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Old 29-06-2010, 00:12   #1
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Lift Keel or Shallow Draft?

My wife and I are new to Sailing. We have Bare-boated a bit around North Queensland, Australia and love the lifestyle and in the next 10 -12 months wish to bye our own Yacht.
Our travels at this stage will be a round Australia and possibly north of PNG later but we would like to know about whether to bye a yacht with a shawl draft of lift keel.What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two hulls?
There are so many questions that I have, so I am starting with this one.
Thank you for any comments that you may have.
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Old 29-06-2010, 12:37   #2
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Not sure what you mean by lift-keel, but assuming you’re talking about the full-blown dagger-boardesque ballasted keel (often with a bulb ballast), you’ll gain windward ability and sacrifice mechanical simplicity… I’ve had a centerboard (not, technically, a lift keel because it had only nominal ballasting properties) on a 14-ton boat and although the maintenance was not onerous, it seemed like it was always in the back of my mind… since, for me, windward ability is sufficient with a modest draft boat, I vote for the simplicity of standard keel with as shoal a draft as suits your cruising area… but, many others will come down 180 degrees opposite with equal enthusiasm…
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Old 30-06-2010, 02:41   #3
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A lift keel vs shoal draft is always going to be a personal choice:

Do you want the improved performance of a lift keel with it's associated 'hassle' and possible vunerability and maintenance issues - not to mention the big chimney in the middle of the saloon, or do you want something that is much less likely to be damaged when it bumps the bottom, but the compromise is performance.

This does presume that there is a very good reason for not going with a conventional keel in the first place.

So my vote would be:
A lift keel on a boat that will be dry sailed or trailer sailed
A lift keel if the interior isn't important to you and you don't mind the extra care and attention that is needed
A shoal draft if you think you're going to bump into things now and then.
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Old 30-06-2010, 04:51   #4
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Lift Keel or Shoal Draft

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Originally Posted by bewitched View Post
A lift keel vs shoal draft is always going to be a personal choice:

Do you want the improved performance of a lift keel with it's associated 'hassle' and possible vunerability and maintenance issues - not to mention the big chimney in the middle of the saloon, or do you want something that is much less likely to be damaged when it bumps the bottom, but the compromise is performance.

This does presume that there is a very good reason for not going with a conventional keel in the first place.

So my vote would be:
A lift keel on a boat that will be dry sailed or trailer sailed
A lift keel if the interior isn't important to you and you don't mind the extra care and attention that is needed
A shoal draft if you think you're going to bump into things now and then.
Sailing inside the Great Barrier Reef will be a concern for new comers in a 38-45 ft Fibreglass Mono Hull even though my Basic Navigation is improving with Paper Charts. I am assuming that not having a deep keel will be better in sometimes shallower waters when a Conventional Keel depth might touch more often.
You talk about performance with a Lift keel-Please explain -and associated Hassel and possible vulnerability and maintenance issues.

Thank you for everybody's input.
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Old 30-06-2010, 07:24   #5
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Keels that have no moving parts are by far superior, IF you can get the draft you want/need with a fixed keel, great. If not, a keel that allows a draft change will be needed.

I'm a fan of the full keel which by it's nature results in a shallower draft than a fin with the same surface area...

It's all a compromise.
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Old 30-06-2010, 16:31   #6
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lift Keel or Shallow Draft

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Keels that have no moving parts are by far superior, IF you can get the draft you want/need with a fixed keel, great. If not, a keel that allows a draft change will be needed.

I'm a fan of the full keel which by it's nature results in a shallower draft than a fin with the same surface area...

It's all a compromise.
Thanks Randy
Is there any difference in the way the Yacht handles with a Full Keel opposed to Lift Keel or Fin?
I would think a Full Keel might protect the Hull as well in shallower water.
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Old 30-06-2010, 23:42   #7
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I have a full keel with 2 un-ballasted centre boards, yes you do sacrifice windward ability to a small degree but for me the plusses outweigh the minuses. Maintenance has never been a big problem. In fact my boards are designed in such a way that they can be removed while in the water if you ever need to. I havn't needed to, to date.
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Old 01-07-2010, 21:28   #8
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If you look at keel choice from a performance perspective, the order would probably be:
1. Bulb keel - a seen on modern race boats - lift keels are mostly this type
2. full length fin keel
3. shoal draft fin keel
4. full keel

There is a huge difference in performance between 1 and 4.

