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Thread: Weighted keel on small sailboat

  1. #1
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    Default Weighted keel on small sailboat

    In my continuing search for the perfect small sailboat for myself, I raise this question: why do small boat designs shy away from having any sort of outside ballast keel?
    I like the stability of a weighted keel to keep me upright in a gust. In a centerboarder, I don't like that sudden heeling as a gust slams the boat. I love sailing on keel boats, but that doesn't seem to translate into small boats (16' or smaller).
    Is it that the designers just figure that crew weight is good enough ballast? Concerns that launching from a ramp is harder? Would a weighted keel of that small size not be enough to improve stability? I'm assuming there are good reasons from a NA point of view.
    Joel White's Haven 12 1/2 is a nice shoal draft boat that would work. Are there any others?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Swedish J14



    A Google of
    Långedragsjulle
    (long keel dinghy) will bring more info.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    I
    I like the stability of a weighted keel to keep me upright in a gust. In a centerboarder, I don't like that sudden heeling as a gust slams the boat. I love sailing on keel boats, but that doesn't seem to translate into small boats (16' or smaller).
    It may be possible to make use of water ballast for a smaller boat .

    Some thoughts here :

    https://www.bedardyachtdesign.com/ar...oat-stability/

    https://www.sailboat-cruising.com/wa...st-system.html

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    For ballast to be effective it has to be some distance from the centre of buoyancy, either as rail meat sitting out, or at the bottom of a fin.
    That J14 on a trailer


    Which makes trailer sailing much harder as launching requires suitable ramps and a real hassle if you are not going to launch the tow vehicle as well.

    The only way that ballast works on a shoal draft hull is in a traditional form that needs ballast to set her deeper in the water to provide form stability. Iin which case portable ballast like bags/drums of water, bags of shingle, or rocks will work. Stuff that will fall out so as not to sink the boat in case of capsize.

    Everything about small boats is a real compromise. If you really want to go for it there are these http://www.inter24metre.org/
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quite a lot of centreboarders use hefty steel plates, which puts it low down, but without the penalty of fixed draft.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    My Cape Dory Typhoon has a full keel, 900 lbs ballast, and a draft of 2' 7".

    Mango.jpg

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Echoing Nick’s comment on compromises, here are a few examples of small boats with ballasted box keels and weighted centerboards:

    Abeking and Rasmussen’s WWII era 6 meter day boat:

    37B9BD31-B73A-471B-B6E4-3E890B4B48D3.jpg

    9188F4FB-C9ED-4D43-8695-867D104D347A.jpg



    Jean Jacques Hurbulot’s post war Marauder (4.85m, with about 90kg between the keel and CB):

    A33A0CF0-F8B9-44C9-818B-C980819FAF79.jpg

    49E28247-E288-483E-B11F-C65EA8B01DAD.jpg

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by John hartmann View Post
    Echoing Nick’s comment on compromises, here are a few examples of small boats with ballasted box keels and weighted centerboards:

    Abeking and Rasmussen’s WWII era 6 meter day boat:

    37B9BD31-B73A-471B-B6E4-3E890B4B48D3.jpg

    9188F4FB-C9ED-4D43-8695-867D104D347A.jpg

    Nice, but looks as though it still needs rail meat
    Jean Jacques Hurbulot’s post war Marauder (4.85m, with about 90kg between the keel and CB

    A33A0CF0-F8B9-44C9-818B-C980819FAF79.jpg

    49E28247-E288-483E-B11F-C65EA8B01DAD.jpg
    Very much a dingy with a lid. Water ballast to help sit her down to increase form displacement? Would have to be pumped rather thn just flooded in.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    How bigger a dinghy do you need? You could take a Selway 13ft Mini Yacht, and remove the cabin or make it smaller.



    Should be a stable platform, more so with the bulb lowered.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Selway Fisher Woodlark 13’ catboat has a bilge keel option.

    Compac Sunday cat sounds like the factory version of what you want.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    the Scamp is a proven passage maker and raid competitor

    it has breadth and water balast to give it a safe comfortable ride

    large cockpit and penty of storage space fwd

    easy rig to set up

    great solo or for a small group

    build from plans or kit or buy an FRP one from Gig Harbor

    you might search a bit and find a partially finished one that was started in a Scamp Camp where builders worked under the tutelage of professionals but ended up not finishing

    http://smallcraftadvisor.com/s.c.a.m...ser-11-11.html

    feel free to PM me if you are curious

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Welsdord’s Pilgrim has 462 pounds of ballast. It sounds relatively stable and fun. Maybe the trend to no ballast in DaySailers has somewhat to do with keeping trailer weight down, people’s desire to plane their hulls, and go really fast. As opposed to just sailing around. Heavier is also more expensive to build.

    http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans/pilgrim/index.htm

    68740AAF-8018-417C-8250-4ADC03B85BF0.gif
    Last edited by Matt young; 01-05-2019 at 09:10 AM.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Rich, I make regular use of inside ballast. I have used lead shot in bags, used exercise weights, one or five gallon water containers.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Squibs.


