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Old 10-08-2009, 08:47   #1
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Any Problems Keeping a Swing Keel Boat in the Water Long Term?

I am about to go take a second look at a swing keel boat, that is too large for my vehicle to tow. Are there any problems to keeping a swing keel with at cast iron centerboard in the water on a long term basis?

Thanks
Ken
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:35   #2
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Depends on several things:

How long is long term? If you mean just a sailing season of 6 months or less, no problem as long as the cast iron keel has been sealed up with some kind of epoxy and bottom paint. And the lifting cable has to be properly maintained. But I would avoid keeping the boat in the water for longer than six months, because you want to be able to check things out and do the necessary maintenance.

If the cast iron keel develops rust spots, you will want to strip it down, by sandblasting or some other means and seal it up with an appropriate epoxy paint or something similar. You might actually be able to remove the keel and take it somewhere to have this done. And you need to visually inspect the lifting cable and associated hardware and maintain as necessary, and do the same for the pin or whatever is holding the keel in the boat.

If you are looking at a Venture 21, per your other post, I think this is a much more sensible boat, particularly if the boat comes with a trailer. The trailer will come in handy, even if you can't tow it.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:52   #3
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When we trucked our boat..the swing was pushed farther up into the trunk then normally cranked up..so when relaunch time came it would not swing back down...What happens is critters ( Barnacles ) get up into the trunk and when the keel was pushed higher up into it then it normally was retracted by just a couple inches it was wedged in place by the barnacles..A dive on the boat and a bit of wiggling with a pry bar by a dock mate already in the water checking on his own zinc's did the trick easy enough.

Lesson learned..Always make sure it is free while hanging in the slings before splash.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:07   #4
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Well, yeah something close to sixe months anyway. Put it in in the begining of the season, March or April, then out again late October or the middle of November, or whenever a hurricane points in my general direction. Well the boat is question is a Macgregor 21, and yes it comes with a trailer. It might be worthwhile to get a cheap towing vehicle just to move the boat about a bit. I have to think about that one for a bit.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:14   #5
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FWIW...........you will soon tire of rigging and de-rigging the boat if you keep it on a trailer. If your intentions are to expand your sailing into other, far- flung areas, by all means, stay with the trailer. If you are going to sail in the same area all the time, you will be well served (although more costly) to get a slip and sail much more often, as the boat will be virtually ready to go at a moments notice.
I speak from experience.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:25   #6
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FWIW...........you will soon tire of rigging and de-rigging the boat if you keep it on a trailer. If your intentions are to expand your sailing into other, far- flung areas, by all means, stay with the trailer. If you are going to sail in the same area all the time, you will be well served (although more costly) to get a slip and sail much more often, as the boat will be virtually ready to go at a moments notice.
I speak from experience.
I agree with everything you said. But the value of the trailer is that the boat can be put on it for the off season and taken anywhere, which means no storage cost for the off season.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:30   #7
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Well, I am not rich enough to do nothing but cruise. I still need to work and my current job doesn't give me a whole lot of time off. A week here a week there, a long weekend once in a while, etc. etc. So I just plan on using this boat as a daysailer, maybe an overnight trip now and then. So I was just planning on keeping it moored or anchored somewhere nearby and using a dinghy to get to it. Slip space here along the Gulf coast of Florida is pretty tough to come by.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:30   #8
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Well, yeah something close to sixe months anyway. Put it in in the begining of the season, March or April, then out again late October or the middle of November, or whenever a hurricane points in my general direction. Well the boat is question is a Macgregor 21, and yes it comes with a trailer. It might be worthwhile to get a cheap towing vehicle just to move the boat about a bit. I have to think about that one for a bit.

