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Old 02-12-2012, 00:00   #1
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I have two almost identical sailboats. One I am keeping, and one I am parting out

The keeper has a CI keel, and the parts boat has lead. The lead keel is longer and a little shorter. The lead keel is 2200 pounds and the CI keel is 1750.

As I go about putting the better parts on the keeper boat, am I overlooking one of the most crucial parts on the boat? Should I think of putting the lead keel on the keeper?

In the drawing, the shoal keel is lead, and the fin keel is CI. The keel bolts were replaced ten years ago, with mostly time on the hard over that time. What shows, shows no corrosion. Keel and bilge area is always clean and dry.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, or switch it out? ??

I am sure the two different keels sail differently, but not sure I would notice a difference. Figure a lead keel would be easier to keep a coat of paint on?

When I sell one keel for scrap, I would get more for the lead one.

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Old 02-12-2012, 00:27   #2
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

Donno how the keels are designed for sure but I'm making just an assumption here!

Both have about the same affect to the rightening moment, the iron keel a bit lighter but deeper has a bit better lift (less lee way).
Are the keel bolts dimensioned same in both boats?
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Old 02-12-2012, 00:29   #3
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Tough call. That shoal draft lead keel is pretty pathetic. Personally I'd go with the lighter deeper iron keel.
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Old 02-12-2012, 00:41   #4
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

You don't mention how much shallower the shoal keel is, nor do you really need a shoal keel?

A boat magasin did a shoal versus "normal" keel test a few years ago. Identical Bavaria 33 footers. Shoal keel was 1.5 meters, normal keel was 1.85.

Sailed both in every wind direction in the morning, switched crews ( to ensure the test was not crew biased) and sailed all afternnoon.

The shoal keel showed some greater sideways slippage, which was to be expected. It also did not sail as close to the wind as the normal keel. I believe the difference was about 3 degrees, unless my memory fails me
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Old 02-12-2012, 00:41   #5
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

Lead keels are certainly superior. The in water weight of lead is much higher, so its makes more difference to the righting moment than you might expect. In addition it does not corrode and will "give" far more with impact, lessening the damage. The only advantage of CI is that it is the cheapest way of producing a keel.

However I would not swap the keels that is a very big job even on a smaller boat.
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Old 02-12-2012, 00:57   #6
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

I would not swap the keels. Is there any way that you would keep the lead keel boat instead of the CI?
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:35   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
I would not swap the keels. Is there any way that you would keep the lead keel boat instead of the CI?
Thanks for everyone's responses.

The lead keel is a sloop, aft cockpit. The CI keel is a ketch aft cockpit with an Edison helm.

The ketch was owned by a banker and spent lots of money on her.

The sloop looks like it was a poster child for everything done wrong, or done caa-caa. The cabin WALLS were all redone with cheap laminate flooring screwed and glued down. I saw a house once where they used shingles roofing, for siding. That looked better. I purchased the sloop sight unseen thinking how bad could it be. My imagination was not vivid enough. Not near vivid enough. Lucky, I can sell the trailer alone to recapture my investment.

While I was looking the sloop over, thinking, what have I done, in a couple weeks, the good sailboat was offered to me.

Gratful karma, fate, God, dumb luck, put this parts boat in my hands. Not easy finding exact replacement parts for an almost 40 year old sailboat. What stuff on the better boat was not perfect, the parts boat has had the replacement in good order.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:49   #8
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

If it was an option I'd recast the lead to the shape of the CI keel (or maybe a bit modified but that's a lot of designing work), so if you have a foundry close to you it might be a reasonable cost. But that's a long shot and gains propably not worth the hassle. Keep the IC!
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:48   #9
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Lead keels are certainly superior. The in water weight of lead is much higher, so its makes more difference to the righting moment than you might expect. In addition it does not corrode and will "give" far more with impact, lessening the damage. The only advantage of CI is that it is the cheapest way of producing a keel.

However I would not swap the keels that is a very big job even on a smaller boat.
Right - lead is vastly superior. But don't forget that in your case the lead keel is also a SHOAL keel! I wouldn't have a shoal keel boat if you gave it to me - ruins upwind performance.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:50   #10
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

A trailerable, ketch rigged, 32 foot boat is never going to be a sparkling upwind performer. The increased blast ratio and lower Cog of the lead keel will help reduce the effects of the loss of draft, but I would still expect the deeper CI keel to have a modest edge upwind as you point out.
The shallower lead keel would be more easily trailered and this combined with a slightly reduced draft would be characteristics that would be more important, to me, for this type of craft, but as always, others will have different priorities.

In the photo of the two boats on the trailer suggests the draft of the two boats is only slightly different. The plans suggest a more significant disparity, but boats like this were often produced with multiple variations, so the plans may not be entirely accurate.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:15   #11
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

Like for like I would go for lead - but shorter keel only better if you need it. My WAG is that the deeper CI keel would compensate for the "better" but shorter lead keel.

Therefore I would stick with plan A and scrap the lead keel - I certainly wound not get into keel swapping!
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:37   #12
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

If you'll be staying in freshwater there isn't much advantage to the lead.

Always a toss up on which way to go in your situation but I'd stay with the iron keel just 'cause it's easier and you'll be in freshwater where rust is not quite as big an issue as it is in saltwater.

Might be able to sell the lead keel to a backyard boatbuilder.

kind regards,
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:57   #13
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

Be careful selling the lead for scrap. You may not be given a fair price for it!

I was in the dive shop the other day and he wants $4 per pound for lead weights.
That makes your lead keels resale value $8,800!
Current price in the USA is .25 to .27 cents per pound so yours would get you $550

That's a big difference for something so easy to manufacture.

Spend a few hundred of a furnace and make dive weights to sell around the world whilst cruising.....

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Old 02-12-2012, 12:16   #14
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

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Be careful selling the lead for scrap. You may not be given a fair price for it!

I was in the dive shop the other day and he wants $4 per pound for lead weights.
That makes your lead keels resale value $8,800!
Current price in the USA is .25 to .27 cents per pound so yours would get you $550

That's a big difference for something so easy to manufacture.

Spend a few hundred of a furnace and make dive weights to sell around the world whilst cruising.....


And at $10-12 a lb. you could make bullets.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:26   #15
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Re: Is Lead Vastly Prefered Over Castiron Keels?

For a cruising boat, windward performance is greatly overrated. You probably wouldn't notice the difference in sailing ability. You would notice the discomfort going hard on the wind, however. If the keel swap is a straight bolt on without any significant modifications, I'd do it. Good time to do a thorough inspection of the keel boats.

Another advantage of the longer shoal draft keel is the boat will take the ground better. In the unfortunate situation of running aground, the shoal model will sit on the keel. The deeper draft shorter keel may end up with the boat falling over on its nose instead of sittlng level.
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