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 Lead weights in the forward keel bolt compartment

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William.h.snow Posted - 06/14/2022 : 12:16:12
I am a new 250 MK II Wing Keel owner and I just opened up the forward keel bolt compartment in the bilge. I found three lead weights. I took them out to weigh them and together they totaled about 50 pounds. Do you think that this is something from the factory or did a previous owner go to all the trouble to add the weight? The following is a link to a picture of the weights.
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Stinkpotter Posted - 06/15/2022 : 19:26:50
There have been discussions here over the years about adding weight to the bow of the C-250 (I recall more were about the water ballast model) to reduce weather helm and improve tracking. It seems when the bow rides high, there's not enough hull surface below the waterline toward the bow, which might suggest lee helm. But bow-up, the mast might effectively be raked aft, suggesting weather helm, and less submerged surface forward will affect tracking in general. Whatever the dynamics, a number of people have reported improved control after adding weight (like a few hundred pounds of rocks or sand) to the bow compartment. You can use "Search" (above) to sleuth that out--try searching for "bow weight", all words, C-250 Forum, Subject only, and check Archived Posts. You'll find some discussions.
Voyager Posted - 06/15/2022 : 17:27:48
It was constructed so nicely, you could definitely mistake it for a factory installation.
Steve Milby Posted - 06/14/2022 : 15:57:54
Here's a link to a good discussion about adding ballast to the bow of a C250, but I'm not sure it should be considered the "final" word. helm

If you do an online search for "cause of weather helm" you'll usually get a reply that it's an "imbalance between a sailboat's Center of Effort and its Center of lateral resistance." The usual method for reducing weather helm on a sailboat is to reduce the rake of the mast, i.e., don't tilt the mast aft quite so much. The reason why adding ballast forward reduces weather helm is because, when you orient the boat bow-down, you are, in effect, tipping the mast forward.

But there is another cause of weather helm that is seldom discussed. When a sailboat is heeling to leeward, the aft component of keel drag is moved to windward. This creates a force (a turning moment) that pushes the bow to weather.

So, if your goal is to reduce weather helm, the two best ways to do it are to reduce the rake of the mast and to sail the boat as upright as possible. The latter objective means reducing sail area appropriately as the wind increases.

I don't think the previous owners main purpose in adding lead was primarily to give the boat a bow down orientation. I think it was to reduce weather helm by adding ballast to help reduce heeling.

The ballast should help your boat sail a bit better in all but light air. In light air it will make it a bit more difficult for you to intentionally induce the boat to heel, but you should still be able to make it heel enough by putting one crew member on the leeward rail.

I think it seems to be a well thought out mod by the previous owner. I'd suggest you leave it and see if you like it. You can always remove it if you don't.
DavidCrosby Posted - 06/14/2022 : 13:55:48
It is not factory, so something a previous owner has done. I see no harm in leaving them, although you may want to move them up near the bow. There are a lot of comments on this forum about the C250 needing more weight forward to help with weather helm, etc.

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