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Old 06-03-2013, 15:07   #1
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Full vs Fin? Will it go to Weather?

My life sailing has consisted of entire life, but few boats. Range in size of 12 ft, 24 ft, 27 ft, 33 ft.

All were/are fin keel (ok 12 ft is daggerboard)

I have not sailed full keeled boats before as none of my friends have one. What would the difference be in regards to going to weather? I know gentlemen do not do that, but what if? Sometimes I feel like I'm always sailing to weather:-) and I'm glad I have a fin keel. What is the real difference? How much higher can I point with my Cal 27 than would a similar length full keel point?
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Old 06-03-2013, 15:31   #2
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

As with all things boating, it depends. There are some full keel boats that are real slugs, and there are others that sail very well. You really need to compare apples to apples. For example, comparing a lightweight, tall-rigged fin keeler to a heavy, ketch-rigged full keeler isn't really fair. I used to own an Aage Nielsen wooden double ender built in Denmark in 1968 that was almost a sistership to Holger Danske, which won the Bermuda Race on corrected time. After that the gran-prix racers got so fed up with cruisers winning the big trophies they basically changed all the rules. But, back to windward ability. A well-designed full keel boat is surprisingly good going to windward. They tend to have a much easier motion, partly due to slacker bilges, and tend to track very well. So even if you lose a few degrees in pointing ability it can be a much nicer ride getting there. In very light airs the heavier boats will keep ghosting along, not getting knocked back by the waves, and sometimes they are faster. Sailing out of Newport one day on our 26-foot Tripp-designed Seafarer towing our dinghy we were keeping up tack after tack with Australia II that went on to win the America's Cup. I had a huge genny up, but I wasn't really racing--I seem to recall eating a sandwich with one knee steering the tiller watching AII gradually overhaul us because they could point higher though we had better boat speed! Our Aage Nielsen used to surprise a lot of much newer boats too.
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Old 06-03-2013, 15:36   #3
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

I feel better knowing I dont have keel bolts on my seafarer34. she is slow, but rides nicely, like my old 64 ford.
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Old 06-03-2013, 15:39   #4
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

You will notice, but on the up side, they usually have such a sweeter motion beating. So a bit of a trade off. For me, the shock of how different they are while docking was the real eye opener.
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Old 06-03-2013, 15:49   #5
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What about modifiesd fin keel? Best of both worlds? We always had fin keel or daggerboard boats and our Caliber sails to weather very well. Not as good as our Ericson but not as bad as most full keel boats of comparable sze.. Sheeting angle will also factor in to the equation.
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Old 06-03-2013, 15:55   #6
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

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What about modifiesd fin keel? Best of both worlds?
Or, is that a long fin and a skeg-hung rudder? And there are quite a few very cutaway full keels too.
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Old 06-03-2013, 15:58   #7
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

I have an encapsulated lead keel, so it's not really about the bolts that I ask this question.

In Breaking Seas, Glenn talks about his boat and it seemed to have much trouble going to windward. In the Pardy's book, Cruising Sarifina they talk about beating others to weather. This is one of the main things that got me thinking of the topic. That and I'm getting new sails in the next month or two, so I figure I would be able to point better than I can right now with nice tight sails (mine need to be replaced).
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Old 06-03-2013, 16:00   #8
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

I wrote in the original post "How much higher can I point with my Cal 27 than would a similar length full keel point?" because I was really looking for the most apples to apples comparison that you can get as I know that all boats and sailors are different. figuring at least to keep the size the same so we could focus more on the keel design and its abilities. Without being experienced with full keels and reading books about them, it got me to wonder.
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Old 06-03-2013, 16:10   #9
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

You don't necessarily give up pointing ability in a full keeler. Ask anyone who's raced a classic 1920-30s yacht, or their knockoff counterparts: IODs, Shields, and what not. They all point ridiculously close to the wind. You pay somewhat in light air with a little more wetted surface, and they're a little more squirrely off the wind with their narrow transoms, and their construction makes them heavier than today's SCRIMP - carbon composite speeders, so don't expect high speed surfing, but can a full-keel boat go to windward? Absolutely.

Plus they don't snag the lobster pots so much.

