Adding Ballast In A Keel

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by saildog, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. saildog
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    saildog Junior Member

    I have a Victoria 18 sailboat with a fixed shoal keel and I want to add additional ballast to the boat. It seems there is enough room to add ballast where the lead in the keel is located.

    Are there any issues with this that I need to be award of?

    If the keel is not a good place, what about adding 25 pound bags of lead shot in the bottom of the hull?

    I guess the main thing I am trying to do is to add more stability in heavy air and lower the CG.

    Any advice would be helpful. Thanks beforehand.
     
  2. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    I really don't know the design, but keels, their supporting structure and the strength of the rig itself are all designed around a given amount of ballast. This question really is one that can only be answered easily by the designer.

    If the designer is out of business then you need to post a lot of scantling info to get a well informed answer.

    Not what you wanted to hear...sorry
    Cheers
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'm familiar with the design, it was built locally here.

    She's already ballasted and a lively sailor. Her relatively narrow hull form and full keel permit her to heel and give considerable in the puffs. As designed, she carries 650 pounds of ballast. She is self righting in a knock down, but like all boats has a few flaws. No floatation foam or chambers, so if you swamp her, she'll sink like a rock. The rudder has been known to suck up the wet stuff, which can be seen leaking from the lower fitting. The rudder design was changed a few times in it's production run to address this and other issues.

    The other issue was what many described as too much weather helm. She's a narrow full keel boat that wants to round if you are sailing her on her ear. A cutter option (a sprit was added) may have addressed this, though I've never sailed a cutter Victoria 18. I know more area was added to the rudder, which also have been a response to the helm concerns.

    You could add ballast, but if you add much, you'll make her slower, especially in light air. It would also decrease her load capacity and if enough additional ballast is added, then you'll need to redo the rig, as the additional loads will start ripping out chain plates, stay terminals, tangs, maybe bringing down the stick too.

    The Victoria 18 is a great little boat. She has a preferred angle of heel and a wind range that suits her, just like every boat. Don't recognize these and she get prissy on you. She's not a heavy air boat, unless you hang properly sized sails on her. Forcing her into heavy air with additional ballast will bring the rig down for sure.

    Her ability to self right after a knock down is a good indication of her abilities. What about her "stability" don't you like? Heavy air sailing is all about getting your butt kicked and trying to keep the boat from making you swim back to shore.
     
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  4. saildog
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    saildog Junior Member

    Thats a wonderful analysis of my new boat. I do appreciate it. LOTS of very good info.
    Thanks for taking your time to reply.
     
  5. saildog
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    saildog Junior Member

    A few questions please, I note that you state its not a heavy air sailboat. My experience has been that heavy air to some is not to others. What would you define as "heavy air" for this boat as fro as wind speed?
    Also, can't the weather helm by minimized (not eliminated) by a bit of forward tilt on the mast?
    I was originally thinking of 200 extra pounds of ballast. We only sail three people in the boat, 2 adults and 1 child (about 450 pounds total body weight)...and I've seen 4 heavy adults placed in these boats before. What would be your view of the extra 200 pounds of ballast to lower its CG for a bit more stability?
    Thank you..


     

  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Additional ballast will place additional strains on the pieces in the rig. This means these will break in lower wind strengths, not higher, though the boat will be sailing more upright at the time of this eventuality.

    Basically what you have is a light weight, narrow day boat with a cuddy. You can do some camp cruising, but not much more as she just doesn't have the stowage capacity.

    This site may be of interest to you.

    http://www.victoriayachts.com/vicsite/index.html

    Frankly, if you knew of the "numbers" for this little boat, considering the year it is was designed, it's a remarkable little yacht. First of all it's a boat with less then a 13' LWL and has a 5' 6" beam, though she carries a 134' sq. ft. rig. Her displacement is reasonable at 1,200 pounds and the 650 pounds in ballast represents a 54% ballast to displacement ratio which is quite remarkable in a light, shallow draft (24") fixed keel boat.

    Because of her shape, she wants to be sailed at 16 to 20 degrees of heel, which increases her LWL up to 16' - 17'. This means she needs a fresh breeze to hold her down. I've had her out in 30 knots, but I'm quite experienced. Over 20 knots you'll be over pressed most of the time and should be reefed down. She likes winds over 10 knots and under 18 the best, which will set her on her "sailing lines" at which she'll perform very well. She can slip along in light air, but a big jib (130 - 150%) would dramatically improve her abilities. Her SA/D is 19 at 134 sq. ft. of sail. Carrying a big jib this would jump to 23.23 which is very respectable. The Victoria 18's D/L is 243 which is moderate, but heeled over an using 16' 6" of LWL this drops to 119 placing her firmly in the light weight column. Her capsize screen is 2.07, making her virtually uncapsizable. Her vanishing angle of stability is in the 125 degree range.


    [​IMG]

    The cutter rig and helling at the proper angle. Her staysail looks over trimmed.

    [​IMG]

    The sloop at the proper heel for about 10 knots of wind.
     
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