Keel construction

Beiträge: 127
Registriert: Freitag 8. Juli 2011, 17:14

Keel construction

Beitrag von BalladExchangeDB »

Hi all!

I have had my Ballad for almost 2 years now, and I just love the boat more and more. When we were to buy it, we compared Ballad, Comfort 30 and Scampi, and looked at several boats of all 3 types. The Ballad was absolutely the best.

However, one thing that is commonly regarded as a "weak point" with the Ballad is the construction of the keel. Bonded in ballast, with only a reinforced plastic to hold it. There is a pretty deep space below the cabin floor, until the actual ballast starts. The sides of that space is glasfibre reinforced polyester. OK, the material is quite thick according to the handbook:
- Freeboard below waterline: 10 mm
- Keel transition: 25 mm ( I assume this means the part above the actual ballast, and where it connects to the hull)
- Keel side: 6 mm

25 mm of GAP can take a lot of load. But still I am interested to hear from anyone who have had accidential contact a sea rock at high speed? It can happen in the rocky Swedish waters... Is there any chance that the keep would "break loose" and leave a large gaping hole... Nightmare indeed. Or what happens if you hit a rock at, lets say, 5 knots.

We accidentially hit a rock while steaming slowly into a harbour last summer, at approximately 1.5 knots. Just a light touch and no damage what so ever.

Loking forward to answers
Best regards

Ballad 1421, Sophina
Beiträge: 127
Registriert: Freitag 8. Juli 2011, 17:14

Re: Keel construction

Beitrag von BalladExchangeDB »

jespermilling wrote on Apr 8, '08
The keel won't fall off. I think the construction is very strong.

We hit a rock, and a big chunk of fiberglass was chipped off. A few months later it was repaired at a highly respected boatyard (Walsted in Denmark) and they remarked that the GRP was very dry, in spite of beeing cut open. The lead was a little deformed, but other than that it was easily repaired, except for the fact it was winter and they had to provide a tent around the keel (working outdoors) while reparing it.

The top back end of the keel had a crack, in the area between keel and hull, but that turned out to be an old damage, because when sanding it, down it had old dirt in it. The crack must have been the result of a very hard landing, or a very hard hit, on a rock. But it was nothing serious, and was easily repairde too.

If you are looking for disaster in the keel area, check out the Mast Step discussion here. and here.

Jesper Milling
msn-jiiku wrote on Apr 8, '08

Don't worry, it really stands even you find a rock from sea when your speed is over 5 knots. The boat is very strong. I know....

-jere kuusinen
msn-redmed6 wrote on Apr 10, '08
Thanks: I had the same apprehension, but so far so good.

Where do you sail?

Got any pictures?

I've got 1411.

I bought the boat in Sweden (from Albin Hallen) about eight years ago.

Biggest problems have been the engine, the hull gel coat and the rigging (preetty big!)
msn-joetighe wrote on Apr 11, '08
I hit a submerged bridge piling at close to 6 knots: scary. I left the boat in the water for over a year. When I pulled it out to repaint, I saw that the collision took a hunk of glass from the keel and exposed the lead beneath is all. Easy fix; the exposed glass wasn't even damp. You're fine.

Joe Tighe
Littebit #1287
msn-vcjones wrote on Apr 12, '08

Hi, all--
I actually prefer fiberglass-encapsulated keel
construction in older boats, because the other option
(in production boats of this vintage, anyway) is
having keel bolts hold the keel in place. These bolts
rust over time, and can require expensive maintenance
and replacement.

I have had several hard groundings in the Ballad--the
Chesapeake Bay is very shallow in spots. The most
horrific one was in October 2001 when I ran hard
aground on a sand bar going downwind (about 25-30kts).
I was in three feet of water and heeled over. I had to
have a towboat tow me OVER the bar into deeper water.
Seemed like it took an eternity, but it was probably
only about 1/2 hour or so of slowly moving over the
sand bar.

I was sure I had lost my keel. The next morning, we
hauled it out of the water to take a look. The only
problem was that the bottom paint at the base of the
keel had all rubbed off. I think I would call this
ordeal the supreme test of how well the Ballad keel
holds up.

Incidentally, my sailing skills have improved
exponentially since then, but I still believe in
carrying unlimited towing insurance--especially in the
Chesapeake Bay and Intracoastal Waterway.

Cathi Jones, Lyric
Baltimore, MD
msn-chrish123ca wrote on Apr 12, '08
On Friday 11 April 2008 09:38:23 pm VCJones wrote:

Just out of interest is your Ballad the one from GBSB in Mayo MD? Just
wondering what ever happened to the one they had for sale last year.

msn-vcjones wrote on Apr 12, '08
Hi--I bought mine from GBSB, but back in 2000. I
would buy the Ballad, but I don't think I would go
back there to buy a boat again.
I know not to ever buy a boat without a survey, but in
future I will also never buy one without an engine
survey, and GBSB didn't allow one--probably because
they knew that the engine in mine was about shot. I
ended up re-powering the next year. Cathi
msn-sophina_albinballad wrote on Apr 13, '08

Thank you for all the answers. It sounds great that your experience is that the keel is so strong. The reason for my question was that in some litterature, the keel construction of the Ballad was described as a weak point. Example, the well known book "500 segelbåtar i test" (500 yachts in test) by Curt Gelin.

But thanks; now I feel more confident about the keel (although I still will try to avoid hitting a rock :)

Best regards

..Sailing mostly in Stockholm archipeligo
msn-basinet wrote on Apr 14, '08

Like Cathi, I prefer an encapsulated ballast to keel bolts. To me, they are similar to a hinge point and are a source of worry. Have seen more than a few boats with rusted/broken bolts causing the ballast to separate from the hull. Locally, this is known as "The Smile"...........

Several years ago a friend of mine (Ornaith Murphy) sailed her Ballad to New Zealand and then, as she later said "not knowing any better", went southeast into the southern oceans (Roaring Forties). After encountering waves "as high as the masthead." She fell off a paricularly large one and said it was like riding in a runaway elevator as the desent took several seconds before striking bottom with a terrible crash. After a subsequent lightning strike and a head injury she sailed to Fiji for repairs. A crack was found in the hull just aft of the keel, other than fried instruments there wasn't any other damage. After this incident, it was her opinion that the Ballad could take "just about anything that was thrown at it and hold together."

I think you have made a good choice in selecting the Albin. Have owned my boat
for twelve years and, thanks to the excellent design and construction, have survived many foolish adventures.

Acqua di Vita
msn-kuk wrote on Apr 17, '08
Hi all,

On last trip in the fall I hit a large rock with about 5.5 knots. Allthough I will NOT recommend anybody to do so (it does not feel nice) the keel had surprisingly little damage, and absolutely no damage to the construction itself. Only a chunk of the glass fiber was gone, which was rtelatively easy repaired with some epoxy from West System.

Happy sailing