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Old 06-03-2018, 07:22   #1
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Centerboard's Pointing Ability?

A recent sailors discussion here in South Florida revolved around the question if one is better off with a shallow draft fixed keel e.g. about 5' to 5' 4", or a centerboard e.g. 4'4" board up and 8' board down, for sailing to and in the Bahamas. A question that remained unanswered was how well does a centerboard point with the board down? Clearly there are advantages to the quite shallow draft but disadvantages as to the fact that there is a board which is one more thing to service, etc.

Thoughts from those with experience? Thank you.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:51   #2
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Re: Centerboard's Pointing Ability?

It depends on design. My Bristol 41.1 sails quite a bit higher with the board down, and sails very well with the board up. I draw 4.5' board up, and 10' board down. It is an unballasted board. Hull was developed from Ted Hood's "Whale Bottom" designs. Way back when, my Catalina 25 could sail sideways with no board down, it was meant to be able to be trailered.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:51   #3
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Re: Centerboard's Pointing Ability?

We have a Bristol 45.5

As for pointing ability , most boats with centerboards are cruising boats with medium to heavy displacement so raw pointing ability was not primary to the designers list of must haves.

That being said, all I can tell you is we love our center board , the boat will point the same with it up or down the difference is the amount of leeway you experience . With the board down the Bristol heads up very nice, making good speed . Board up and you can point the same but you do lose the speed it becomes leeway. You can feel the board "biting" the water when it's down. The board also helps with rolling .

We bought this boat for the center board , and build quality of the Bristols , it really is the best of both worlds . As for maintenance , we have never had an issue it is a very simple design.

There is a reason you don't see them anymore, unless you have a custom boat built for you. They are almost always built with encapsulated keels. Put the board in between and now you have twin encapsulated keels . This is a major build job and very costly. This much different then just bolting a hunk of lead to the bottom of a flat hull . Actually if you think about it there is less maintenance , no keel bolts to worry about .

If we ever buy another boat , it will also have a center board .

Regards John.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:04   #4
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Re: Centerboard's Pointing Ability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roniszoro View Post
A recent sailors discussion here in South Florida revolved around the question if one is better off with a shallow draft fixed keel e.g. about 5' to 5' 4", or a centerboard e.g. 4'4" board up and 8' board down, for sailing to and in the Bahamas. A question that remained unanswered was how well does a centerboard point with the board down?
I have a Morgan 25, with a centerboard. People used to race them, and they would hold their own against fixed-keel designs of the same era. I get 2'10" up and maybe 6' down. My boat can be launched from its trailer, which is really not possible with similar sized boats that have a fixed keel.

The previous owner rarely used the centerboard because he found that he could achieve the windward performance he wanted without it.

Quote:
Clearly there are advantages to the quite shallow draft but disadvantages as to the fact that there is a board which is one more thing to service, etc.
Any centerboard is going to require periodic maintenance. Most designs require the centerboard to be removed for some of this work to be performed, which means the boat has to be hauled, and blocked higher than would ordinarily be required unless the work will be done while the boat is in the slings.

I am contemplating diving my boat to remove the centerboard to avoid the high costs of having the marina do the work. Since the centerboard has an iron core and weighs 70 pounds, this will not be a straightforward undertaking.

Morgan recommends that the centerboard pennant be replaced annually.
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