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Old 15-08-2013, 13:44   #1
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Keel too Long?

As I start my search to purchase a sailboat, it seems the boats I am interested in have 7 + ft fin keels!! I will be sailing the Great Lakes mostly, with a planned trip down through the Erie Canal, IWC to Bahama's and Caribbean. I realize the canal and ICW will be an issue, but for the most part I will be floating around the Great Lakes either moored in L. Erie or Georgian Bay.
I guess my question is do I abandon my preferred boat or get the keel reduced or can I get by with the long keel????
What restrictions will I face in finding acceptable moorage, cruising without digging under water ditches or getting into those beauty gunk holes????

Thanks for any input or advice.
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:59   #2
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Re: Keel too long?

My thoughts on matter is that once you start pushing past 5'6" in draught you start dramatically limiting the inland and island nook and crannies that make cruising so interesting. Even at 5'6" many parts of ICW are sketchy at best. The Dismal Canal is only claimed to be dredged to 6'. Many coastal and inland bays have substantial areas not suitable for anything over 5 ft.
The last thing you want to do is dig underwater ditches trying to get to gunkholes. Strive for cruising, not being towed off at every juncture. My half cent contribution.
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:08   #3
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Re: Keel too long?

Can't comment on Lake Erie, but having sailed parts of Georgian Bay, including the North Channel, I'd say you will find 7' a bit restricting. Not that it can't be done, but there will be some anchorages that will be inaccessible, especially in these low-water years.

Of course, this is true of any keel depth. There are always places where a shallower draught would be easier. If you're hell-bent on the 7' draft then just accept that you will have to do a lot more planning, and that there will be places inaccessible to the mother ship. I have 6', and there are times when I can't get into places up here on Superior. Not that many, but it does happen. I just live with it.
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:16   #4
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Re: Keel too long?

That would normally be called "Too Deep", just so we're not confused. It can be restricting. Anything over about 6ft is usually bargain priced for a reason.
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Old 16-08-2013, 10:46   #5
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Re: Keel too long?

Thanks Folks for your replies. It's no use being able to point a little higher, if I am going to run aground or not be able to drop the hook in a good anchorage!! I could build in the price of shortening the keel into the purchase price. The boat purchase pursuit continues.
Thanks
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Old 16-08-2013, 10:56   #6
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Re: Keel too long?

Some places even 3.5' daught is too much. Personal experience with Great Sandy Strait, Australia and Blaine, Washington - U.S.A..

The photo is of my boat grounded off Blaine about 1995. Got out and walked around while waiting for the tide to come in.

On my first trip to Australia went aground 3 times in short order in the Great Sandy Strait. Can't get too close to one side or the other of channels there...

Wish I'd had a deep draft that prevented me going to Muar, Malaysia in 2001. Long story...
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Old 16-08-2013, 11:05   #7
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Re: Keel too Long?

To reconfirm Cheechako's post, a "long keel" is not a term usually meaning a deep draft. Wrong's boat pictured above would be an example of a long or full keel and still "long" with his 3.5' draft.
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Old 16-08-2013, 11:23   #8
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Re: Keel too long?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Some places even 3.5' daught is too much. Personal experience with Great Sandy Strait, Australia and Blaine, Washington - U.S.A..

The photo is of my boat grounded off Blaine about 1995. Got out and walked around while waiting for the tide to come in.

On my first trip to Australia went aground 3 times in short order in the Great Sandy Strait. Can't get too close to one side or the other of channels there...

Wish I'd had a deep draft that prevented me going to Muar, Malaysia in 2001. Long story...
I think that these examples show that there is no "safe" draft anywhere! A shallow draft boat just runs aground a little closer to shore, for we all tend to push the limits a bit at times, no matter what draft our vessel has.

To illustrate: we have been through the above mentioned Great Sandy Straights numerous times without grounding even once... and that is with a 7'2" draft. No matter what your draft you must pay attention!

But, for your proposed cruising grounds a shallow draft might be better...

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 16-08-2013, 11:32   #9
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Re: Keel too long?

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I think that these examples show that there is no "safe" draft anywhere! A shallow draft boat just runs aground a little closer to shore, for we all tend to push the limits a bit at times, no matter what draft our vessel has.

To illustrate: we have been through the above mentioned Great Sandy Straights numerous times without grounding even once... and that is with a 7'2" draft. No matter what your draft you must pay attention!

But, for your proposed cruising grounds a shallow draft might be better...

Cheers,

Jim
Well said. The trick transiting the Great Sandy Strait is to make the 'middle' at the right time. Also, assuming your depth is adequate right up to the edge of channels is risky. My mistake in the Strait. As Jim so aptly points out, we with shallow draughts tend to push the limits cutting corners and getting in as close as possible to the beach when anchoring. Considering recent tsunamis however, I've given this considerable thought...
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Old 16-08-2013, 13:08   #10
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Re: Keel too long?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Anything over about 6ft is usually bargain priced for a reason.
What he said.
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Old 16-08-2013, 13:23   #11
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Re: Keel too Long?

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To reconfirm Cheechako's post, a "long keel" is not a term usually meaning a deep draft. Wrong's boat pictured above would be an example of a long or full keel and still "long" with his 3.5' draft.
Thanks CaptForce, I should of used the term "deep keel".
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Old 16-08-2013, 13:32   #12
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Re: Keel too Long?

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Thanks CaptForce, I should of used the term "deep keel".
Sticking my neck out here but I think not. Deep draught refers to the depth of your hull below the water line - including the keel.

You can have a shoal draught or not. Not really sure what maximum draught is included in this classification though.

Maybe more correct to say my keel measures top to bottom so many feet...
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Old 16-08-2013, 13:36   #13
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Re: Keel too Long?

ChamJam,did you write that you could shorten the keel?

Noooooooooooooooooo!
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Old 16-08-2013, 13:45   #14
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Re: Keel too Long?

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ChamJam,did you write that you could shorten the keel?

Noooooooooooooooooo!
Well, he could but maybe shouldn't... Given the right demolition tools you can accomplish wonders!
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Old 16-08-2013, 14:56   #15
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Re: Keel too Long?

Good ICW draft;

55' above the water, 5.5' below the water.....

60' above, 6' below ok....

Less is more.
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