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Re: [bolger] Safety of ballasted vs. unballasted open boats

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  • Jeff Gilbert
    Id like to be in a Chebaco, with a few small, carefully placed water-ballast tanks built in. (And wearing an anti-design-altering flame suit) Jeff
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 1, 2000
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      Id like to be in a Chebaco, with a few small, carefully placed water-ballast
      tanks built in.
      (And wearing an anti-design-altering flame suit)
      Jeff

      >which would
      >you rather be in - an unballasted Chebacco or a ballasted Romilly?
    • Richard Spelling
      I vote for the will float if swamped option... Part of the reason for making a wooden boat... How I respond to people asking what do you make your boats out
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 1, 2000
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        I vote for the "will float if swamped" option...
        Part of the reason for making a wooden boat...

        How I respond to people asking "what do you make your boats out of"?:

        Wood. Wood floats. What else would you make a boat out of?

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        ---------
        I was wondering what this group thought about the safety aspect of
        these two approaches. Keep in mind that I am not proposing that the
        boat purposely be taken out in conditions where this is a concern,
        but
        unexpected and unpredictable things can happen. Should you get
        caught
        in conditions that stretch the capabilities of the boat, which would
        you rather be in - an unballasted Chebacco or a ballasted Romilly?
      • Orr, Jamie
        You should know that I m biased, I chose Chebacco. But if you plan to travel, the lighter weight is less trouble on the trailer, and that means visits to more
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 1, 2000
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          You should know that I'm biased, I chose Chebacco.

          But if you plan to travel, the lighter weight is less trouble on the
          trailer, and that means visits to more cruising areas are more likely to
          happen. (My oldest and most used boat is a canoe on top of the car.) I
          find Chebacco goes on and off very easily, and my Chrysler mini-van doesn't
          show any strain at all. That chunk of lead in Romilly will double your
          weight -- maybe someone else can comment on trailering a heavier boat, I
          haven't the experience.

          Jamie Orr

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Ralph Wight [mailto:UncleRalph@...]
          Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2000 12:35 PM
          To: bolger@egroups.com
          Subject: [bolger] Safety of ballasted vs. unballasted open boats


          I am considering building either a Bolger designed Chebacco or a
          Nigel
          Irens Romilly for my next boat building project. They have a number
          of similarities:

          - Similar LWL (19 to 19.5 ft.)
          - Large day sailing cockpit (9 to 10 ft.)
          - Small cuddy cabin (6 to 7 ft.)
          - Centerboard with shallow keel.
          - Strip plank construction, although Chebacco is deigned for other
          methods also.
          - Unstayed cat-yawl rig, although Romilly is a lug and Chebacco is a
          gaff.
          - Built in accommodation for an outboard motor.

          The one major difference is that the Chebacco is unballasted, relying
          on form and crew weight for stability, whereas the Romilly has about
          1300 pounds of lead ballast.

          My question pertains to the safety inherent in these two approaches
          to
          stability in a basically open boat. My first thought was that the
          ballasted Romilly would be less susceptible to capsize and thus
          "safer". (I know Phil Bolger and Bill Samson, the editor of the
          Chebacco News say no Chebacco has ever capsized, but...) On
          further
          thought, at least if the unballasted Chebacco capsized it would still
          be floating, however, I would think, that the Romilly with 1300
          pounds
          of ballast and a 10 foot long non-self bailing cockpit would sink if
          swamped.

          I was wondering what this group thought about the safety aspect of
          these two approaches. Keep in mind that I am not proposing that the
          boat purposely be taken out in conditions where this is a concern,
          but
          unexpected and unpredictable things can happen. Should you get
          caught
          in conditions that stretch the capabilities of the boat, which would
          you rather be in - an unballasted Chebacco or a ballasted Romilly?