If looking at the issue from the perspective of which would come out best in the case of a grounding, the list would probably be reversed. There is a huge difference in strength between a bulb keel and a full keel

Maintainance - anything that moves requires maintenance and therefore the fixed keels have advantages over lift keels - but I think this is only a very slight advantage - even a non-ussue - I've never heard of anyone (who owns one) considering it an onerous maintainance issue.

There are other issues associated with various keel types; manouverability, boat handling characteristics, impact on internal layout, ability to dry out or beach etc etc.

It's a personal choice - and the advice you get will swing from one end to the other. Some people err towards strength, some towards performance - there is no right or wrong.

It's also worth mentioning that if you get away from the typical fin keel arrangement, it will reduce considerably the number of boats available to you when you decide to buy.

There are also other, less common solutions such as internally ballasted boats with swing keels (eg alubat) twin keels etc.
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Old 04-07-2010, 00:51   #9
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Lift keel or Shallow draft

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Thank you.
Could you tell me if a shoal draft has the same problems in maneuvering in reverse that I have heard a full keel has?
Rob
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:25   #10
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Quote:
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bewitched
Thank you. Could you tell me if a shoal draft has the same problems in maneuvering in reverse that I have heard a full keel has? Rob
Rob, no is the answer, nor do our twin keels. In reverse there is some prop wash which pulls the stern to starboard (depends on the direction of the prop) however once mastered this can be used to your advantage, for example it pulls us out and sideways away from our pontoon.

For us, operating in the shallow waters of the Solent wiht big tidal ranges and having the option to dry out siting on our twin keels make the arrangement worth while even if we give something away in pointing ability to windward. However our neighbours have a 6 foot fin.

One yacht that we did consider was an interesting Jeanneau Sunrise which had a very shallow skeg and a lifting keel inside. Something like 4 foot up and 8 foot down. Apparently she would sale quite well off the wind with the lifitng keel up. The yacht had also crossed the Atlantic twice, sadly internally she hadn't been looked after, otherwise would have been serious buy.

Its horses for courses and as said earlier if you limit your choices to long keel, there are fewer yachts. At lasts years UK premier boatshow I cold only see one long keel yacht (Folkboat) all the rest were fin, twin or lifting. Long keeled yachts don't have a European market so bar the odd exception just aren't being made.

So your opperating in and around coral reefs and clearly a deep fin yacht would be a concern, but have you seen this little film, particularly the second half.



Pete
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:26   #11
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The biggest problem with a lifting keel - be it hinged or lifted within a case, is the difficulty in cleaning marine growth and life from the internal walls of the case. And in your case if you cruise either to PNG or Indonesia on your return to Australia is the Governments requirements regarding mussels, anti-fouling, inspections etcc...
A friend has a beautiful Southerly with a lifting keel and whilst he can go into very shallow anchorages and if he wants to, can actually beach the boat - but he cannot clean the inside of the case unless the boat is lifted by a travel lift and suspended while the keel is dropped out and the boat taken to a high cradle.
For cruising in South East Asian waters, 6ft and less will get you in most places - with a Catamaran draft not really a problem.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:56   #12
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@Pete7's video - Are all yachts that tough, or just Dehlers?
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Old 04-07-2010, 16:46   #13
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Lift Keel or Shallow Draft

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The biggest problem with a lifting keel - be it hinged or lifted within a case, is the difficulty in cleaning marine growth and life from the internal walls of the case. And in your case if you cruise either to PNG or Indonesia on your return to Australia is the Governments requirements regarding mussels, anti-fouling, inspections etcc...
A friend has a beautiful Southerly with a lifting keel and whilst he can go into very shallow anchorages and if he wants to, can actually beach the boat - but he cannot clean the inside of the case unless the boat is lifted by a travel lift and suspended while the keel is dropped out and the boat taken to a high cradle.
For cruising in South East Asian waters, 6ft and less will get you in most places - with a Catamaran draft not really a problem.
Thanks for that.
I will have to check out the Government Regulations on Mussels ect.
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