    Its friend the Europa


    Flying fifteen
    Last edited by P.I. Stazzer-Newt; 01-05-2019 at 10:13 AM.
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Nick, I suspect the Marauder has sealed air tanks fore & aft and the drain is for the self bailing cockpit.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Nice, but looks as though it still needs rail meat
    Still needs rail meat, but allows a bit more time to get there in comfort. Not like sailing a dinghy.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    Nick, I suspect the Marauder has sealed air tanks fore & aft and the drain is for the self bailing cockpit.
    Could be. Letres of air = kg of buoyancy. In which case she is just a big dinghy with a lid.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Rich, I'm pleased to see you're interested in this type of boat. Indeed, the Haven would suit your needs well as will the Somes Sound by John Brooks. My boat, Emily Ruth, is a SS. Both the Haven and SS are derivatives of the H-12 1/2. The primary differences are that the Haven and SS are keel with centerboard boats while the other is keel only (but with 12" additional draft). Wooden Boat magazine did an article that compares the three. See issue #217.

    Emily Ruth:


    Emily Ruth for Festival 2018.jpg

    I have never sailed on a Haven nor on an H12 but in talking with others I can conclude that the rides are all comparable. Relatively dry, little excitement in the way of excessive heel, enough performance to not be bored, and comfortable to spend time in. I absolutely love sailing my boat. If the breeze is up to anything over three knots, I know that the boat will move well enough to make things fun. I reef the main at 15 knots and not because I have to, but because it is then more comfortable. And speed isn't lessened at all at that point. I've been in wind up to 22 knots or so and was plenty comfortable with reefed main and jib. I've sailed her without the jib just to see what happens and she still is balanced enough to be safe.

    The Somes Sound is built glued lap, which is a process you know well. The most difficult part is probably the coaming but your experience will get you through that. I built my boat in about 16 months. I wasn't pushing it but did spend time most every day in the shop. I think most amateurs take longer.

    The draft is 18" so not so great as to be a burden at launch. I made and use a 5' tongue extension on my trailer to gain additional depth on the ramp. It's easy to use this. I can launch and retrieve by myself as long as there is a dock alongside as is found at most developed ramps. Our local ramp has no dock, so a friend is needed to drive the van/trailer while I stay in the boat. I can also rig it by myself and that includes stepping the mast. My mast (birdsmouth) is about 30 pounds fully rigged. Standing it in the boat is no big deal but then it must be picked up and moved a few inches sideways to go into the step and partner. This takes concentration only because it has to stay balanced upright. Still, no real problem. However, I foresee a day when my aging body won't want to do this. To that end, I've worked out a hinge arrangement, not unlike a tabernacle, that I'd install at the base of the mast. This will eliminate the tricky balancing of the mast.

    I'm not a NA as is Nick so I won't comment on why a relatively shallow keeled sailboat is or is not stable. All I know is that my boat provides plenty. I chose the design and built her on a leap of faith that she'd provide me with an enjoyable ride with a comfortable stability margin. And my desires were fulfilled. I couldn't be happier with my choice. As a bonus, I get admiring glances and comments from many people who see her. The hull form is classic Herreshoff that is accentuated by the lapstrake planking.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Rich, I'm pleased to see you're interested in this type of boat. Indeed, the Haven would suit your needs well as will the Somes Sound by John Brooks. My boat, Emily Ruth, is a SS. Both the Haven and SS are derivatives of the H-12 1/2. The primary differences are that the Haven and SS are keel with centerboard boats while the other is keel only (but with 12" additional draft). Wooden Boat magazine did an article that compares the three. See issue #217.

    Emily Ruth:


    Emily Ruth for Festival 2018.jpg

    I have never sailed on a Haven nor on an H12 but in talking with others I can conclude that the rides are all comparable. Relatively dry, little excitement in the way of excessive heel, enough performance to not be bored, and comfortable to spend time in. I absolutely love sailing my boat. If the breeze is up to anything over three knots, I know that the boat will move well enough to make things fun. I reef the main at 15 knots and not because I have to, but because it is then more comfortable. And speed isn't lessened at all at that point. I've been in wind up to 22 knots or so and was plenty comfortable with reefed main and jib. I've sailed her without the jib just to see what happens and she still is balanced enough to be safe.

    The Somes Sound is built glued lap, which is a process you know well. The most difficult part is probably the coaming but your experience will get you through that. I built my boat in about 16 months. I wasn't pushing it but did spend time most every day in the shop. I think most amateurs take longer.