          Thanks,

          Ralph Wight


          Bolger rules!!!
          - no cursing
          - stay on topic
          - use punctuation
          - add your comments at the TOP and SIGN your posts
          - add some content: send "thanks!" and "ditto!" posts off-list.
        • Foster Price
          Ralph Wrote ... The sailing characteristics of these boats will be quite different and should be the biggest factor in your choice - a boat suited to local
          Message 4 of 7 , Aug 1, 2000
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            Ralph Wrote
            > The one major difference is that the Chebacco is unballasted, relying
            > on form and crew weight for stability, whereas the Romilly has about
            > 1300 pounds of lead ballast.
            >


            The sailing characteristics of these boats will be quite different and
            should be the biggest factor in your choice - a boat suited to local
            conditions is always best and usually safest.

            Romilly will have good momentum and will still sail well in windy, short
            choppy conditions that will drive you nuts in Chebacco. In flatter water
            (usually with less wind) Chebacco should be a dream and will sail past
            Rommily.

            There are heaps of ballasted open boats eg Dark Harbour Class, Bullseyes,
            Herreschoff 12 1/2's, and they don't regularly drown people.

            Lastly, when one starts their boating or building a boat they usually get a
            bit obsessed with saftey/seaworthyness - I know I did. Symptoms are reading
            all the "Survival at sea/Disaster" books, carefully studying the saftey
            features of plans etc. etc. After a while the anxiety eases and you get on
            with sailing. Its inportant not to let this faze unduly influence your
            choice of boat or you'll end up doing what I did - building 2 boats before
            the "right" one.

            Regards - Foster
          • KF4call@aol.com
            To all, There is another safety related design characteristic that is not yet been mentioned here...it is the self righting capacity of the boat. When I was
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 1, 2000
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              To all,
              There is another safety related design characteristic that is not yet
              been mentioned here...it is the "self righting" capacity of the boat. When I
              was faced with the choice, I went with a weighted keel design. This was
              because the boat was also described as "self righting". (Bolger designed
              Oldshoe) Is it possible to get "self righting" capability that will work in
              most conditions in an unballasted boat? Here in Florida , USA, we must be
              prepared for sudden afternoon thunderstorms with winds that have substantial
              strength and unpredictable direction , but (in my sailing area) not
              especially large seas.
              Regards, Warren
            • wmrpage@aol.com
              In a message dated 8/1/00 2:37:24 PM Central Daylight Time, UncleRalph@aol.com writes:
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 5, 2000
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                In a message dated 8/1/00 2:37:24 PM Central Daylight Time,
                UncleRalph@... writes:

                << which would
                you rather be in - an unballasted Chebacco or a ballasted Romilly?
                >>
                IMHO - I'd rather be in a boat that floats! This advice from someone who
                managed to sink a "Bolgeresque" boat in 3' of water not 2 miles for Port
                Everglades (or whatever) with two elderly gentlemen aboard and ended up
                seriously worried about the likelihood that hypothermia would be a problem.

                Bill in MN
              • Frank San Miguel
                at the risk of beating a dead horse,... I sailed a completely open boat, a 21 Drascombe Longboat, for 20 years and I would rather weather a gale on her than
                Message 7 of 7 , Aug 7, 2000
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                  at the risk of beating a dead horse,...

                  I sailed a completely open boat, a 21' Drascombe Longboat, for 20
                  years and I would rather weather a gale on her than on most 30
                  footers that I know of.

                  She draws 1', is lightly ballasted in the form of a galvanized steel
                  centerboard and has positive flotation in the form of foam laced
                  under the seats, but it is her rig that sets her apart. I've never
                  had to test her floatation even though I've sailed her through storms
                  in the Chesapeake with a double reefed main and furled jib and mizzen
                  eating a peanut butter sandwich while most of the big guys scurried
                  in to harbor (and done other stupid things besides).

                  In my opinion, the rig contributes most to a boat's seaworthiness,
                  sail shortening effectiveness being the most important. Next comes
                  ballast & hull shape. To contrast, I also sailed a Rhodes 19 with a
                  deep bulb keel when I was growing up, but the shallow, light,
                  centerboard Drascombe (21' ft) was easily 10 times more able in a
                  storm.

                  Frank San Miguel
                  Monument, CO
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