Now, if you're asking if a heavy, beamy, under-canvassed, bluff-bowed, full-keel cruiser will go to windward, that may be a different question.
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Old 06-03-2013, 16:43   #10
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

Most full keel boats will track better, thus work more reliably with a self steering vane, than a fin keel boat. That's not to say that a vane won't work with a fin keel boat or that they are all really directionally squarely. The rudder/keel attachment is way more secure than a spade or even a skeg hung rudder. Full keel boats are way way less likely to pick up hitchhikers like lobster traps/ kelp or any other detritus floating in the ocean. Most, if not all full keel boats will have slack bilges to reduce wetted surface for better light air performance. That makes initially less stable and more prone to heel initially. They harden up past about 10 degrees of heel and have greater ultimate stability which is kind of nice when the feces hits the fan. The slack bilges also give the boat a softer motion at sea. One thing that is not often mentioned is that full keel boats have a deep sump. That means any water that gets below tends to get trapped in the sump, not washed up the inside of the hull to soak everything it comes in contact with. It's not to say that all fin keel boats don't have a sump but most with flat bottoms and bolt on keels (read newest designs) don't. Full keel can take the ground without much difficulty. A short keel finned boat probably won't. Longer fin keels will often do fine, however. For the most part, full keel boats are less effected by added weight which all cruising boats seem to gain. Most full keel boats have nice proportions. I can't say that about the new breed of fat assed, plumb bow'd boats.

Full keel boats don't turn on a dime. Can make close in maneuvering around a marina interesting. They also have a mind of their own going astern though judicial use of engine rpm and rudder can ameliorate the negatives just as it can going forward. A full keel boat is not going to have sterling light air performance because of the much higher wetted surface. Proper light air sails can help but waterline for waterline will not equal a shorter keels, less wetted surface boat. They will still sail in ghosting conditions but not as fast. If you are into floating condominiums, you'll be hard pressed to find that type of wide open space in a full keel boat.

If I was serious about making long passages that might involve a little inclement weather or sailing in lobster pot territory, I'd want a full keel boat. For most of the cruising in the Carribean, almost any floating bathtub will do.
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Old 06-03-2013, 17:01   #11
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

You must also consider differences in design among full-keelers. Seraffyn (sp?) was designed by Lyle Hess, who shares the spot of world's best sailboat designer with Bill Atkins. Any full-keeler designed by one of those two will be better in all respects than some atrocity like the Westsail 32 or the "modified" or "cutaway" pieces of junk like Hans Christian, Cheoy Lee, or Pacific Seacraft (with an exception or two) make. There are nearly infinite variations in underwater form among full keel-type boats, and often that form makes all the difference.
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Old 06-03-2013, 17:06   #12
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

I wouldn't like to run aground on a fin-keeled boat with a falling tide.

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Old 06-03-2013, 17:17   #13
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

[QUOTE=Benz;1178032]You must also consider differences in design among full-keelers. Seraffyn (sp?) was designed by Lyle Hess, who shares the spot of world's best sailboat designer with Bill Atkins. Any full-keeler designed by one of those two will be better in all respects than some atrocity like the Westsail 32.

Hate to burst your bubble but the Westsail 32 is a very slightly modified Atkins Eric/Thistle design. The W32 isn't the most exciting boat for coastal sailing or noted for it's pointing ability but they will carry tons of supplies and equipment through the worst weather imaginable and still maintain a pretty decent daily average doing it. Had one, cruised it, but wouldn't chose it for coastal sailing especially in lightwind areas with lots of windward work anticipated. All boats are compromises, personally like ones that are built strong enough to keep me alive.
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Old 06-03-2013, 17:31   #14
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
Ask anyone who's raced a classic 1920-30s yacht, or their knockoff counterparts: IODs, Shields, and what not.
Heavens! IODs are post-WWII, and Shields are an early-60's improvement on that design. Hardly "knockoff counterparts."

I've never raced an IOD, but yes, a Shields will point as high as you should ever want a sailboat to point--much higher than those classic 1920-30s yachts.
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Old 06-03-2013, 17:32   #15
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Re: full vs fin??? Will it go to weather?

Perhaps I shouldn't have said Any Atkins design, since he did drop the ball from time to time, usually when he drew his sterns pointy. But then they took one of his less good designs, alloyed it by fiddling with the lines, and gave the world the WS 32. Sure it's solid (you could make even a Beneteau or Hunter "solid" by laying it up with an inch more of fiberglass and using heavier fittings), and sure it will survive heavy weather and carry a big load, but there are other reasonably heavy full keelers out there (BCC 28; Falmouth 34; Cape George 31) that will do those things and still sail sweetly and fast. The difference is not how thick the layup is but how the lines are drawn.
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