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Old 26-07-2010, 10:55   #1
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Full vs Wing Keel

Hi all I have been reading this forum for the better part of 3 years now. I just registered today because I have a question.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each keel type. I know a full keel will allow you to get into shallow water and track better.

What my real question is what is better in a storm. We have it in our heads we need to see penguins and we need to see Alaska. So we will be in some heavy seas. With that said, the other 95% of our cruising will be in the tropics.

Now I know I need to post a little bit about me because it's my first post. I am 40 YO and my wife of 19 years is 37. We plan on retiring in 10 years and sailing full time around the world. We know we are going to build our own steel boat and I will be posting a lot more about this in the coming weeks with hopes you guys can point me to some good designers and plans.

Right now we are ready to pick a set of plans and start construction. I know 10 years seems like a long construction time but I figure it's going to take us a year to pick the plans. Plus we really want to do this right the first time.

I don't want to debate steel VS glass or Mono VS Cat. We know we want a steel mono. We are leaning to the origami style boats not Bruce Roberts.
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Old 26-07-2010, 11:58   #2
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
10 years is a very conservative timeline in my point of view. Doesn't put you in a rush. Wing keels have a disadvantage of burying themselves you you go aground in mud or sand. Like an anchor. They are not as efficient as straight fin keels. Long keels track better downwind and when beating to weather don't pound.
There are books published about the advantages and disadvantages of each keel design.
In your case I'd find as many boats as you can to look at, go aboard, discuss their seakindliness with the owners and then decide.
I'm familiar with Bruce Roberts designs but not Origami.
I know this isn't what you want to hear but buying vs building is a way better deal in today's boat buying market. You will be spending as much or more by building (usually much more) and you'll be putting off sailing for 10 years.
I don't know if you currently sail but I always recommend a basic sailing course and at least joining a club for a year for a bit of on the water experience.
Good luck in your choice.
regards,
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Old 26-07-2010, 12:04   #3
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Full length keels track better. Fin keels maneuver better. Given everything else is equal, fin keels are faster.

Wing keels helped to go to weather faster but you don't see them so much anymore. You do see lots of high aspect ratio bulb keels on maxi racers which provide more righting moment and a higher lift/drag foil. The downside is increased draft, expense and much more torque at the keel to hull connection.

Most cruisers are not out racing. Cruisers quite often have to anchor in relatively shallow water or pass over shallow openings in a reef. Cruisers are also prone to things hitting their keel or rudder in the middle of the night, therefore you want something that is more resistant to that type of damage. Something from a full keel to a low aspect ratio fin keel is probably your best bet. I would be inclined to drop the winged keel idea in keeping with the KISS principle.
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Old 26-07-2010, 12:10   #4
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Well we cant leave for about 10 years anyway. One daughter was just married off 2 weeks ago (the reason we are starting to get serious) and now we have our son who is only 11 years old.

Plus we want to save a little more before we retire. I dont want to be stuck working my way around the world. LOL

So buying a boat now is not a good idea plus we really want to built it.
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Old 26-07-2010, 12:15   #5
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Full length keels track better. Fin keels maneuver better. Given everything else is equal, fin keels are faster.
What would you rather have under you in a hurricane?
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Old 26-07-2010, 12:29   #6
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Dreamer, you will not survive a hurricane in a "small" sailboat, no matter the keel. Aircraft carriers run the other way at 35 knots....
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Old 26-07-2010, 12:58   #7
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So the wing keeled yacht is now 5 years old and the antifouling needs doing. How are you going to support the hull whilst someone crawls underneath it to clean it all off with an angle grinder, then apply several coats of paint.

The same is true of a fin, except its a much smaller area so not worth getting excited about, but a big wing?

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Old 26-07-2010, 13:01   #8
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Lets not confuse wing keels with bilge keels:

Wing keel:




Origami version of the Bilge Keel:



Another bilge keel

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Old 26-07-2010, 13:06   #9
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So the bilge was designed for use in harbors that drain at low tide? Very cool and thanks for posting.
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Old 26-07-2010, 13:15   #10
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The main advantage for a full keel design in my opinion is that its' immensely strong compared to a fin keel/spade rudder design.

In the context that there are two kind of sailors. Those who have ran aground, and those who haven't yet done so.

If you go for a steel hull it can be built strong enough anyway so no real need for a full keel. A (long) fin with a skeg/rudder makes a good cruising boat in steel IMHO
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Old 26-07-2010, 13:30   #11
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There are so many threads in this thread. Steel is strong Glass is durable. Fin keel is manouverable. Long keel heaves-to better.Some folks like to build boats, others like to sail them. For me, ; if you can't find a boat on the used market that you like, you'll never build your perfect boat. Does the perfect boat exist? Debating designs and searching for the dream is procrastinating. Go, dammit, GO. Home school the kids, LIVE, forget planning for a better time. The only time you have is NOW.
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Old 26-07-2010, 13:32   #12
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Originally Posted by dreamer38851 View Post
What would you rather have under you in a hurricane?
Land.

Second best, something that can quickly get me out of the way of a hurricane.

Third best, an enclosed lifeboat.

Fourth best, a full keel.
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Old 26-07-2010, 13:40   #13
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Lets not confuse wing keels with bilge keels
I'm, not, these are our keels. But a large wing sat on the block.......
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Old 26-07-2010, 13:48   #14
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Fourth best, a full keel.

Thanks, So a full keel is also better in storms. I like them because of the shallow draft but was wondering how sea worthy they where compared to a fin keel.
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Old 26-07-2010, 14:07   #15
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A full keel is helpful in kedging and comfort and heaving etc. A full keel unfortunately is not so good at maneuverability in port though.
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