How much ballast do I actually have??? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-05-2008
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How much ballast do I actually have???

I have a 1975 Formosa 41. When we were looking into buying here we got stats that looked like this:

Displacement: 32,000lb
Ballast: 8,000

I commented that I thought that a 1/4 ratio of ballast to displacement was a bit lean. So we did some web searching. Every spec sheet on every Formosa we found came up with different numbers for both ballast and displacement. Displacement was usually listed in the 28,000-32,000 range and ballast ranged from 3,800lbs (surely a mistake) to 12,000lbs.

This stressed me out greatly as I didn't want a super-tender vessel that might not self-right. But who knows where the numbers on the spec sheet really came from.

Now to add to the mystery when we hauled out I read the gauges on the travel-lift and it said (if I'm reading it right) 55,000lbs! That can't be right. If I can figure out how I'll post a picture of the travel-lift gauges.

So is there any way to find out how much I really weigh? What I really want to know is the ballast/displacement ratio. Any way to figure that out? Anyone have definitive stats from a book or online anywhere?

Thanks for the help!

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Old 04-06-2008
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8000 may not be wrong, my 37 has 7340 lbs and has a displacement of 24000 lbs

As far as the 55000 lbs on the travel life, that might not be wrong either, the displacement stats are dry weights, every once you add ( ie: fuel, water, food, clothes, electronics , etc,etc ) will add to that.
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Last edited by poopdeckpappy; 04-06-2008 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 04-06-2008
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as PP said the stats are normally quoted in "light" condition without stores, crew, etc onboard. Most of the Formosa 41's I have seen quote 28,000lbs displacment, which gives a D/L ratio of 332. This is pretty close to most of the Formosa 51's I have seen (which I am more familiar with) which have a D/L ratio of 321. Hence my guess is that 28,000 is most probably your vessels "light" weight.

I've also seen 9,200lbs often quoted for Formosa 41's which gives a B/D ratio of 33%. That sounds reasonable, Vagabond 42's are 32%, my boat (Roberts Classic 45) has a B/D ratio of 36%.

I would ask at the yard how accurate the travel lift gauges are. At my yacht club the gauges on the travel lift are fairly inaccurate. Unless your carrying gold bricks I would be surprised if you are carrying 27,000lbs of gear. I normally carry between 5,000 to 10,000lbs of gear on my boat.

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Old 04-06-2008
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I discovered the same surprise with our boat.. In this thread.

We were 10,000lbs over design weight, this was with the truck scales, which are apparently quite accurate. Empty water tanks, full fuel tanks, fairly basic amount of gear, dinghy, outboard, etc.

I, like yourself, looked at the various stats derived from the design specs. So this was a big surprise as well.. (The PO knew the boat was much heavier tho.. no truth in YW listings..)

After talking to people here and other places, apparently this discrepancy is fairly common even today. Our rigger echoed this point of view. I don't remember the xact story. However, he used to sell J boats, and they had a client that was very upset when the actual weight of the boat was some 6 thousand pounds different from the design weight.

So your boat probably really does weigh 55,000lbs with gear..

My total non-expert opinion -- The ballast is probably whatever they put in the spec as the yard could probably accurately put that much ballast in. Given it was made in 1975, the yard may not have had enough precise control to manufacture something to the designers specs.. or the designer was overly ambitious in what sort of displacement they could achieve.
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