Building a sailboat is a constant quest for ballast. The bigger the boat, the bigger the quest. Unfortunately, lead seems to become harder and harder to get. I used to tour the regions scrap yards and buy there lead when some was available. For some reason, metal recyclers wont sell scrap metal anymore; that complicates things somewhat (or makes it substantially more expensive). Not helping the struggle, lead prices have spiked over the past few years.
We need a minimum total of 20,000lbs of ballast, of which 10,000lbs is integral to the hull. The rest of the ballast is “placed” to allow some trimming and possibly to lighten the boat if needed for land transport. Most of the “trim ballast” could be steel and we were lining up towards that route to solve our issue with lead availability (and cost). We only needed an other 1000lbs of lead to be poured in some custom shaped bins, the rest could be steel.
Last week, we bit the bullet and made a trip to Mars Metal, in Burlington, to purchase lead at the high price from the foundry. Our thought was just to get it done with the bins and later get the rest of our ballast in steel.
This turned out to be an interesting weekend trip. We were offered a tour of the foundry where most of North America’s sailboat keels are being made (and most other lead products).
Bonus! On the way back home, driving through Toronto, I found perfectly fitting work boots!! That is a feat, it is not easy to find wide small size work boots. Some day I’ll write about the challenges of finding fitting safety gear and using tools designed for men.
Back to my lead story. There was a boat, a few roads over from home which we have noticed to be in a deteriorating state and likely beyond recoverable. I have meant for a while to stop by and ask about that boat but procrastination ruled plan. For some reason, I finally decided to stop and find out the story of the old boat.
Side step in our boat building activities, we are currently busy destroying.
We never feel so good ending the existence of a boat, more so when its such a pretty vessel. Unfortunately, even the best built hulls, eventually have an end, and this one has reached some advanced state of deterioration. We find comfort in the fact we are disposing of this hull the most responsible possible way and will be giving a second life to all parts that can be reused or recycled.
Ultimately, we are looking for the lead but we found many more little treasures which will become parts of our own boat. There is no better treasures the the ones that come with a story, sometimes it has better value from being found then purchased.