Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion - SailNet Community
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Old 06-03-2019 Thread Starter
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Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

I have a line on a $1 Cal 21. Seems she ran into some bad luck and had the keel ripped off and was dismasted at the same time.

The swing keel has been repaired new mast has been purchased, includes 3 head sails, boom, road worthy trailer and all furniture has been removed leaving a bare hull.

So along comes me thinking, can I turn this thing into a water ballast raid boat/beach cruiser?

Replace the keel with a centre board, fiberglass in 3 water tanks, centerline and maybe two wing tanks, ballast transfer pump to fill the upwind tank? Or maybe just stick with centre line tankage.
Keep her interior stripped down and light?

Sail her like a 20 foot dinghy. With the benefit of water ballast.

Any one ever done a water ballast conversion? I know the technology got a bad rep for a while, but a lot of the nicer home built plywood beach boats use water ballast these days to keep them light for beaching.

Last edited by Arcb; 06-05-2019 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 06-03-2019
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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

Your money, your time. Personally I don't see the point of such things. Maybe a chainsaw would do better.....

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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

If you actually enjoy such projects, as in the process itself, have the spare time and money,

ans do not expect an economically "rational" outcome,

then why not? Go for it, yolo!
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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

I just looked up the Cal 21, wow, what a light boat! Without the keel it looks like it would weigh about 750 lbs and would float in 8" of water. I could tow that with my Prius.

To replace the 360 pounds of keel ballast would take 45 gallons of water. I suppose you'd want a little more, since it'd be up higher? Maybe three 25-gallon tanks, one centerline and one on either side.

It'd be a lot of work, but it'd be a fun boat for backwaters. Heck, at 750 lbs you could fit it with oarlocks and row it.
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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

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Originally Posted by cb32863 View Post
Your money, your time. Personally I don't see the point of such things. Maybe a chainsaw would do better.....
You don't understand the point of raiding? Its a type of racing that involves small light boats, light enough to drag up on the beach and over sand bars, no handicaps, long distance. Its fun, most boats are either home made or heavily modified stock boats, light enough to be dragged up on a beach and effectively rowed. If I go ahead, this would be my third raid boat build. I have learned through experience that a boat with a cabin is a big plus because you can sleep at anchor and savethe time of setting up camp.

Heres an explanation on wikipedia:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_(boating)

So I am wondering if any one has practical experience with a water ballast conversion
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Last edited by Arcb; 06-04-2019 at 05:36 AM.
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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I just looked up the Cal 21, wow, what a light boat! Without the keel it looks like it would weigh about 750 lbs and would float in 8" of water.
Maybe even less, because all interior wood has been removed. Its a bare hull inside.

Just add a couple canvas cots for sleeping, jet boil or similar for cooking.

Oars, or a pedal drive would be cool.

Last edited by Arcb; 06-04-2019 at 05:36 AM.
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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

The idea of pumping water back and forth sounds good in theory but I would stay away from the complication.
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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

Go for it. Here is a picture of my $1 dollar boat I took this morning. Just put her on her mooring for another season.

Another alt= Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion-img_0914.png


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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

Ain't nothin' to it but to do it.
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Re: Another $1 Boat Thread, Water Ballast Conversion

Really, really bad idea. The boat would wallow through the water, and would not be stiff enough running upwind. Probably dangerous to sail.

It takes about 20 seconds to tack a boat. How long do you think it will take to pump water from one tank to the other? All the time that is happening, the water is on the downhill side of the boat (so your centrifugal pump is pushing uphill, so nowhere near its rating), leaving your rail buried. By the time the ballast is in the right spot, it is probably time to tack again.

And how long do you think your batteries will last running the pump? That is a lot of juice.

Putting the water high enough to make a difference makes your boat intrinsically unstable. While the water is being transferred (both tanks partially full), there will be a lot of free surface, so a lot of sloshing, making your boat even more unstable in the waves.

Small sailboats generally don't use an active water ballasting system (usually only used for ocean going boats that are going to be on a long tack for a long time, so it is worth going through the effort of pumping water to the uphill side). Look at the MacGregor 26; water ballast tanks are down low, where they really don't provide any righting moment until the boat is almost on its side. And the hull is designed for it, with the tanks in the exact right spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
You don't understand the point of raiding? Its a type of racing that involves small light boats, light enough to drag up on the beach and over sand bars
I don't think you will be dragging a Cal 21 over sand bars by hand, even without the 360# swing keel.... what is left weighs at least 800#... You want to go raiding, go for a small dinghy that can be portaged by two people easily.
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Last edited by TimMarks; 06-04-2019 at 01:14 AM.
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