    The draft is 18" so not so great as to be a burden at launch. I made and use a 5' tongue extension on my trailer to gain additional depth on the ramp. It's easy to use this. I can launch and retrieve by myself as long as there is a dock alongside as is found at most developed ramps. Our local ramp has no dock, so a friend is needed to drive the van/trailer while I stay in the boat. I can also rig it by myself and that includes stepping the mast. My mast (birdsmouth) is about 30 pounds fully rigged. Standing it in the boat is no big deal but then it must be picked up and moved a few inches sideways to go into the step and partner. This takes concentration only because it has to stay balanced upright. Still, no real problem. However, I foresee a day when my aging body won't want to do this. To that end, I've worked out a hinge arrangement, not unlike a tabernacle, that I'd install at the base of the mast. This will eliminate the tricky balancing of the mast.

    I'm not a NA as is Nick so I won't comment on why a relatively shallow keeled sailboat is or is not stable. All I know is that my boat provides plenty. I chose the design and built her on a leap of faith that she'd provide me with an enjoyable ride with a comfortable stability margin. And my desires were fulfilled. I couldn't be happier with my choice. As a bonus, I get admiring glances and comments from many people who see her. The hull form is classic Herreshoff that is accentuated by the lapstrake planking.

    Jeff
    Jeff,
    I think I'll go over your build thread again. I'd be sailing off a trailer, so I'd have to rig-unrig the boat every time. How long does that take?

    Lot of good choices here. I'm also looking at the Welsford designs with water ballast.
    Plenty of time to chose since I don't envision building anything until next fall.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    Welsdord’s Pilgrim has 462 pounds of ballast. It sounds relatively stable and fun. Maybe the trend to no ballast in DaySailers has somewhat to do with keeping trailer weight down, people’s desire to plane their hulls, and go really fast. As opposed to just sailing around. Heavier is also more expensive to build.

    http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans/pilgrim/index.htm

    68740AAF-8018-417C-8250-4ADC03B85BF0.gif
    The Pilgrim plans show an alternative to just fixed ballast, water ballast replaces part of the lead if trailer weight is an issue. One of my owners has built this way and tows his with a little 1600 cc Japanese cargo van, reports that towing is no problem but doesn't have to worry about freeway speeds. It even hauls it up boatramps without any problems. He's very happy with the boats performance as well which is good.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    I’ve hankered after an Apprentice 15:

    But getting it off the trailer would be a royal pain in the backside and I don’t imagine that it sails much better than a Swansong or an Ilur. Less frenetic though.
    photo from Skyler Shepard on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awskyl...57627016153430

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    My little yawl is way off it's lines on the trailer and well down by the bow, but when it is on the ramp it is about perfect. I can launch from a shelving beach, or the parking lot if I'm not paying attention. (Don't ask)
    So far so good, but a Volvo isn't ever going to pull it!
    It is indeed a dilemma, sailing a small boat near the shore is the best, but hiking out, or even sitting up on the combing is tiring at best and a pita. Staying right side up is nice too. A keel ballasted canoeyawl with a centerboard through the keel seemed a good choice.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by St.J View Post
    I’ve hankered after an Apprentice 15:

    But getting it off the trailer would be a royal pain in the backside and I don’t imagine that it sails much better than a Swansong or an Ilur. Less frenetic though.
    photo from Skyler Shepard on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/awskyl...57627016153430
    Whose design is the Apprentice 15?

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    I rather be an American than a Republican.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schweiss View Post
    Whose design is the Apprentice 15?
    One of the instructors at the Apprenticeshop in Maine. I contacted them a few years ago but plans weren’t available. I might try again.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Nowadays I think a lot depends on whether you are designing a small open boat, half decker etc, or a small cruising sailboat. My Design 077 (15'6" LOA) for example has a lead ballast keel, draws 400mm (16") with the board up, and a nice accommodation for two. She makes a very robust small sailboat but is still trailerable. Builders can add 100kg (four 25kg pigs of lead) of internal ballast should they wish, for more extended sailing.

    Cheers -- George





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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat



    The design brief is outwardly simple: A small, stable boat with proper seats. I have 20 years worth of correspondence from people who want small monohull sailboats, but don't want to have to sit on the floor while sailing. This is an interesting physics problem. Most of CLC's small sailboats weigh less than 120lbs. If the crew weighs 185lbs, you're going to have to keep your weight low and centered most of the time. In other words, sit on the floor, or the boat will simply fall over.

    The absolute lower bounds for a monohull with side-bench seating seems to be around 650-700lbs empty displacement. NanoShip gets there in part with 375lbs of water ballast.


