Monday 11 September 2023

Moving The Boat | Ballast Bags

It began to seem increasingly possible the we might launch the boat this year, and for that we would need a lot of ballast to go under the floorboards, next to the centreboard case.

I purchased the ballast a long time ago, in the shape of 80 kilograms of lead pellets. They are actually off cuts from some manufacturing process, and they look like this.

They seem ideal, and would be perfect stored in bags in the bilges. The bags would obviously need to breathe and be water and rot proof, so some sort of man made material was required.

I saw on the PocketShip forum that a builder in the US had made his bags from something called Phifertex, which is an upholstery material designed for all things nautical. So I bought a 2m length.

The build manual states that a minimum of 36 kg should be stored in the forward compartment of the bilges, under the lift-out floorboard sections.

I measured the compartment and found that the bags should be 33cm long, so made a protype from a square piece of Phifertex.

Here I am making it.

I stapled the sides together rather than sewing them at this stage.

The test bag held 8kg of pellets, weighed on the kitchen scales in lots of 2kg.

This is the test bag.

And here it is in place, in the bilges.

I was doubtful that there was room for 40kg in each compartment, but there was easily room for five bags and even more.

The manual recommends adding more ballast if the boat is to be sailed solo or lightly loaded, which I plan to do.

So I ordered another 20kg of pellets and will increase the load to 50kg on each side of the boat.

Time to make the bags … I cut enough squares of Phifertex to make twelve bags. Like this.

I am now awaiting a slot in the work schedule of the custodian of the sewing machine to complete the ballast bags.

That was fun!

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