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Old 15-08-2013, 08:24   #16
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

Its a bit like religion, there are no open minds here. If you prefer encapsulated keels then you will only see what you want to BUT on the other hand if you prefer bolt on keels then you'll only see what you want to. Reality check, both are fine if they are put together well. Now a days almost all new boats are built with bolt ons.
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Old 15-08-2013, 08:26   #17
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

I will take 50% of both worlds, i mean, i take any bolt on keel if is bolted to a deep strong stub with enough internal grid to spread the loads and survive a hard grounding without cracking or destroying the interior..In the other side any encapsulated with enough glass around and lead is for me in case the bolt on keel is the kind we see this days in many production boats... flat bilge , Mickey Mouse backing plates , bolted flat to the bottom and 6,6 draft... Minaret Nauticat is a good example of a good keel... Mine is bulletproof, but in any case is a compromise...
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Old 15-08-2013, 08:28   #18
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
This is the order IMHO from best to worst.

Encapsulated with lead ballast
Bolt on keel with lead ballast
Bolt on iron keel
Encapsulated keel with any iron/steel ballast

Good materials/methods should be at the top of the list when choosing a yacht.


I have yet to see an encapsulated keel with pure lead ballast, every one I've opened up that claimed to be lead ballast was bars of pig iron in cement. Mostly lead ain't the same thing as pure lead, pig iron rusts. The builders know well that what they put in there will likely never be seen, at least not by the original buyer. Too easy to cheap out on. I believe this is the primary reason that production builders go to encapsulated, it's a huge cost saving for them. But do they pass it on? No, instead they try to convince you that encapsulated is better.
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Old 15-08-2013, 10:41   #19
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

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I have yet to see an encapsulated keel with pure lead ballast, every one I've opened up that claimed to be lead ballast was bars of pig iron in cement. Mostly lead ain't the same thing as pure lead, pig iron rusts. The builders know well that what they put in there will likely never be seen, at least not by the original buyer. Too easy to cheap out on. I believe this is the primary reason that production builders go to encapsulated, it's a huge cost saving for them. But do they pass it on? No, instead they try to convince you that encapsulated is better.
Not that I've seen more than 3-4 square inches of the lead, but on the Bristol 22 and Cal 34 that I've repaired holes in the keel, the metal showing looked single piece cast to the shape of the leading edge and was a soft metal. The corrosion was black, not red rust colored.

I suppose the brochures could be lies, but a Cal ad shows a cast single chunk of lead being dropped into the keel.
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Old 15-08-2013, 10:58   #20
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

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I have yet to see an encapsulated keel with pure lead ballast, every one I've opened up that claimed to be lead ballast was bars of pig iron in cement.
Thanks for that minaret. That is what I love about this forum you can always learn something new.
Does that include high quality boat builders like say the caliber of say Russler in the UK or the USA equivalent (Morris?)

I guess if I had a boat commissioned the message is you need to be be specific.

Many manufacturers gloss over their construction techniques. Often even finding out the basic layup structure is difficult.
I think many high end boatbuilders don't want to admit they use cheap resin in their construction. It should be no surprise that they throw in some cheap balast as well.

I should not be shocked, but I am.
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:08   #21
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

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I have yet to see an encapsulated keel with pure lead ballast, every one I've opened up that claimed to be lead ballast was bars of pig iron in cement. Mostly lead ain't the same thing as pure lead, pig iron rusts. The builders know well that what they put in there will likely never be seen, at least not by the original buyer. Too easy to cheap out on. I believe this is the primary reason that production builders go to encapsulated, it's a huge cost saving for them. But do they pass it on? No, instead they try to convince you that encapsulated is better.
negativity!! every keel you opened up was not made up of pure lead? You must have been looking at some boats there. Most encapsulated keels are lead billets shaped to fit in the fiberglass shell and then installed and glassed over to protect the boat interior. boats that put in bits and pieces of iron, lead or concrete then I supposed glassed over are ones that homebuilders have done. name one production boat that did this! I bet you can't. how would anyone be able to predict the keel weight without casting a lead billet. can you imagine a yacht designer having his name attached to a design that was no where near the design weight of the ballast, talk about lawsuits! for one thing, if you don't use lead or iron to specs, the ballast will be too light, you could not carry design sail area.
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:31   #22
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

