Woodside, California

Does anybody have, or know where we can find, between 100 and 200lb (50 and 100kg) of lead shot? Preferably in the Bay Area, as weight-based postage costs could be prohibitive!

Today I was obsessed with weight – not mine, for a change. This was the weight of my boat. I took the Brocade and her trailer to a public scale in Hayward as part of my investigations into how much ballast I need to add to avoid last year’s capsizing problems. This is a VERY high priority for me, as capsizing is really rather painful, and definitely not conducive to either a successful crossing or a good night’s sleep…

At the end of the weighing exercise, these were the scores on the doors:

Total weight of car + boat + trailer = 8,400lb
Car = 6,020lb (yikes! but it does have most of my worldly goods in it too…)
Trailer = 625lb

So boat = 1,755lb (or 796kg)

This was with most but not all stuff on board. Still to come: Pelican cases of technology, some food, and assorted spares.
Also not included was water ballast, and I would expect to take 75 litres, i.e. 75kg of water.

Once these are added, the total weight will be about 921kg (2,030lb).

And there are the oars to take into account. These were probably a major factor in the capsize. They are heavy, and have to be stowed high on the boat because there is nowhere else for them to go.

I have two oars with lead cuffs, and two without. Weights are:
With cuffs: 13.6lb (6.2kg) x 2
Without cuffs: 10.6lb (4.8kg) x 2

Making a total of 22kg (48lb). This compares with the carbon fibre oars that I had last year, which were about 3.6lb each (1.6kg). So the new oars are THREE TIMES as heavy as the old ones – but all the old ones broke, and I’d rather have 4 heavy oars that don’t break, than 4 light oars that do.

I have now sent all this information to the boat designer in the UK so he can finalize his calculations of the amount of ballast I need.

Problem is: we are struggling to find lead shot, which would be the ideal way to add ballast to the odd little spaces under the hatches. Apparently everybody uses cartridges these days rather than shot. We could use concrete, but this will be harder to weigh before putting it into the hull.

Hence my plea. Do please get in touch via the Contact form on this website if you have a solid suggestion as to where we can source some lead shot.

Thank you!

[photo: proposed changes to the skeg of the boat]

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