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Old 02-15-2002
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Encapsulated or Bolt On Keel?

It is very hard to do proper glass work in the tight confines of a keel stub. The glass work that I have personnally repaired in that area has been really poor almost by necessity. The leverage of a hard grounding does not go away when you hit hard just because there is a skin between the keel and the rock. Instead the ballast gives the rock something hard to push against and the comparatively thin membrane above the ballast has to absorb all of that leveraged load.

So, having owned a Pearson Vanguard that had an encapulated keel that hit a rock at not a terribly high speed and had the encapulation readily crush, driving the aft end of the ballast through the comparatively weak membrane above the ballast and dislocating the water tank. And after trying fruitlessly to get a decent repair and never being able to get a bond between the ballast and the encapsulation shell, I can readily assure you that a lot worse can happen than,"The worst that can happen to a internally ballasted boat is that a little water gets into the ballast area." You can end up with a boat that cannot be repaired.

Jeff
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