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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?
    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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