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Old 10-01-2013, 19:24   #1
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pirate Shallow draft fin keel question

Greetings all. This is my first post on this forum so go easy on me. I have learned so much from reading the threads here. Thank you all so much! I own a Seaward 25 built in 1997. I have been sailing it on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior for the past 6 years. Have sailed larger boats in the sea of Cortez, Bvi, and grenadines. My boat has a high freeboard, draws 2ft, and weighs only 3,600lb. It has a Westerbeak 18 ph diesel. It is the boat I can afford and I love it.I am comfortable sailing in up to 25 knots. Have been on the hook at 60 knots. I have thought about taking the boat south to the Bahamas or farther south. My 2 questions are...... If a person waits for weather, are the conditions mentioned above available in the Bahamas and farther south. Besides being more buoyant, will the boat sail differently due to salt water? Any comments will be helpful. Cheers to all.
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Old 10-01-2013, 19:35   #2
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

First, doubt you will see any difference in how your boat floats or sails in salt vs fresh water.

Regarding taking the boat to the islands, you already identified the critical issue; wait for the right weather. In my opinion, as long as your rigging is sound, including mast, chain plates and all the rest of the system and the boat is basically sound, a reasonably skilled and prudent skipper should have no problem taking most any boat to the Bahamas and possibly further.

With careful planning you can make it all the way to South America with a maximum jump between islands just a bit over 100 miles. I met a guy that took a MacGregor 26 to the Virgin Islands and a friend of mine took a 21' outboard powered open cockpit power boat from FL all over the Abacos.

I'm sure you will hear other opinions that may differ.
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Old 10-01-2013, 20:19   #3
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

there is no reason why a competent Skipper cant bring a craft from point A to point B...other than a freak accident..live life..dont think how it could have been..
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Old 10-01-2013, 21:38   #4
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

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Originally Posted by Drifter2drifter View Post
This is my first post on this forum so go easy on me. I have learned so much from reading the threads here.
Very good first post. You have pointed out that you have been reading threads and you know that you might be in for a savaging. Both show a lot of foresight.

The change to saltwater should not noticeably change the handling of the boat. I never noticed any change going back and forth between Lake Washington and Puget Sound for 25yr.

You might notice a change putting into the Dead Sea. Certainly there would be motoring issues after couple days as the salt builds up rapidly on propellers there. Also the Great Salt Lake. I understand that the really high salt content in both can significantly change how wind ripples on the water surface look.

Where in Mn are your from? I am a former MN boy myself.
Where's the boat and how do you intend to get it to saltwater?
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:26   #5
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

The main difference I have noticed between salt and fresh water sailing is a minor one, barely worth mentioning.

Setting aside the fact that taking a face shot in fresh water is sometimes a pure joy, what I recall noticing is that in strong winds (eg 40 knots or more), the puffs look somewhat different on the water.

They look scarier in fresh, for one thing, IIRC, for a given wind strength (it's a long time since I sailed on a lake)

I come from a windy part of the world, so perhaps this is not a major consideration for other locales.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:35   #6
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Drifter2drifter.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:59   #7
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

Yes, welcome aboard Drifter2drifter. If you took the ICW and then waited for a good weather window to the Bahamas, I think there is no question that the Seaward could do it. My only concern, however, is that Seaward also produced a 25 with 4 foot draft and greater ballast that they called the Bluewater, or something like that. It suggests that they felt that greater stability was required for heavy going. Certainly the size of the keel and ballast to displacement ratio are fairly low on your boat.

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Old 11-01-2013, 06:11   #8
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

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Originally Posted by Drifter2drifter View Post
. Have been on the hook at 60 knots.

I'm impressed and bet that bet that was "fun".

Other than that you can go anywhere in any boat if you can pick a weather window that you can believe in and that lasts long enough.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:50   #9
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

