Originally Posted by Tim R.
From a design standpoint, what would have to be done to make an encapsulated keel better?
Glass over the top of the ballast? Create an impact zone of additional fiberglass at the leading edge? What else?
If I wanted to create an encapsulated keel that was as sturdy as a properly engineered bolt on keel, I would have cast ballast, keel bolts, as thick a membrane above the ballast as the keel area of the hull, and then have same system of tranverse and longituninal frames capable of distributing keel loads. The rule of thumb is that the glass in the keel area is approximately twice the thickness of the hull below the waterline. At that point the encapsulation becomes structurally irrelevant. The problem with that set up is that there is no way to change the keel bolts.
And...For what it is worth, unless you have a keel stepped mast, there should not be water in your bilge whether you have a bolt on keel or a encapsulated keel. With the exception of my Folkboat whose keel bolts could no longer be considered bolts before I replaced them, worst keel leaks that I have tried to repair was on boats with encapsulated keels where there was water in the encapsulation so that there was not good way to get a repair that did not have pin holes letting water in.