How Much Does It Weigh?

I have various written accounts that talk about the building of Leda.  I’ve listened to oral histories when they have been available.  As I work on this site, it is the first time I have ever read all the documents and compared them to each other and the oral histories (as I remember them).

A few things are starting to make some sense.  If you have been following along at this web site since inception you will know that I have mentioned some questions about how much lead is in Leda’s keel.  I’m prepared to offer the newest information I have here.  While I may be the only person on the planet that actually cares, it is part of her history, design and affects her abilities, so from that stand point I will offer here what I have surmised.  If for no other reason than to try to set the record straight(er).  I might also assume that if any readers have survived this far into the reading of how the boat was built that they have a natural curiosity about such things!

Leda was designed with 6-tons of external ballast.  At some point I decided whether on my own or after talking to Dooley about it that this must have been long tons which would be closer to 13,500 pounds.  Dooley reported that they bought 7-tons of lead.  Sandy in his writing confirms this number.  However, this was all well before my opportunity to read Jim Young’s recollection of the event.

Jim Young reports that he told Dooley to buy an extra half ton of lead because he looked at the mold and thought they didn’t have enough lead to fill it.  There is a comment made by Sandy Wilson in his writing that makes sense to me now that I know this, “We had seven tons of lead, of which we wanted about 6-1/2 tons for the keel; the remaining half ton was in case of accidents.” 

Well, we know they had some accidents.  As it turns out none of the accounts agree on how many accidents or the extent.  But what we don’t really know is how much lead might have been lost.  Additionally, Jim Young also reports that the mold was still not completely filled.  This would leave me to believe they poured it all, minus whatever might have been lost due to mishap.

But then Jim Young also reports that due to the mold not being completely filled that the ballast was shifted forward on Leda’s keel timber before being faired.  Sandy reports a “number of laborious days planing the lead smooth”.  How much lead was removed in this process is certainly a number that will never be answered now.  

Over the years, I’ve gotten to using the figure of 7-tons, which appears to be an exaggeration.  I know that Leda’s construction plan shows that the ballast was increased.  Jim Young’s narrative also suggests it.  But unless I ever make good on my threat to sell it for scrap I will probably never know for sure.  As I said above, I might be the only person on the planet that cares.   But it is my hope that Leda will be sailing beyond my years and these details may one day be of use to somebody else who wants to know.

As one last comment here, Jim Young also makes comment of needing to keep the waterline length within the design rule (RORC).  I have yet to discover what that maximum length might be.  Perhaps there will be a reader that can help supply that information.  Regardless, I still need to make an effort at confirming her present waterline length!  I will put it on my list for the next time I have her up for a cleaning.

Next:  Finishing

Previous: Pouring the Keel