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Old 20-01-2015, 15:58   #1
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Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

We are considering fin, bulb and wing keel boats to sail the Caribbean. Most of the fins have too deep a draft, while the wings scare me with the chance of getting hung up on a sandbar.

For instance, look at this 6' draft wing keel design:


Is this trouble? Should we look for a boat with a bulb, instead?
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Old 20-01-2015, 17:10   #2
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Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

I've run a wing keel hard aground in some sticky mid. No worse getting it off than a deep narrow keel. I would think in sand this would be such a trivial concern as to be pointless to base a decision about a particular boat on.


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Old 20-01-2015, 17:15   #3
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

Your keel will hit a variety of bottoms, be sure a professional surveyor has inspected the keel recently. The simpler the boat the better. If you are aground and want to heel over to reduce your draft then a wing may get in the way. The horizontal wing in the photo would not be as much of a disadvantage as a wing at the bottom.
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Old 20-01-2015, 17:20   #4
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

depends on the wing

My first boat had a wide wing and if it stuck in the mud, it was stuck!

But for a lot of boats a wing is the price you pay for the draft
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Old 20-01-2015, 17:30   #5
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CptLawrence View Post
Your keel will hit a variety of bottoms, be sure a professional surveyor has inspected the keel recently. The simpler the boat the better. If you are aground and want to heel over to reduce your draft then a wing may get in the way. The horizontal wing in the photo would not be as much of a disadvantage as a wing at the bottom.
Yeah... being able to heel your boat if grounded is a big advantage.... unless you like to wait 6-12 hours for a tide change... I had to have one boat towed off a sand bar... the only way to get it off was to physically drag it off with tow line to the mast and boat. Bumping the whole way. I would imagine a wing would be a bent wing in that situation.
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Old 20-01-2015, 17:37   #6
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

Julie,
For the past 11 years and > 15,000 miles, I've been sailing a 47' sloop with a wing keel and 6' 3" draft....although many of those miles have been offshore, there have also been many thru Bahamas and S. Florida with lots of shoals...
And, with much of my sailing / cruising over the past 45 years having been with 6' draft modified fin keels (and some with full keels), I was also concerned that a "wing keel" would be an issue...

But, the GOOD news is, it has NOT been an issue at all...

In general wing keels do NOT "get stuck" on the bottom any more than others....
And in actuality, the relatively small contact area of fin keels and even wing keels, compared to "full keels" seems to be a significant factor in the wing keels (and fin keels) not getting stuck...


Here are a few photos of my boat ("Annie Laurie") and a sistership with the same wing keel (6' 3" draft) and another sistership with the standard fin keel (8' draft)....just for comparison...









And, just an FYI....from my dock, I have about 1.5 miles of waterway to go thru on my way out to the Atlantic ocean, and about 1/2 mile from the Atlantic there is a shoal area right near the ICW (known locally as the crossroads), that I drag the keel along the bottom at, for about 75 - 100 yards (unless at high tide, then I don't touch)....
And, except for the "surprised" looks on the faces of those on-board, there is never an issue....it does slow the boat down, and if I were to throttle down to idle, it would come to a complete stop....but easy to motor out of...




Regarding your proposed boat / wing keel....
That "wing" looks pretty big, but should be okay...
But....
But, I would make sure that you have an Autoprop (or maxprop), so that you had full thrust in both forward and reverse....
Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMac View Post
We are considering fin, bulb and wing keel boats to sail the Caribbean. Most of the fins have too deep a draft, while the wings scare me with the chance of getting hung up on a sandbar.

For instance, look at this 6' draft wing keel design:

Is this trouble? Should we look for a boat with a bulb, instead?


I hope this helps you out....

Fair winds...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:05   #7
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

as surveyor I have had two wing keel grounding on the beach high and dry the boat stood vertical till the next tide and no damage to the hull as it did not lay on its side.


in 1995 hurricane Andrew I had a morgan catalina with a winged keel on the street standing straight up no damage we picked it with a tire crane and put it on a trailer


while performance wise you would be better with a fin, the wing keel and its typically associated shallow draft is a choice to consider
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:19   #8
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

We have a Seaward 25 with a wing keel that we regularly beach at Lake Powell, Lake Meade and Lake Havasu. No issues getting her off the sand but she is way lighter than what you are likely considering.
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Old 21-01-2015, 09:39   #9
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMac View Post
We are considering fin, bulb and wing keel boats to sail the Caribbean. Most of the fins have too deep a draft, while the wings scare me with the chance of getting hung up on a sandbar.

Is this trouble? Should we look for a boat with a bulb, instead?
Or, you could always shift your focus to the avoidance of running aground, to begin with...

