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Old 12-04-2004
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Draft Solutions

I''m bracing myself to be beat-up.

In reviewing a previous comment on a 1987 Beneteau First, the potential buyer had identified a boat he thought would be a good boat for him, but he was concerned that the draft of 7 1/2 feet would be limiting for coastal cruising.

Since the keel on that model of boat is a fin keel, how difficult would it be to have a foot cut off? And then the bigger question- how badly would it affect the balance and stability of the boat? What if he cut it off and added some type of bulb to the bottom to replace the lost weight?

Blast me guys- bring it on. I''m a blond novice.
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Old 12-04-2004
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It would work, but your going to loose performance and it''s going to cost you$
....................................._/)
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Old 12-04-2004
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Draft Solutions

If he really wanted to get this particular boat and mess with it, it would be pretty easy to cut a foot off the bottom of the keel. As you suggest, that''s not the end of it, however. Losing that much weight, that far down, would really mess up the boat''s performance and handling - perhaps to the point of making her dangerously heel-prone. Putting a bulb back on would help, but you have to be careul about fiddling with the center of lateral resistance and the boat''s fore and aft trim when you do that. This is not an opportunity for Mo''s chop shop to come in & weld something up on a slow day.
The original keel is probably iron. if it''s a Beneteau. Iron, though denser than concrete, is NOT as dense as lead. If you cut off, say, two feet from the iron keel, you might be able to add back a lead bulb, or even just a lead fin, and still get the same righting moment as with the deeper keel. This would be the goal. Doing this would mean talking in detail with Beneteau and probably with an outfit like Mars Metals, (they must have a website) which pours keels.

People do this... but it costs them. It''s expensive to have custom castings designed, made, and installed. We''re talking thousands, most likely. Dollars, not francs. The boat won''t perform the way it was originally designed to. There may be some things that need further correctons. (Does the rudder stick down further than the keel now? Not good. ) When you go to sell it, it''s no longer a Benéteau First xx, its a "modified" Benéteau First xx... This raises questions that lower the selling price - by thousands again. If the modified boat suits the owners every need, it''s a cheap alternative to a custom one-off. If it isn''t done right, it''s an expensive mistake to make. It''s not a question of being blasted, it''s a question of you pays your money and makes your choices.
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