Lead vs cast iron keels - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Old 03-29-2013
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Re: Lead vs cast iron keels

Originally Posted by benesailor View Post
I have a iron keel and have had some very minor corrosion issues. I would agree that you can get a lower center of gravity with the lead but, i would think that is also factored in during design regardless its iron or lead. I will say; my neighbors 40" columbia hit something in the NYS Barge Canal (looks like it was steel) and just shredded his lead keel!! He has a 2" gash. I would have had a scratch.
If you think about the physics involved, if you hit something the energy involved has to go somewhere. With a lead keel much of it goes into deformation which is a pretty easy fix. With an iron keel, most of the energy gets carried upward into the hull and is a good opportunity to test the integrity of the keel/hull joint.

Iron keels came into use because they were cheaper and this became even more of an issue as lead prices soared. Some builders offer lead as an extra-price option and it is significant. To me it would not be a deal breaker, but I would certainly prefer lead.
Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.
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Old 03-29-2013
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Re: Lead vs cast iron keels

Originally Posted by benesailor View Post
I would definitely agree about iron be a drag issue vs a steel fin and lead bulb.
In a cruiser; does it matter that much?
No and that's why now on almost all modern mass production boats the bulbs are in iron. It only maters to someone that wants to maximize performance and only performance boats offer that, many times as an option. But I am only talking about the keels that now are the norm in Europe. On all cast (iron or lead) the difference can be considerable between the two, in drag and weight that also affects performance.



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