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Old 01-04-2021, 20:31   #1
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Post Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

So I have a 1975 Islander 28 I bought off Craigslist. Someday I will add it to the stupidest things ever thread and or the joke thread, but I digress. When I bought it it had 2 200+ pound lead ballast blocks covering the keel bolts. see photos here:

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...lbums5654.html

When I removed these blocks to have the keel sistered, they were stolen off the dock.

Now I have heard only one plausible explanation for their purpose and that is to counterbalance the engine change (originally A4 now westerbeke 12C two). Assuming this is the case and they were not put in to conceal rotten keel bolts, here is my question:

What effect is not having the ballast having on my sailing? Is it doing something in particular I can measure? What might I expect to change if I actually go all the way and smelt a new one. I live in CA that might mean jail time...
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Old 02-04-2021, 01:02   #2
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Wink Re: stolen balast, how important is it really

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Originally Posted by skkeith View Post

What effect is not having the ballast having on my sailing? Is it doing something in particular I can measure? What might I expect to change if I actually go all the way and smelt a new one. I live in CA that might mean jail time...

I've just finished smelting 2Ĺ tonne of lead. I was lucky enough to buy about 700kg in lead ingots just by watching online advt and also putting in a few advts under the wanted section.

Scrap metal dealers are a good source (if you get to know them well ) but otherwise I did deals with tyer fitters for their discarded lead weights.

I'm lucky where I am because the houses around mine are used only on week-ends so I'd wait until Monday and if the wind was in the right direction I'd tear into it.

I used bottled LPG gas, a one burner BBQ and a cast iron saucepan with lid

I'm surprised they weigh 400lb, Looking at the design I think it would have a significant effect on the way the yacht sailed for what my opinion is worth (just a gut feeling)

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Old 02-04-2021, 01:25   #3
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Re: stolen balast, how important is it really

You're sure they didn't fall off the dock and are sitting in the mud under water? 400 pounds of lead that high up in the bilge is not going to effect the righting moment (heeling) of the boat as much as it would lower in the keel. If it was installed to counterbalance a heavier engine though, look to see how the boat is floating on her waterline. Is she stern-heavy? That is not what you want because it will make the boat harder to steer straight with less of the "v" of the bow in the water. To level things out you could try putting weight further forward, under the v-berth. This would enable you to use less weight, which might help the boat move faster. On the other hand, putting weight in the ends of the boat tends to make it pitch more. Everything on a boat is a compromise, as you are finding out.
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Old 02-04-2021, 01:35   #4
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Re: stolen balast, how important is it really

Ballast 1,361 kg (Lead) it looks like the builders had two too many lead ballasts and left them on the top of keel.
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Old 02-04-2021, 01:46   #5
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Re: stolen balast, how important is it really

They use them to trim the boat. Mines got a couple bolted on top of the skeg. I need to remove them one day as the boat has dinghy davits now which does pretty much the same job.
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Old 02-04-2021, 03:18   #6
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Re: stolen balast, how important is it really

I melted 1500# of lead tire weights down in CA to make ingots in bread pans. No biggie, unless you're doing it on the sidewalk. A marina might not be glad to have you do it in the parking lot, but in any back yard you'll be fine.
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Old 02-04-2021, 09:07   #7
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Re: stolen balast, how important is it really

Sorry, a tad bit off-topic...
Please excuse my ignorance, but I have melted a lot of lead into ingots and don't understand what the concern is about the law, the marina, other houses, etc. Is it an odour issue? I've always worked outside using charcoal stoves and haven't noticed any particular issues.
Thanks
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Old 02-04-2021, 09:32   #8
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Re: stolen balast, how important is it really

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Originally Posted by Lionshooter View Post
Sorry, a tad bit off-topic...
Please excuse my ignorance, but I have melted a lot of lead into ingots and don't understand what the concern is about the law, the marina, other houses, etc. Is it an odour issue? I've always worked outside using charcoal stoves and haven't noticed any particular issues.
Thanks
Well, just donít breathe the vapors/smoke that is given off in the smelting process, very bad for the brain. A very real danger for people who like to do leaded glass. Ventilate.
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Old 02-04-2021, 09:37   #9
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Re: Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

