Finally had some time to work on the boat again so I decided to tackle the keel bulb. For a crucible I used the bottom of a 55 gallon drum with a spout on the side. I then used an engine lift and attached chains slightly off center to the top of the crucible. To melt the lead, we put it on a propane crab (turkey) cooker. I also had a propane weed burner hand wand I used to preheat the molds and to heat the lead from the top. It took about 15 minutes to melt the 250 lbs of lead for each half of the keel. Once the lead was melted, we ever so slowly jacked the engine hoist which tipped the crucible pouring lead out the spout and into the mold. Again, we made sure we had lots of protection and respirators. Also we had a bit of a breeze and were able to always stay upwind. I was kind of nervous about the whole process...but it actually went remarkably smooth!
The keel came out of the molds and looked prettty nice. This picture shows the top and bottom halves put together. (but it's actually upside down here) The weight came out to 550 pounds...which, suprisingly, was what I was hoping it would be! I love it when a plan comes together!
Picture of a very happy me getting ready to chisel off the ridge where the two halves meet. Later I faired the bulb with compound...but it didnt need much.
This boat has never been built but what I'm hoping for is that if an old T-bird and a sexy little I550 got together, this boat would be their love child. For more info, check out the history section at the begining of this blog.
The boat is 26' feet long and 8' wide. With it's hard chines and tons of sail area it should go very well to windward--even in light air. I'm planning on a huge asymetrical chute for downwind which with the boats flat botom should get it planing very easily. Hopefully it'll be fast and fun!