    The challenge with NanoShip was to come up with the smallest possible "footprint" for ease of construction and storage in small spaces, with the largest possible payload and stability. But it had to sail really well, not just kinda okay. And of course it had to be easy to build stitch-and-glue style without a mold! It took many iterations before I ran out a set of lines that checked all of the boxes. Lots of volume above the waterline, clean lines below.



    http://www.clcboats.com/life-of-boat...p-cruiser.html

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Ravens (24') have a centerboard with about 300lb of lead in the end.
    Lightnings and Snipes have metal boards.
    And, a catboat approaches the problem with form stability.
    Good luck

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    In my continuing search for the perfect small sailboat for myself, I raise this question: why do small boat designs shy away from having any sort of outside ballast keel?
    I like the stability of a weighted keel to keep me upright in a gust. In a centerboarder, I don't like that sudden heeling as a gust slams the boat. I love sailing on keel boats, but that doesn't seem to translate into small boats (16' or smaller).
    Is it that the designers just figure that crew weight is good enough ballast? Concerns that launching from a ramp is harder? Would a weighted keel of that small size not be enough to improve stability? I'm assuming there are good reasons from a NA point of view.
    Joel White's Haven 12 1/2 is a nice shoal draft boat that would work. Are there any others?
    Some one built one of these


    With lead let into the keel. But they sail just as well with internal ballast to set them down to their marks. Use drums of water and she will weigh less on the trailer and will not sink under you if you do capsize her.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Jeff,
    I think I'll go over your build thread again. I'd be sailing off a trailer, so I'd have to rig-unrig the boat every time. How long does that take?
    I've launched and retrieved both with help and by myself. Unquestionably a "trained" helper/crew will make the tasks quicker and easier. Together, my neighbor/boating friend can rig and launch in about 45 minutes but I've never really timed it. Fielding questions from interested bystanders can slow things down considerably. And that occurs often where we launch. I can do the job by myself in a bit more than an hour if I hurry. As I recall, the task with my Wayfarer wasn't really any faster even though that is a considerably lighter boat. Actually, I don't consider the weight of the SS to be a detriment for launching. My vehicle can haul the boat just fine and I can't pick up a 200 pound boat any easier than my 1400 pound boat. Rigging the trailer tongue extension takes about five minutes on each end.

    I keep my boat on a mooring most of the sailing season so refining my launch/retrieve procedures isn't a priority for me. However should that ever change, there are a large handful of things I could do to save a few minutes here and there. I would suspect that all small boat sailors who trailer sail have such a list.

    Always happy to answer any more questions.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    In my

    "In my continuing search for the perfect small sailboat ..."

    ... my dreamed perfect small sailboat for a lone sailor:

    LOA = LWL = 6 m
    Beam = 2.5 m

    Jib (with boom without up-down movement) = 7 m^2
    Main (with boom and 2.4 m traveller for 3 in 1 rope: Mainsheet-Downhaul-Preventer) = 14 m^2
    Spi (with orientable bowsprit) = 24 m^2

    Keel = 260 kg, CG @ 1.55 m Depth, Keel 1.8 m Depth
    260 kg x 1.55 => 400 kg @ 1 m / (light Displacement Target: 800 kg) = 50%

    loaded Displacement (1 crew): 1000 kg
    D / L = 131 surfing

    Water Ballast for Beating: 220 l
    Sailing Carrying Power: 10%-20% Displacement
    D / L = 161 beating

    Freboard (bow): 1 m
    Freboard (stern): 0.85 m

    Material: 10 mm Super Marine Ply

    https://www.joubert-group.com/en/joubert-gamme-84-super-marine-ply.html

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    and

    and the keel is raised aft with the help of a lever, a hoist and a winch,

    the only winch of the whole sailboat that also serves for the anchors:
    a Mantus (6 kg) to anchor in sand and mud, and a sea anchor to anchor in the sea ...
    ... pulling the rudders out of the water

    083_Gallery_Captioned.jpg

    (Robert Manry Tinkerbelle anchored in the sea ... thanks to that he has taken the rudder out of the water)

  33. #33
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    Default

    How about an Atkin Valgerda. 18 foot faering-ish boat that draws 19 inches and has a ballast keel.



    Kevin


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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    250 W Solar panel + Trojan 24-AGM or similar

    AIS Transponder Classe B
    Active Radar Target Enhancer

    VHF with GPS

    Windex wind vane

    https://www.davisinstruments.com/product/windex-15/

    Origo alcohol stove

    and a Tablet for the charts (Navionics ... Marine Navigator ...)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus (2024 ?)

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    Default Re: Weighted keel on small sailboat

    I have a little experience with Valgerda, and lovely as they are disappointing is putting it mildly.

    It might be worth taking a look at the Drascombe lugger and or longboat, altough not ballasted they have good form stability and are quite capable. They may suffer in some geographic regions from not enough sail area, but a little spinniker can be easily added. (I have often thought about rigging one as a masthead sloop...)
    The outboard is well worked out and they can be set up to sail from the trailer in about 20 minutes.

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