Lead vapors are very harmful to children and can cause retardation and behavioral issues. Lead is very bad stuff! Even the dust on a firing range can cause cumulative damage to adults like the range officers.
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:38   #10
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Re: Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

Removing some ballast can make your boat more "tender"; its initial stability will be less and it will heel a little faster.
The designers and builders usually know best.
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Old 02-04-2021, 12:34   #11
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Re: Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

CaptVR here:
The answer to your question of the weight being added for the engine swap difference. No, the Westerbeke is actually about a 100 lb's lighter than the old Atomic 4. Most added lead to boats were either from the manufacturer or previous owners adding weight for trim, referred to as trim ballast. Virtually all sailboats and a lot of power boats have trim ballast. Most have been encapsulated and is not visible. I would probably guess that amount right over the keel was probably added to bring the vessel down to it's designed waterline. Four hundred pounds is not going to make a lot of difference on waterline, but only the designer knows. I do know, on a Mac 26, just 200 pounds next to the centerboard trunk makes about a 1.5 knt difference on a broad reach, and lessens heal considerably.
Happy sailing all.. Capt. Vince Rakstis, Ret MS St.Petersberg, Fl.
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Old 02-04-2021, 13:25   #12
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Re: Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

A couple of thoughts:

Weight added at the TOP of the keel won't have a great effect upon righting moment. If added as a bulb or shoe to the bottom of the keel a significant stiffening would be noted.

Weight added at the top of the keel similarly will not affect the fore and aft trim very much. A much smaller amount mounted farther from the longitudinal COG will be more effective and add less weight over all (usually a good thing performance-wise).

From those two thoughts I'd conclude that if added by the builder the added ballast was to get the boat down on her design water lines. The fact that it was much heavier than the difference in weights of the two engines suggests that this was not the reason for the added ballast.

So, IMO if you are happy with the way the boat sails as is, I'd not change it. If you view her as being too tender, I'd consider adding a shoe of lead to the bottom of the keel.

YMMV.

Jim

PS The analogy upthread to the MacGregor 26 is not meaningful... a totally different design concept.
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Old 02-04-2021, 18:24   #13
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Re: Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

I owned a Lyle Hess designed 25' sistership to Lyn and Larry Pardey's 'Serrafyn' for close to thirty years. When I bought her near newly built, in my inexperience I couldn't work out why the very experienced couple who delivered her from Sydney to Tasmania had packed her with sand bags - when I removed them I found out - she was tender, with a designed ballast to displacement ratio of only 27%. Lyle Hess had this design feature to maximise her load carrying capacity, which would contribute to stability.
Over about a year I set about bolting in about 1000lbs of lead ingots to the bilge (which in a traditional design is the top of the wooden keel from which the lead keel hangs). This completely transformed the stability and sail carrying capacity of my boat. I spoke with Lyle Hess about the modification, which he was enthusiastic about.He added that having brought the boat down to her designed water line would also majorly contribute to her stability, taking the heeled centre of buoyancy further away from the centre of gravity.

When 'Taleisin' visited Port Cygnet Lyn and Larry enthusiastically came for a sail, and were to note in a later edition of one of their books how much more stable and able to carry sail 'Jenna' was than 'Serrafyn.'

If the OP's boat has well fastened additional lead, I would leave it where it is!

Incidentally, the former 'Jenna' is now 'Periplus', sailing out of Kettering Tasmania in the capable hands of a professional ship's master and historian, sporting a completely redesigned square rig!
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:03   #14
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Re: Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
A couple of thoughts:

Weight added at the TOP of the keel won't have a great effect upon righting moment. If added as a bulb or shoe to the bottom of the keel a significant stiffening would be noted.

YMMV.

Jim

Depends what you mean by "won't have a great effect". I suggest 200lb on top of the existing ballast would make have a significant effect? (200ft pounds?)





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Old 03-04-2021, 14:27   #15
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Re: Stolen ballast, how important is it really?

Quote:
Depends what you mean by "won't have a great effect". I suggest 200lb on top of the existing ballast would make have a significant effect? (200ft pounds?)
Adding 200 lbs at the top of the existing 3000 lb ballast will not, IMO, have a "great effect" on the righting moment... one that the PO will be able to discern in his use of the boat.

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