Join Date: Sep 2002
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While I havenít owned a boat with an encapsulated iron keel, I have seen a reasonable number of such boats when walking around clubs and marinas. Like Sailmc above, I too live on fresh water (Lake Ontario) and the boats I am most familiar with that have such a keel are the Alberg 30 and Contessa 26 (later versions of the JJ Taylor Contessa 26 had lead ballast which allowed the cabin floor to be lowered slightly). I havenít seen or heard of the type of problem that you are asking about and both of the above boat types were produced in reasonably large numbers with an average fleet age of perhaps 30 years - or longer in the case of the Alberg. The Albin Vega also has an encapsulated iron ballast (with a lead shoe I believe) and I havenít seen or heard of the type of problem you are referring to. About 3,000 Vegas were produced with a fair number having been taken offshore Ė again most were built in the early to mid 1970ís.
A separate issue that Jeff_H has discussed in length in other posts concerns the structural integrity of all encapsulated ballasted boats in case of a hard grounding. I would guess that a full keel boat could better withstand this than a fin keel.