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Originally Posted by Drifter2drifter View Post
Greetings all. This is my first post on this forum so go easy on me. I have learned so much from reading the threads here. Thank you all so much! I own a Seaward 25 built in 1997. I have been sailing it on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior for the past 6 years. Have sailed larger boats in the sea of Cortez, Bvi, and grenadines. My boat has a high freeboard, draws 2ft, and weighs only 3,600lb. It has a Westerbeak 18 ph diesel. It is the boat I can afford and I love it.I am comfortable sailing in up to 25 knots. Have been on the hook at 60 knots. I have thought about taking the boat south to the Bahamas or farther south. My 2 questions are...... If a person waits for weather, are the conditions mentioned above available in the Bahamas and farther south. Besides being more buoyant, will the boat sail differently due to salt water? Any comments will be helpful. Cheers to all.
Your draft will remain essentially the same. By that I mean you will not notice a difference. You are probably looking at around 1/2" or so difference between fresh and salt. But you can do some calculations... your boat weight 3600lb. It will therefore displace 3600 lbs of water and come to equilibrium, which is a fancy word for floating. That is 3600lb of either fresh water or salt water. The difference is in the volume. The 3600 lbs of fresh water will have a volume of about lets see... around 62.3lbs/ft^3, so 3600 / 62.3 = 57.78 ft^3. That's cubic feet. Metric is for sissies. A cubic foot of seawater weighs... depends on salinity but 63.98 lbs is gonna be close to a good average. Around 2.7% heavier. Now, 3600 lbs / 63.98 lbs is 56.27 ft^3 for a difference in displaced volume of... 1.56 ft^3. Now your boat is 25 feet and I don't know the beam but if I just guess it is 8' and just pull a block coefficient out of my @$$ of 2/3, 25 x 8 x 2/3 = 200 x 2 / 3 = 400 / 3 = 133 ft^2 waterline plane area. 1.56 cubic feet divided by 133 square feet = .012 feet depth, or .14" or 9/64". A hair over 1/8" difference in draft for you. Okay my 1/2" guess was wildly off by a factor of 4 but anyway it isn't gonna make a difference.

Yeah I could certainly see a 25' boat crossing to the bahamas but it won't be very comfortable. Nevertheless it has been done in smaller boats than that. The Gulf Stream can get pretty wavey and you can expect to get knocked around a bit. Are you going to trailer it down to Florida? Have you sailed this boat in heavy weather on the Lakes?

Depending on where you are sailing in the Bahamas you will usually have some protection from the wide open North Atlantic. If you try to island hop down the Caribbean you will have stretches of totally unprotected water. In a bigger boat, the Trades are your friend. Something the size of your boat, they are inexorable and unrelenting. After a Bahamas cruise, you will probably be wanting a bigger boat for a Caribbean adventure but if you are tough enough and the boat is tough enough and you are very, very smart about spares and stores and boat handling, it could be done in your 25. I just wouldn't. My boat is about the minimum I personally would want to sail down there and it is only 2' longer but it displaces over twice as much.

The Trades can BLOW, and they can go for weeks without a letup. The more powerful Northers are a factor in the winter and then there is hurricane season. By the first of June you are also getting a lot of local thunderstorms and they can get pretty vicious, though thankfully they usually blow over in hours rather than days. Only problem is the next day might feature more of the same. Get way down south, like Trinidad and Aruba, pretty much all hurricanes will pass well to the North.

Try the Bahamas if you must. I wouldn't make any Caribbean plans until after that. I am thinking you might not like the ride in that boat.

You might be tempted, because of your shallow draft, to dare to sail where bigger boats won't in the bahamas, but I will also point out that there is a lot of coral, and your boat is probably pretty thin skinned. Be careful in skinny water!
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:47   #10
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pirate Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

Thanks for all the responses. Here are answers to hopefully all questions. I am from Minneapolis, but grew up in NJ. Learned to sail on Cape Cod. I would trailer the boat to Florida and leave from Miami area. My inclination is to go to places where other boats don't go. I do admit to liking the thin water. Thanks for the heads up on the coral! As for who ever made the comment on it being fun in the 60 kts on the hook.....I'm not sure that is the word I would use. Lets go with exciting! I stayed up and kept watch while Spanky, Fritz, and wife Valerie slept.
I have not done any heavy weather sailing on this boat and I am not sure that is something I am going to go look for. I am very safety oriented. Thanks for your comments.
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Old 11-01-2013, 16:07   #11
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

Here are a couple of seaward 25 discussions I have bookmarked that you might be interested in:

Re: Sailing in open water/several offshore passages

http://www.ne-ts.com/cr/cr-404bahamas.html

I can't speak from experience as our S25 is new to us last fall and I haven't had it in the water yet. Do write about it somewhere if you end up making the trip with your S25.
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Old 11-01-2013, 16:50   #12
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pirate Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

Thanks for the links. You live in a great part of the country! Enjoy the new boat!
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Old 11-01-2013, 17:02   #13
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Re: Shallow draft fin keel question

You would likely have a great time with that boat in the Bahahamas. The first time I crossed the GS, another couple crossed also in a 23 foot production boat. The were both super tall people like 6'-3"ish! no standing headroom. I felt for them on that little boat, but they had a great time.
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