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Lead ballasted centerboard cs17 mk1


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Has anyone used lead ballast on the centerboard of a CS17 mk1?  If so...what are your observations with regard to:


General stability

heeling in heavy wind

need for reefing

impact on pivot/centerboard case....any structural changes required?

difficulty of raising the board

reduction of speed/agility


If the ballast was helpful....how much weight is needed? How much is too much?


any significant drawbacks?


I have read several posts regarding general pros and cons on this and other lists....would be interested in the direct experience of any who have made the lead ballast modification to the centerboard of a cs17 mk1.


thank you very much.




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Centerboards weighted like the CS are to eliminate the downhaul, not for any real stability as it is minimal at best. The total weight added is minimal, so there is no real affect on speed, healing or when one reefs.  I have never heard of any need for structural differences needed for weighted boards.  


This leaves difficulty of raising the board.  It will be heavier, so more force will be needed to raise it.  Some add advantage to the pulley system to overcome this.


Weighting the board is often done in conjunction with an enclosed trunk that doesn't use an arm.  Now we are talking a whole new ball game. There are definitely applications where the enclosed trunk with internal lines to a pulley system.  But it is a lot more work.  I considered it on my Lapwing.  But on a day sailor I saw little reason.  On a MKIII I would seriously consider it.

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   The CS17 mk1 sails best when it's sailed fairly flat - I think the boat will be heeling too much and slowing way down long before any weight added to the keel would do any good, and if you did add enough mass to make a difference in heeling, the boat woudn't handle as well or go as fast.

   I've got a nice little keel-boat that sails like a dream and handles great, but it was designed to carry the extra weight.  Although it's lots of fun to sail it's not the same experience as a CS17 on plane. :)

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I think of a heavy center board as more of a swing keel. If you lower the swing keel and leave it down until ready to load the boat on the trailer, then I guess they are ok, but they are a "pain" to deal with in shoal areas where you need to keep raising and lowering it. A boat like the CS-17 or 20 Mk-1 has designed in "form stability" and doesn't need a heavy ballasted board to provide stability. As others have said, you'd need a LOT of weight in the C/B to do any good. On the other hand, I like a board with just enough weight to sink it, but not so much to make raising it a chore. The Mk-3 boats have this type of board, but extra stability comes from their water ballast, not the board.

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You probably saw this post re lead tip for the centerboard: http://sailnaway.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-little-side-project.html. Thanks to Alan for doing it.


The weight is about 18 lbs. I can see that it's not enough for ballast. Like you, I would like to know how much lead would be required.


I have used a centerboard with 15 lbs of lead to keep the board down. Raising it is not an issue because the flotation of the centerboard makes the lead surprisingly light when it's in the water. The ballasted centerboard still needs a hold down to keep it from slamming back into the trunk in case of capsize. 


If you need to shape the lead casting so it's fair with the centerboard, I found a router with a carbide bit was effective.

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