New Ballad owner

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Bob McGovern
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

New Ballad owner

Post by Bob McGovern » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:27 am

Hello. I just purchased a 1972 Ballad (HIN 375K9342) from eBay. It is presently lying in Chicago, USA, but will be shipped to our home in Wyoming as soon as we can arrange it. The boat seems to be much as it was first made, with few changes to the early Ballad design.

The Ballad has been my favorite boat since I first saw it -- it has those Folkboat lines that I like best. So I have been keeping one eye open for the right boat at the right time. I'm not sure this is the right time, but the price was ridiculous & the original Penta diesel seems to be still running, so we jumped at it. We hope to spend 2-3 years stripping and refitting the boat like Peter Jacobs has (thanks SOOO much for the web resource, Peter! I will be reading it over and over.). We are planning to cruise down the West Coast and park the boat in Mexico for a few years, then maybe head off across the Pacific. We are strictly cruisers rather than racers, so we will be adding roller furling, good sea berths, lots of stowage, and additional ventilation.

We currently own also a Chrysler Buccaneer 18 racing dinghy (may sell that) and a San Juan 21 trailer sailboat, a delightful little craft and very Dutch in appearance -- but too small for serious cruising. We mostly sail lakes here in Wyoming (a very high, windy place) but have twice taken the SJ21 to Catalina Island off Los Angeles.

Thank you for creating and maintaining this site. We will be pestering you for advice and documenting our progress over the next couple years. Cheers!

Bob McGovern
Wyoming, USA

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prjacobs
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:06 pm

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by prjacobs » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:05 am

I guess that now makes me the second newest member, so I can say "Welcome, Bob"! I look forward to seeing some "before" photos, as well as pictures of restoration progress.
Cheers!

Bob McGovern
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by Bob McGovern » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:41 pm

Thanks, Peter. We're starting from a better place than you did:

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Not filled with leaves and standing water like yours. :shock: Our Ballad was in weekly use right up to the sale. Essentially, the previous owners were facing the cost & hassle of pulling & storing the Ballad for the Great Lakes winter & decided to take the tax write-off instead. Lucky me! A low purchase price gives us more time & headspace for improvements.

One of the first considerations will be tankage, for cruising. We're not fans of motoring, so a modest diesel tank will serve. Did you replace the original metal fuel tank? Water is going to be the bigger issue. We don't want a watermaker, so we will need 30-40 gallons aboard. Besides the V-berth tank, did you include any other water storage?

Not sure about this nav station. In some ways, it's pretty handy. But it totally wipes out the port-side quarterberth. Not sure how useful that berth is anyhow, but I like options.

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prjacobs
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:06 pm

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by prjacobs » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:17 am

Bob,
Your boat is a beauty ... what a score!
It looks like an earlier model, with the gold-colored Proctor mast and the aft-facing nav station. Do you know the hull number?

To answer your questions:
Fuel tank: We kept the original tank and had it cleaned at a radiator shop, also pressure tested for leaks. We motor quite a bit around here, and carry a couple of 10 liter jugs in case we run short or will be in areas with no fuel docks.

Water tank: Again, kept the original, as it's the same size as our Vega's which has worked out well. That said, we do keep our drinking water in a separate 18 liter plastic jug in the cockpit locker, connected to the second faucet at the sink.

Nav Station: Ours is forward-facing, and leaves good access to the quarter berth. I'm looking forward to having a dedicated nav station, and the quarter berth looks like a good spot to stow sails, leaving more room in the forward cabin. This berth seems quite large compared to the one in my old San Juan 24, which was more like a sarcophagus than a berth.

I like the four drawers under the main cabin settees, but (again from Vega experience) the storage forward of the drawers is not too handy. It might be a good spot to install a couple of flexible water bladders if you need more capacity. And it would place the extra weight evenly at the center of the boat ... just a thought.

There're some interesting modifications on the old Ballad forum. One that looks good is a dinnette conversion of the starboard berth. Another one is a slide out platform making a double bed in the main cabin. The text of the article is there, and I have the pictures on file that Jesper posted. If it's OK with him I'd like to re-post the whole article complete with pictures. Jesper ...?

Are you going to sail the boat a bit before starting work on it? I've never sailed one, nor even sat on one in the water, so it's been a leap of faith that it'll be what I want. Judging from comments from other Ballad sailors I don't think I'll be disappointed!

Bob McGovern
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by Bob McGovern » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:33 pm

HIN (or rather proto-HIN) is 375K9342. I have no idea how to read that. It is supposedly a 1972 hull. We're going frantic right now, with waves on southern Lk Michigan forecast over 30'. Burnham Harbor is long, narrow, and opens south, so unless the seiche lifts the docks off their anchors or the breakwater crumbles, the biggest danger would be wind chafing the mooring lines or surge beating the boat to death in its slip. The PO was going to move it to a more northerly slip & add extra lines; dunno if he did. So we may not actually have a boat after today. :cry:

Assuming it survives.... Is the diesel tank aluminum, or steel? Easy to remove?

