Forum - Keel and Centre Plate - Ballast keel help please

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Ballast keel help please 3Sun 10 Mar 2019 16:26:53
Drucouloir Drucouloir Wed 06 Mar 2019 10:28:36 Hello, if there's anyone out there with experience of the ballast keel I'd be very grateful for your opinion of the following please.

I've been talking to an owner/seller who tells me that the keel slot on his boat was welded closed before he bought it. He only ever used it as a motor boat and knows very little about the boat and nothing about the potential for opening up the slot again.

So my questions are:
- What is the ballast keel made of? Cast iron, mild steel, something else. I've heard of ballast keels being concrete encapsulated in GRP but then you wouldn't be able to weld it closed.

- Is the ballast keel bolted through the hull? If it has been welded then I'd much rather drop it off the bottom to sort it out.

I'm wondering whether the previous owner really meant rusted closed with the drop keel in place.

Unfortunately the boat's a day's drive away so having a look myself is very difficult.

Thank you for reading this far, any thoughts gratefully received.


Drucouloir Drucouloir Wed 06 Mar 2019 10:53:40 I'm an idiot, apologies, just found fantastic info on just this issue on the wonderful Mekicevica blog.

mhsorens mhsorens Wed 06 Mar 2019 18:29:23 Hi @Druculoir,

Sounds like a job for a grinder, unless, as you say, the keel hasn't actually been welded shut.

I bought my boat with the centreboard seemingly rusted and irretrievably stuck inside the ballast keel (apart from the fact that it was installed all wrong, so the it would never retreat all the way into the keel).

Initially, I was prepared to drop the ballast keel, but - after first trying assorted chisels and files - I found that an old handsaw very easily cut through the few mm of rust on either side of the centreboard.

Lots of rust came down, but remember that 1 mm of steel corresponds til 8-10 mm of rust, so not a lot of ballast mass would have been lost to rusting.
Ballast keel help please
Drucouloir Drucouloir Sun 10 Mar 2019 16:26:53 Hey there, thanks for coming back to me. Unfortunately the boat went elsewhere in the end so this is a problem for another time.

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