Removable Ballast - cons??

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Removable Ballast - cons??

Postby DonBarker » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:38 am

I can see all the advantages of having a removable ballast as per Rick and Tom's article in MY, but what about the cons? In particular I question really heavy air sailing where a wild broach can occur. Will the ballast shift, i.e. come out of the pocket? Or does the system board with the rod going into the bow pocket and the block behind the ballast hold things in place. If the ballast did shift (roll up onto the sides of the hull) I would think it would be disastrous messing up the position of the system board as well as the primary purpose of the ballast. Is this a real worry, or am I over-thinking it unnecessarily?

Any other cons, as I am seriously considering it.
Don Barker
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Re: Removable Ballast - cons??

Postby tag1945 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:46 pm


The front of the ballast is held in by the mast Strut and the rear is prevented from moving my a small block and the shape of the keel which prevents the ballast from shifting. The purpose of having a removable ballast was two fold. 1st for shipping. Many boats were damaged by shippers that did not take care. 2nd is for maintenance. I for one paint my boats and it makes it a lot easier to handle.

Once you have installed your ballast, you do not have to remove it!

I have also heard concerned that skippers would make different ballasts and change them for changes in weather. The rules prevent shifting or shipping ballast. If we cannot trust our skippers to honor the rules, this hobby would not last. In my 20 years of the hobby, I have seen sectional ballast shifted and shipped. I have seen other skippers abuse the rules by using different batteries to increase weight or lower weight or just moving the batteries from the aft keel to forward of the ballast. I just don't see that as being a serious problem.

I heard one skipper tell me that it would cause a lot of damage if the boat was dropped off a table and landed on the deck. I believe it would. I also believe that if a bull dozer drove over your boat, it would also be destroyed. As for your concern about shifting, if you see one of my boats, you will see that there is no way that the ballast can shift, even in heavy weather, if it is installed correctly.

Tom Germer
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Re: Removable Ballast - cons??

Postby DonBarker » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:15 pm

Tom, thanks for the detailed reply. I had forgotten about the mast compression post "pinning" the ballast in the pocket. I know what I am going to do this winter.
Don Barker
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Re: Removable Ballast - cons??

Postby Capt. Flak » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:24 am

I have just spent several days at Tom's garage building a new boat and rebuilding an old one. In both cases we used Tom's removable ballast system. I can tell you that there is just about no way those leads are going to move unless you flip the boat upside down and pound it on a table. Once you remove the radio board and compression post, you still need to attach the handle so that you can yank the lead out of the boat. They do not just lift straight out. You need to first slide them forward and then lift and it is not all that easy. It takes some muscle.

The best thing about the system was getting the boat ballasted correctly. We set her in the tank with the radio board loosely fitted and all the deck hardware in place as well as a weight to reflect the weight of the rig. Then we played around with the lead until we got the boat exactly where we wanted. In this case about a half degree bow up and around 42.25 waterline.

In the case of the old boat, we had to cut off about 24 oz off the back of the lead and move it to the front. Tom made a simple mold out of sheet metal just shaped with a hammer and we melted down the chunk of lead we cut off and poured it on the front of the lead. Then we did a little fine shaping, just to clean it up and retanked the boat. There is a little bit of trial and error, but if you have some small weights, you can play around with them inside the boat until you are happy and then, cut or add lead until it is right.

With the new boat, the lead was from a mold rather than poured in the hull and it only required a small amount of cutting and adding. Only about 8 oz was cut off the back of the lead and added to the front to get the boat to sit where we wanted her.

I will probably never do it, but if you wanted you could make a lite air ballast and a heavy air ballast. Just do not change them after the first heat is sailed in a regatta. That would be a NO-NO!

I do not plan on removing my radio board and ballast after every sail like Tom does. I will only do it for maintenance and hopefully one day for that trip down under. But that trip is a long way off for my checkbook.

Long story short, I like the system and I recommend it.
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Re: Removable Ballast - cons??

Postby marcsmith » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:40 pm

I am currently rebuilding an ec12.. which has the ballast epoxied in place. :(

my first 12 has the "tom system" being able to remove the ballast makes life very easy...

I'm still looking for a way to get the ballast out of the boat I'm doing a refurbish on...
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