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  #1  
Old 05-30-2007
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A boat I met in the locks...

Cruising through the Champlain Canal this past weekend we met a boat heading towards Montreal. They picked it up from Toronto (about a 6 hour drive from Montreal), unstepped the mast, and brought it down the Erie Canal and then up the Champlain Canal. It's a long trip!

Anyway, the boat is an IOR racer which was actually in the '79 Fastnet race. I don't have the LOA, but the mast height was 75' and it was sticking out at LEAST 10' in each direction (bow and stern). The sail area must be enormous, but it is a racer. He actually had an issue in one of the locks on the Erie Canal and it caught the top of the lock on the way down (doing a bit of damage). There was a grinder on the cabintop. He also stated that the prior owner had grounded it in the Erie Canal several years ago and had chopped off 2 feet of the 9 foot keel to get out, so he now draws a couple of inches more than 7 feet. He didn't say whether any additional ballast was added, but reducing the keel size obviously changes the center of gravity.

The guy plans to cruise with his family in it in a year or so, and also intends to do an Atlantic crossing with them. I thought it an odd choice of boat for this purpose, and with 2 feet chopped off the keel - it may make an already unstable boat even more difficult to manage. This doesn't even consider the spartan interior, but that can actually be changed. Any thoughts?
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Old 05-30-2007
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I am a big fan of stability for ocean sailing. I would not subtract keel or ballast from a boat that size, or probably just about any boat for that matter.
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Old 05-30-2007
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Really not a great idea to chop 30% of the keel off, since it will also alter the keel's ability to provide lift, as well as reduce stability. Also, shifts the center of lateral resistance aft, a bit... which can cause sail balance problems. I hope he consulted with a marine architect before making any such modifications, and compensated for the changes that they will cause...
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Old 05-30-2007
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I thought the Erie Canal was a thing of the past and it's now the Mohawk River Barge Canal. I remember seeing old parts of the Erie in Schenectady many years ago and it was tiny by todays standards.
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Old 05-30-2007
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There's a '79 Fastnet vetran out on the left coast for sale too. No, I wouldn't cut the keel off or try to sail one that had it done.
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