We've looked at bladder water tanks; they may be a solution for us, esp. if we don't remove all the casework. The Sea of Cortez is very dry, and watering spots can be far between. Certainly can't rely on rain catchment: they get about 7" of precip a year!

Quarterberth is not a 'coffin berth', tho it's a strange size -- too tight for two adults, too wide to make a safe seaberth w/out padding it out somehow. Has anyone ever really tried fitting in the Ballad's outboard pilot berths? :lol: My partner looked at those and said, "No." The salon berths appear just fine. Add some lee cloths or boards, good to go.

We're thinking maybe a drop-leaf salon table with one end riding in the mast slot; then a telescoping center post. If you raise the leafs and lower the table, it would give you a king-size bed. You could sleep lengthwise or athwartship at anchor. It would be like a cheesy 1970's conversion van. 8-)

Our first order of business will be new lazarette hatch covers -- fiberglass, I think, with positive latching. Deck hardware is going to be really tricky. Like you, we haven't ever sailed the Ballad & won't do so before the refit. That's a crazy way to operate, but it's what we have to work with. I know we can get the interior right. Deck hardware is going to involve lots of guesswork re: sailplan. That's where I'll be relying on this community so much. :) Pure guesswork: I think we want a more powerful mainsail. Maybe a longer boom, maybe just a roachier main with full battens and batt cars on the mast. Definitely roller furling on the big genny. Possibly a solent stay; more likely a babystay with checkstays, to take either a staysail genoa or a high-clewed staysail. Big free-flying nylon genoa/Code Zero for light air -- the best addition we made to our SJ21.

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Could put it on a removable furler, but we've found it real easy to douse from the cockpit using a snap shackle on the tack.

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What are your deck layout ideas, Peter? Looks like you're getting close to that point in the restoration.

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prjacobs
Posts: 228
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Re: New Ballad owner

Post by prjacobs » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:14 am

Bob,
I hope your new boat weathers the storm OK!
The fuel tank is stainless steel and mine was easy to remove from the starboard cockpit locker.

I'm going with all sail controls at the mast, for now, but may lead some of them aft later if needed. My San Juan 24 had all lines led aft and the cockpit was a rat's nest of lines, not to my liking. While I'm still nimble I'll clip-in and scoot up to the mast like I do on the Vega.

My ballad has a bronze plate on the face of the bridge deck with the number on it:
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At one time someone had a cabin top full of hardware, but this was all removed by the last owner, who seemed to favor keeping things as simple as possible. Again, that's what I'm staying with until I've sailed the boat for a season.

As for lengthening the boom, I've read the Ballad can have quite a weather helm in windy conditions. You may want to do a little research on that one.

If you have Pilot berths your boat is an earlier one. There are some interesting facts on the different options in "A brief presentation of ALBIN BALLAD".

On the German Ballad site there is an English Ballad Manual , and also a lot of the Ballad's construction drawings. I found these drawings very helpful in discovering that the main bulkhead support that bolts to the coachroof sides was missing the reinforcement filler between the liner and the cabin side, on both sides. Actually, it was in there but was 15cm too far forward, according to the drawings! The boat seemed none the worse for this after all these years, but I remedied the situation by adding fillers in the right places anyway.

My mast is presently at the riggers getting a bend (about 8' from the top) removed. It was damaged when the boat was hauled out several years ago. The rigger is confident he can return it to good condition.
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Here we are, chatting away about our boats like two old pros, and we haven't even really sailed them yet! The rest of the forum members must be smiling. :D

Again, good luck with the storm!

Bob McGovern
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by Bob McGovern » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:45 pm

Heck, we haven't even seen ours, yet. :lol: The enthusiasms of the new boat owner. Thanks for the links -- more wintertime reading material. We can infest the various subforums with our speculations in the future. ;)

Several IOR boats, notably the Peterson 34/35/36/37 (aka Ganbare), have somewhat balanced their sailplans by lengthening the mainsail foot, while reducing the default Genoa to the #2 or even #3. Now that the IOR rule is kaput, there's no reason (unless racing OD) to carry that insane LP, or to swap out seven headsails. Strangely, lengthening the boom had no effect on helm balance on the Petersons. That's apparently because all the late drag off the leech & clew (plus fabric stretch) puts the center of effort of the Genoa behind the mast, level with the mainsail's C of E! That G1's clew is even with the boom end.