Thanks for the info.
Yup, plenty of cheap towing vehicles available these days. I bought one once and it lasted a couple of towing trips before the engine blew up. but don't let my experience deter you. Just take into account that you have to register it, insure it, maintain it, etc. And of course make sure it has the hitch and other necessary stuff like wiring.
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:32   #9
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A towing vehicle doesn't need to be big to tow a Macgregor 21. Any old V-6/V-8 car or 4 cyl truck could handle it. Just check the towing capacity of each vehicle you are considering.
I've towed an International Folkboat 26 up and over hills here in Hawaii with my 4 cyl Toyota 4X4. The Folkboat weighed about 5000 lbs and the trailer about 1500 lbs.
Good luck in whatever you choose to do.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:52   #10
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Thats got to be a strong well built truck! I checked sailboatdata.com and the displacement of a Macgregor 21 is 1175 lbs, plus the trailer, figure thats got to weight at least 400 lbs, which makes the total around 1600, just over my 4 cylinder Rav4 towing capacity of 1500 lbs.
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Old 10-08-2009, 13:24   #11
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The Rav4 might be ok, depending on the actual weight of the trailer, which you might be able to determine if the trailer manufacturer is known. It's probably just a single axle, with bumper type supports for the hull and a channel on the axle that supports the keel. It might actually be less than 400 pounds.

And if you are only going to tow it short distances twice a year or so, over flat terrain, you might be ok if the trailer is not too heavy. Just get everything out of the boat before towing, make sure all the fluids in the Rav4 are topped up, engine oil in good shape etc.

And you might be able to upgrade the Rav4 with a bigger radiator if necessary to keep the engine cooler. Might be a better alternative than another vehicle.
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Old 10-08-2009, 19:49   #12
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I believe your RAV4 will handle it just great. My Tacoma 4X4 is rated for 3500 lb towing capacity, however, for short distances, i. e. 20 miles or less I often go way over that with no problem. I have the larger of the two 4 cylinder engines.
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Old 11-08-2009, 04:13   #13
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I am not overly concerned about moving the boat around on the trailer with the Rav4 on fairly flat terrain, like this part of FL is, and I am not too worried about launching the boat my concern is mostly taking the boat out of the water. Starting from a stop on an incline on wet pavement or concrete. I have my doubts about the Toyotas traction and power under those conditons.
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Old 13-08-2009, 10:02   #14
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Was taking my three daughters to a Pony Club training ride once..We did not have a good tow vehicle at that particular moment in time ( my 4x4 lost a timing chain) and always was on a shoe string everything horse...Well on this particular ride we had to pull a 15% incline up to the arena..My old 2 wheel drive F250 diesel was tired and pretty wore out and she just could not pull those three horses and that trailer up that grade. I made three attempts getting a faster and harder run at that hill but it coming right off a narrow and fairly busy back road did not allow for much maneuvering nor a safe place to off load the horses either. I just headed back home with three dejected and embarrassed girls.

You have the right concerns IMHO.
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Old 13-08-2009, 10:23   #15
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KCMarcet,
If only pulling short distances (which we discussed in PM's), the "100#'s over the limit) is absolutely NOT a PROBLEM...

Like Clint Eastwood said in the "Dirty Harry" flicks....
"A Man Needs to Know His Limitations".

Going over the "posted limit" by 100-400 lbs is NOT a big deal at all...just don't TAILGATE while doing so & drive like "Grandma"(& I DON'T Mean those S.Fla. Bats outta Hades).

As for pulling out w/a 2wd vehicle on a ramp on damp surface...Like Clint said, KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS. The ramps down there are ALWAYS hopping with folks launching or retreiving on the w/e's...approach a few w/Your OWN "Snatch Strap" prior recovery that can even be attached to the back of their TRAILER & Your front tow hook below the bumper...back down, load the boat, as You pull out, IF YOU SPIN, stop, set the parking brake, and get "hooked up". They'll gladly drag You up & out to the dry asphalt/concrete, free of charge & Everybody will be respectful of the fact that You Made Arrangements for "Just In Case", In Advance of that "Potential" failure...You didn't tie up a busy launching ramp for more than a couple extra minutes.

I'd make the solicitation WITH a 5 spot in 1 Hand and the Nice quality tow strap in the other, although 99% will decline the gratuity, 90% will gladly help You out knowing You're smart enough to be asking In Advance of even "possibly" Needing their very short term assistance. I'd keep that tow strap in the vehicle at all times as well; much like a set of jumper cables, may come in handy when You least expected it.

Problem solved withOUT having to consider a "tow Vehicle" that would only be needed about an hour a year?
HTH,
-Mick
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