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· brass monkey
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all:

I have a fairly tender Cape George 36 which sails well in light airs, but was not factory finished and is a bit underballasted. The previous owner reported 3000 lbs of lead was put in the boat, the rest finished with concrete.

I've spoken to the builder/designer... Cecil Lange and he told me the boat probably needs 2000-3000 lbs of lead to sink her down to her proper waterline.

The plan is to go offshore in about 26 months, and with that will come quite a bit of extra gear... mostly where I won't want it (on the ends of the boat and on deck).

Has anyone added ballast to their boat, or have any knowledge?

I had two plans concerning this... the first was to try more ballast in the bilge where possible... maybe with up to 1000 lbs.

the second plan was to form a lead shoe of 1500-2500 lbs (whatever we decide was necessary with all the additional cruising gear we'll be taking) and mold a shoe that would get attached with polysulphide or epoxy and then glassed over and laminated to the bottom of the keel.

A lot of questions come up:

Forming and molding the shape...

I was thinking about buying lead from tire stores around... and getting their used tire weights... anyone know other good sources for lead?

What's the best way to form lead? A tiger torch? Has anyone used something as a cast... if so, what? How could I build my own cast... for pigs or for forming a shoe?

Concerning the second plan--the one about the shoe:

I didn't want to pierce the encapsulated keel with bolts (that would be my reason for laminating), so does epoxy bond to lead as well as it bonds to wood or glass, if I prepped the surface adequately? My ship right friend was suggesting 5200 or polysulphide, and jacking the lead to the bottom of the keel in a few or several pieces, which would hold the lead in place until I could get fiberglass around it and to the keel. I really like the shape of the keel and the boat sails so well for a full keeled vessel... i just wanted to increase the draft by 4-6 inches or so (whatever was needed for the job), because the formed shoe would be about 5 inches wide.

Any words of wisdom, accounts or stories, or resources to point me in the right direction?

Thanks folks,

Tom
 

· brass monkey
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the quick responses.

The issue with removing some of the original concrete is that there were railroad rails embedded (the previous owner says welded to other framework in the concrete) in the concrete ballast, and they are supporting the engine mounts. I'd like to find an alternative to jackhammering out the concrete under the engine and under the 90 gallon stainless fuel tank.

I'm taking a stability class for the new Canadian 150 ton master's ticket and took one a few years ago--but am trying to remember the terms, so please bear with me:

1) wouldn't putting more ballast up higher be less effective than less ballast down lower? The righting arm is the difference between the metacentric height and the centre of gravity, is that sounding about accurate? The longer the righting arm (gm?), the stiffer the boat, the snappier the motion (and also... more uncomfortable at sea!).

So maybe more ballast in the bilge will help me carry a bit more sail, and yet enjoy a slower roll period and more comfy ride. We're just over on our ear... with reefed main and jib in 15 knots (like burying the caprail 1/2 the time--and Cecil Lange told me they should never bury their rail in conditions like that).

2) 4.8 cubic feet of lead doesn't sound like a lot... but how much is that spread over a width of 4 inches and a length of say... 120 inches? Would that make my shoe only 2 inches deep, and spread the weight that is hanging in the fiberglass out effectively? 4 cubic feet--when I think about a cubic yard of way, way, way less dense gravel or even concrete... isn't that almost the size of a dump truck load?

3) sail choice has a lot to do with it, but still--having to go from a high cut yankee to stays'l and 2ble reefed main in 15 knots and only getting 5 knots for being over... 15 degrees or more... that's unreasonable. That really says "more ballast" to me. When we're offshore and shorthanded and in a larger steeper swell on a murky night with a surprise squall... that degree of tenderness has "knock down" written all over it. The boat doesn't loose control or round up horribly, but it's still asking for trouble.

4) thanks for the reminder on the fumes. molding lead into steel buckets with a tiger torch? I heard it took hours. Anyone had experience with sand molds? A friend of mine molded some lead in a pig trough. so I guess the steel has a much higher melting point than the lead

5) thoughts on piercing the hull with bolts, then sealing and glassing over? Just doesn't sound like a good thing if we ever grounded and had to loose the shoe, but could come through otherwise intact... it may not be so clean with bolts tearing holes in the keel

6) absolutely a priority to retain keel foil shape... such as it is. Cecil Lange told me his keels were beautiful and did provide some lift, so it's true I don't want to mess with the beauty.

Anyway, appreciate the thoughts. This is a fun, old school project and I hope to keep enough brain cells intact from the melting process to enjoy some safe and fun offshore cruising!
 
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