pose a question.
I have been looking @ catalina 250's and have been presented with the option of a water ballast or a fixed ballast. I would like to know which would be better for sailing the S.F. bay,delta area?
this will be my first boat purchase. I plan on keeping it for several years and would love to hear what the knowledgeable crowd around here think
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Old 12-09-2008, 18:44   #2
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Unless you are into high tech racing forget the water ballast. Even then I would not consider it for a Catalina 25.
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Old 13-09-2008, 07:09   #3
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The Cat 250 looks to be a Mac 26 (original, not X or M) competitor, not a high tech racer.

The water ballast allows you to get your boat up and down a ramp a lot more easily due to lower weight and shallow draft (1' 8"), allows for a smaller car for towing, and allows for very shallow gunkholing or sailing in shallow areas.

On the other hand, lead is 11 times denser than water and is in the keel under the boat as opposed to the water ballasted version where the ballast is in the hull up high.

I've not sailed either the original Mac 26 or the Catalina centerboard boats. I have been interested in trying one out though. So without having actually sailed one, I would say if keeping the boat on a trailer and typically going sailing on nice days (defined as lower wind) is the priority, then centerboard. If you're more interested in higher wind and better windward performance then keel.

Bill Lee wasn't impressed with the centerboard version's sailing characteristics.
Cruising World - Catalina 250

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