:-))

As others have already said, I just don't see this as being an issue of such importance, at least not outside of a cruising ground like the Chesapeake, where you have a lot of shoal water often coupled with a very soft bottom, and the inability to read the water due to its murkiness... And, in the end, there are worse fates than running aground, and having to wait awhile for the tide to set you free...

Frankly, I'd be more concerned about the hit you might take in sailing performance with some of the wing keels I see... On the one you pictured, for instance, the increased drag on that thing has to be incredible...

On a related note, perhaps I'm mistaken about this, but doesn't your eventual cruising plan include the possibility of a trip down the East coast prior to heading to the Bahamas? If so, some of the boats you've mentioned - the Contest 48, for instance - have an air draft that will rule out the possibility of the ICW in your routing. If you're worried about getting hung up on a "sandbar" in the Caribbean, are you sure you want a boat that will have to go outside around Hatteras? :-) And, some of the others - like an Oyster 485 - while claiming to be "ICW capable", are only minimally so, and can have a mast height after masthead instruments and lights are added that is often way too close for comfort... And, ultimately, a boat that is not ICW compatible will likely be a much tougher sell on the East coast of the US, whenever the time might come to do so...

Perhaps it's just me, but I find close tolerances with air draft to be among the most nerve-wracking situations of all underway... On a trip like the ICW, I would much prefer have to deal with the issues presented by a deep draft, than a tall rig, every time... :-)


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Old 21-01-2015, 10:08   #10
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

We have a Catalina 350 MKII with wing keel 4.5 ft draft. Just want to share advice I was given by TowBoat US when 'touching' or barely grounding with a wing keel, that is to turn the boat 90 degrees to one side or the other, rather than try to back out of the grounding. Our wing keel is angled towards the stern so reversing can help to dig in the keel rather than release it. Since that grounding and advice, this method has worked well for me when I've hit mud or sand. Once I was aided by a neighbor cruiser who pushed my boat from the forward quarter to spin the keel 90 degrees. In SW Florida, the 4.5 draft is way better than anything deeper!
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Old 21-01-2015, 16:04   #11
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

I have owned a CS 36 and 40 in the Bahamas for several years and both had wing keels. Sand shifts and charts do not reflect existing conditions particularly in the Abacos and Eumas so grounding can and does occur despite being cautious (better than coral!).
I never had a problem with the keels getting stuck in the sand.
The "Rule of Thumb" for the Abacos is that you do not want a draft over 6 ft or you will be severely limited to the areas you can safely explore. Getting into shallow anchorages is often critical to get into calm and safe water. If you have a deep keel you are limited to staying in larger dredged harbours or the outer portions of natural bays which will leave you exposed to nasty wind and bottom conditions and where you will be more likely to drag anchor. Go for a fin keel boat.
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Old 21-01-2015, 16:38   #12
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

Hi Julimac

What is the brand and model of that nice looking boat in the photo you posted?

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Old 21-01-2015, 17:48   #13
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
depends on the wing

My first boat had a wide wing and if it stuck in the mud, it was stuck!

But for a lot of boats a wing is the price you pay for the draft
Some designs bury quite effectively. We used to call them "reverse danforths".
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Old 22-01-2015, 01:37   #14
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

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Hi Julimac

What is the brand and model of that nice looking boat in the photo you posted?

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Its a Contest 48 CS. IMO one of the best built yachts ...
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Old 22-01-2015, 01:53   #15
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Re: Do Wing Keels get stuck in the Sand?

Hello Julie,

If I may suggest...

You are obviously prepared to make some compromises; a dark blue hull will be very hot in the Caribbean and S FL...

Also, should you select a shoal keel, the sailing competence will be compromised too.

Lastly, like many sailors, you too will learn to hate teak decks. :-)

Have you considered an Island Packet? Not the fastest boat but very well built and should cover the requirement of shoal draft. Additionally, it should be setup for the US electrical. Most are white or cream coloured hulls. (As an aside, Oyster studied the effects of dark colors and found the following... in high temperatures, the paint expands faster than the substrate GRP leading to loss of adhesion and ... when they measured the temperature in the aft lazarette on 2 identical hulls, the temp in the dark one was 30C hotter than the white/cream coloured hull.. I was told by Oyster Majorca that new buyers cannot specify a dark hull unless they sign a liability waiver for any paint damage from overheat)

In the Contest 45-50 foot group you looked at, the lowest priced 48CS, the one in Majorca has been for sale for at least 3 years... and the price has dropped dramatically last year. It is dark hulled and fin keeled though. I've seen the outside and it looks very good indeed.

PS: I live in Majorca. PM me a phone number/email if you want me to take an in depth look... I am curious :-)

Just some thoughts...
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