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Old 24-08-2008, 18:04   #1
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Full Keel or Fin Keel?

Hello everybody! I have been following this forum for months and this is my first actual posting! I have been searching for the ideal livaboard in my very tight budget. I always imagined having a vessel with a full length keel for seaworthyness, and it's ability to heave-to in foul weather. I plan on some bluewater/open-ocean cruising and am not sure if a fin keel is suffecient for open ocean. However, lately I have seen dozens of low priced fiberglass fin-keels in the 30-35 foot range. I do not want a centerboard under any conditions. Please help, which keel style suits my needs best? I hope some expereinced sailors out there can share their opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of each. Thanks for any and all feedback.
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Old 24-08-2008, 18:14   #2
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I believe the best trade off is a modified full keel with skeg hung rudder. but I have seen other posts that go on forever about which is better, personnel choice in the end
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Old 24-08-2008, 18:53   #3
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Old 24-08-2008, 19:27   #4
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the best thing i can say about a full keel is that it won't fall off! The second is their ability to heave to. For me it's full keel.
If you think you might run aground a time or two then the peace of mind that a full keel gives is worth the trade offs. The only trade off that I've found is that my Cape Dory doesn't back worth beans.
But she heaves to wonderfully.
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Old 24-08-2008, 21:24   #5
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Here is a thread that had died out not too long ago that was on the same subject.

FULL verses FIN
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Old 24-08-2008, 21:33   #6
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we have liked our full keel for the past 17 years. It really helps when we parked the boat in particularly shallow spots. They do track nice offshore but do not turn well in tight spots. So there are trade offs with both. A fin keel will generally have an exposed spade rudder which can be problematic.
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Old 25-08-2008, 01:47   #7
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This is the classic sail boat argument, fin or full. I like full for all of the reasons listed above. The trade offs really don't count when it comes to safety.
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Old 25-08-2008, 07:41   #8
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Originally Posted by RedDragonSails View Post
Hello everybody! lately I have seen dozens of low priced fiberglass fin-keels in the 30-35 foot range...

Hard to tell which suits your needs best, without knowing what they are but you have choices, preferences and options – that’s half the fun… fin-keelers have been making seamanlike passages for decades, so clearly there is no real problem in that regard… I happen to prefer a modified full keel (few actual full-keels seen in public boating circles these days), but it has less to do with sea-keeping, than the fact that I prefer a boat that can take the bottom without falling over on its nose… to achieve that you don’t need a really long keel (witness the Irwin center-cockpits with an abbreviated keel, but will still sit on it…). I agree with those who like a skeg-rudder, but again for me it has more to do with the fact that I want something reasonably solid in front of the vulnerable rudder, although supposedly from a hydrodynamic stand point skeg-hung rudders do have their advantages…

Fins, whether rudders (spade) or keels are generally efficient and work well as long as they have a bit of way on, and the apparent angle isn’t so acute that they stall… higher-performance, if arguably narrower optimal conditions to achieve it, and greater requirement top get the structural engineering right, but then the whole boat is a compromise… However, I suspect that one of the reasons the fin-keelers are generally available for attractive prices is that they have been manufactured by the boat-load for several decades – being a huge segment of the “spontaneous-purchase” market, especially in the weekender/coastal-cruiser categories… and with the life of fiberglass being supposedly measured in centuries, not decades, they are a lot of them still surviving – which may say something of itself…
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Old 25-08-2008, 16:49   #9
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Thanks for the info everyone. This thread and the link to another thread about the same topic greatly helped in deciding which type of keel to go for. I always feel better with a full keel than fin, and thanks to the info here I can finally feel justified in that.
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Old 26-08-2008, 01:42   #10
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One thing for sure. As soon as you get one you'll realize the benefits of the other.

Everyone needs at least two boats...
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Old 26-08-2008, 09:47   #11
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One thing for sure. As soon as you get one you'll realize the benefits of the other.

Everyone needs at least two boats...
Ain't that the truth! Can i have a huge boat for living on, and a really little one for boat maintenance and antifouling??!
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Old 29-08-2008, 12:58   #12
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For my designs twin keels are becoming far more popular than any single keelers by at least a 3 to 1 ratio. I went for twin keels 24 years ago and I'm sure glad I did. I could spend a winter in the South Pacific for less money than a years moorage at a dock. Twin keels have allowed me to cruise for 24 years , 11 months a year,without ever having to pay moorage.
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Old 29-08-2008, 20:50   #13
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I really lliked the full keel on my Roberts 36. Boat tracked well, low load on autopilot when boat balanced, On the few occasions I hove to the boat was really comfortable, it also was a nice solid platform on the few occasions I dried out.......fortunately only on san or mud, I did tie up once to ajetty once and did some maintenance on a through hull fitting, which I probably would not have done with a fin. Problems were no steerage in astern, not agreat turning circle and I probably sacrificed some windward performance. I do think fin and skeg have alot to offer....next ones a cat anyway so it wont really matter :-)
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Old 30-08-2008, 07:16   #14
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Full or Fin Keel?

I also have that question. In addition, having owned a Freres 40 (15 years ago) I am now in the market to purchase a fast cruiser (about 40 feet) - - again, the question, full or fin? What types of cruisers would you recommend? thanks bb
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Old 30-08-2008, 07:48   #15
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I have had both a fin keel and a full keel ( not on the same boat ), each has its own strengths and weaknesses. It comes down to what you like to handle the best, what makes you the most comfortable when sailing . I loved both my boats. This is a discussion that could go on forever
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