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Thread: Bolt on Keel
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post #33 of Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Bolt on Keel

I was thinking about "cheaper" when that was first asked and, not knowing, at first thought an internal keel might be cheaper. But then I started to wonder about the "indirect" costs of having an encapsulated keel.
You've now got to have a building that is perhaps eight feet taller, because the keel is a part of the hull from the start, and that makes the hull "taller" all during production.
You've now got to shift thousands of pounds more weight in one unit during production, as the ballast usually has to be installed before the deck goes on.
You've now got to send every worker and every internal fitting six or eight feet higher up into the air to get it into the hull, time, expense, and some added risk.

Having an externally hung keel allows the hull and the entire production facility/process to be literally smaller and faster, which should mean cheaper. And I've seen a large boat delivered by barge, with the keel sitting next to it in a cradle, waiting to be rejoined at the delivery site after a trip from NZ to NY.

So I'm just wondering...when you say the encapsulated ballast is cheaper, is that just based on the materials used, or on an analysis of all the manufacturing factors affected by that choice? It would seem to be a more complex "real" cost issue than just the materials. And not being intimate with boatbuilding, I can only make a guess at that.

(FWIW, my gut preference has always been to external too. I just don't like "sealed" assemblies very much when there's any chance they'll need to be accessed in the future.)
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