Encapsulated are the way to go for cruising. A bolt on keel is just another big ticket/hard to fix item to worry about you dont need. Also, Bolt on keels often have less area distributing the stress of a grounding though the hull. (ie: the radius where the keel meets the hull is smaller) So when you search "grounding damage" you will likely find a bunch of info on repairing the cracks or "smiles" forward and behind the bolt on keel from grounding.
Are good boats built with bolt on keels? sure some are. Are encapsulated keels more foolproof? mo debbley... do bolt on keels require maintenance that rarely gets done? Mo Debbley...
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:34   #23
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

Here is a encapsulated keel with iron bits, steel, concrete , and who know?? And a bolt on keel detached from the hull.
Both sides have problems records....
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:41   #24
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

Doesnt really matter what's in an encapsulated keep as long as the boat stands up.
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:53   #25
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My simple solution to the freeze damage in an encapsulated keel is to stay south of where water gets hard
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Old 15-08-2013, 12:04   #26
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

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My simple solution to the freeze damage in an encapsulated keel is to stay south of where water gets hard
Ha!
To me an old bolt on keel is like an old chainplate.... you never know it';s condition until it breaks or you take it off and redo it.... Other than that I think bolt on keels are fine.... but on a cruiser.. no point....
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Old 15-08-2013, 12:27   #27
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

the worst thing about bolt on keels, at least on the newer flat bottomed boats, is there is no proper sump. Any water that gets in is not trapped in the bilge and rolls up the side of the boat soaking everything it comes in contact with. A boat that is meant to actually go to sea has to have a proper sump capable of containing the inevitable seepage that a bilge pump can't pick up.
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Old 15-08-2013, 12:30   #28
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

Rebolting bolted on is only doable when the bolts sit in pockets. I have seen plenty of bolts actually set in the ballast. No way to rebolt, methinks. (?)

The boats I know with encapsulated are lead ballasted. I know of one make with iron encapsulated keel and I have never seen any issues with that make either. Sure, if you happen to do the sea bottom survey job, you must lift the boat and fix any damage done. Same as you must fix any damage on a bolt on keel.

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Old 15-08-2013, 13:10   #29
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

MOST encapsulated keels are concrete with stuff added to it for weight.
is a fallacy to believe that your encapsulated keel is solid anything other than concrete and that isnt solid, but has stuff added. minaret is a shipwright--he repairs these things, and knows a lot of different kinds of boats.
i only know a few different kinds--i owned one boat with a nice iron keel---no one bothered to coat it with anything, so until its first hauloput, 26 yrs after creation, it was awesom ebeautiful...second time out---there was 3/4 inch of rust ....

bolt on keels can fall off. they do fall off. they leak at the keel bolts.

encapsulated keels are just that--my ericson has an encapsulated modified fin keel. my formosa has an encapsulated full keel, crab crushing style.

friend went aground with a bolted on keel an d required a haul out to repair....
another friend went hard aground at 8 kts with encapsulated keel and only needs to fix a ding and repaint .....

your choice---lose it or ding it.... lead is a poison and no longer used in keels--has been that way for decades. go figger.
your bolt on will be iron or steel. try to find a lead smelter nowadays. you cannot find lead in gasoline nor in paint anymore--why do you think it will be in your newly bought boat's keel......

count me as a fan of encapsulated keels. concrete is heavy and the stuff added isnt light, either......weight is weight.
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:04   #30
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Re: Encapsulated vs. Bolt On Keels - Pros/Cons

Thanks to everyone for all of your great comments on this issue. It doesn't seem to be a clear-cut issue and certainly a lot for me to get my head around! We're looking to upgrade our boat later next year and I'm trying to learn more about the various choices and options that there are so that I can be a better informed buyer. This discussion has been really useful. It's great to see so many people willing to help out a newbie like me. I'm sure I'll have a million more questions to come!
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