So a smaller Genoa (~135%), with less negative lift aft, has its C of E much farther forward than the 150%. Smaller lift force, but better located. On the Petersons at least, moving the jib's center forward has cancelled the effect of a longer E dimension. Strange, but (a P34 owner assures me) true. Would love to hear in the 'Sails' forum if anyone has tried this with the Ballad. Our (very limited) experience with 150% dacron headsails has been terrible. They have to be made so heavy to control fabric stretch, they won't inflate in the kinds of light wind+swells conditions you want them for. When the wind pipes up, they drive down the bows and the shape goes bad, especially on reaches. That's why we ditched our G1 for the drifter/Code0 on the SJ21. :) Better sail in every way, and it packs in a shoulder bag.

Seems like our boat is still alive & should be out of the water in a day or two. Yay. I won't sleep until it is safely parked behind the shop. :mrgreen:

Bob McGovern
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by Bob McGovern » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:34 pm

From the "newbie with too much spare time" files.... Here's a rough illustration of what I meant, imposed on the Ballad's sailplan. Red dots are (geometric) centers of effort of G1 and standard main, with the X roughly marking the combined C of E. Blue defines the centers of the stock G2 and a theoretical mainsail with 18" (46cm) longer boom.

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The combined C of E of the red pair is even with or behind the mast -- getting worse in strong winds, as the draft moves back and fabric stretches.

The combined C of E of the blue pair is forward and down. This increases the 'lead' relative to the center of lateral resistance. Counterintuitive that shrinking headsail size should reduce weather helm, but there ya go.

In course you would probably want a high-aspect G2 at full G1 hoist, like Liese describes in 'Sails' section. Your modified mainsail would now be ~197 sqft (18.3 m^2, up 15%); your standard Genoa around 285 sqft (26.5 m^2); total area sacrificed to standard main/G1 combo is about 35 sqft (3.25 m^2). Not trivial -- but most of that extra cloth on the G1 is pulling in the wrong direction! :|

I'm curious to learn how closely the Ballad's weather helm correlates to heel angle. Based on the behavior of our SJ21 (which is mainsail-biased, but has a Ballad-like hull profile), I would think heeling rather than fore-aft sailplan imbalance is the leading cause of a heavy tiller. It would be interesting to know if reducing heeling force via a smaller Genoa abates much of the helm problem. Here again, we're counting on the wisdom of others.;)

B173
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:10 am

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by B173 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:06 pm

Hi Bob,
Welcome to the Ballad world! Indeed, it is nice to read your correspondence with Peter. The Ballads are great sailers, I can assure you and if you come to Europe, there are a sufficient number to see and to sail. I have the B173 from 1973 and have the same identification plate Peter showed on the blog.

My 173 also has the nav station facing aft, which in my case is a removable desktop so the quarter berth is usable as a bed. I have the port pilot bed still (handy for luggage bags), the starboard one was removed and changed to shelving. I ll post some pictures.

I would suggest to keep the same boom length, but consider a change to a normal boom, not the rolling type. Opinions differ, but I prefer the normal reefing type. The trimming is designed for this boom.

Good luck with your project!

Bram
B173
Enkhuizen, Holland

Bob McGovern
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: New Ballad owner

Post by Bob McGovern » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:20 am

Thanks, Brom. I wish we had a chance to sail a Ballad before the refit, but that may not happen. My habit is to sort of mark out the boundaries of the possible, then work back towards a sensible compromise. :mrgreen: I would guess, if the mainsail is in tolerable condition, we will leave it and the boom alone for now. Buying a longer spar and mainsail to fit is something we could do after we've sailed it to Mexico. If the mainsail is bad and needs immediate replacement, we may be forced into an earlier decision on the boom.

The Ballad has a reputation for being "stiff as a church" (says yacht designer Robert Perry, who admires the boat and owns an Albin Cirrus/78). What angles of heel does it prefer upwind? Downwind? Does weather helm only happen when the boat heels past 30 degrees, or does it develop earlier than that?

Our little SJ21 requires 10-15 degrees of heel. No more, no less. If you sail it flat, the hull is too 'sticky'. If it heels more than 20 degrees sailing upwind, it tends to lose forward motion & just plows sideways through the water. Past thirty-five degrees, the rudder stalls completely and the boat rounds violently into the wind. It is a nice boat, but it does not like to be whipped hard. Will the Ballad tolerate being driven much harder?

For amusement, this is our little San Juan (which is a Dutch-looking boat!) plowing back to shore after being caught in 40kt winds. It is not a happy boat in this picture, tho we have learned it will survive any wind (and sail acceptably) on reefed-main-only.

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We hope you experienced Ballad sailors can tell us the best sail combinations for strong winds. It is a very different boat and sailplan than we are accustomed to.:)

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