As you know, if you read my blog, I chose fixed ballast for Shackleton.
Possible advantages may include:
- Simplicity (fixed and always present)
- Lower center of gravity (placed directly onto the bottom of the hull)
- Lower maintenance (no water intrusion into the hull)
- No mussel transport (big deal in Idaho…mandatory inspections at state lines)
- Increased storage (not that anyone needs more storage in a Scamp)
- Safer (impossible to forget to fill with water)
- Quicker (nothing to fill & top off)
- Adjustable (by cutting 3/4″ dummy blanks to take the place of the steel)
Possible disadvantages may include:
- Steel plates may rust (but I don’t think they will because I epoxied them with graphite)
- The steel plates could clank around inside the vault and gain momentum (I built the vault very tight to the steel. I then added nylon straps around the steel to keep them off each other and to provide a bit of a bumper effect. These straps also allow me to lift out the steel plates if needed)
- I may get condensation in the vault (I’ll need to keep an eye on this and possibly drill a few holes through the vault for proper ventilation if it becomes a problem. The nylon straps also provide a slight air gap around all the plates)
- Heavier trailering weight (not much though…like hauling around your skinny buddy in the trailer, approx. 175 lb.)
- Inadequate hull strength (I epoxied an additional 3/4″ bottom plate directly onto the 3/8″ hull, and then filleted this plate to all the surrounding bulkheads to tie it in place. The sides of the vault were built onto this bottom plate)
Enough talk…let’s see the photos
This is looking down into the vault. The lid has been places onto the hinged hatch cover. You can see the stainless thumb screws and washers on the non skid. Yes, the lid fits through the hatch…but just barely. And, yes I did have this figured out ahead of time…but just barely.
If you look very closely, you can see the head of the center board pivot bolt at the far right side of the storage compartment. I reversed the head position of the CB bolt for easier access. This will allow me to keep an eye on the CB bolt.
Behold the mighty six steel plates. This is the moment of pure and utter reverence…please offer up a minute of silence here. Notice the nylon straps going around each plate. They provide a cushion between the plates and allow me to lift them out of the vault if needed. Otherwise, it would be next to impossible to remove the plates. They weight around 27 lb. each. Notice how tightly they fit. Possibly another moment of silence may be in order. The top also snugs down onto the nylon straps, so in the event of a capsize, the plates are held securely in place. I’m feeling some serious love here!
It felt a little symbolic dropping the weights down into the vault today. Sort of like I was breathing life into Shackleton. I wanted to share this moment with you so you could revel in the joy that both boat and builder felt at this time. I can feel things coming together for Shackleton. I’m hoping to have everything completed within another 2 -3 weeks. I’ll keep posting my progress.