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Old 18-03-2019, 10:12   #1
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Is the era of twin keelers past?

Is the era of twin keelers past? In the 80th and 90th of the previous century twin/bilge keelers where very popular, especially, in the UK. I'm still facinated with this concept and the later built bilge keelers proved to be not more worse than fin keelers. Why this concept died a silent dead?
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Old 18-03-2019, 10:47   #2
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

only really an advantage in areas with large tidal swings where the boat dries out twice a day and would otherwise fall over on the ebb. a lot of wetted surface the rest of the time...
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Old 18-03-2019, 14:30   #3
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

I would suggest, from the other side of the Atlantic, that there never was an era of twin-keelers. They were always considered by the world at large to be a clever kludge job of no use to anyone UNLESS they needed a boat that would sit upright on the ground when the tide ran out. Useful in parts of the UK and Newfoundland, yes, but counterproductive for 95% of the sailing world.

Now, if I needed to literally "park" my boat beside a mooring twice a day...I'd love the concept. But if you're going to have water under the boat, they'll only hurt you.
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Old 18-03-2019, 14:53   #4
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

There are still some twin keel designs available from Sirius, Django, Roberto Barros, Reinke. There were some designs in the past in New Zealand and Australia that offered them too. As mentioned, great for drying out and offering a shallower draft. Sailing performance seemed to suffer a little although I have heard that the modern designs seem to be more on a par.
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Old 18-03-2019, 14:59   #5
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

I'd think that those that would be interested in the benefits of being able to dry out at low tide would now turn to catamarans which, as a generality, would also have shallower drafts.
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Old 18-03-2019, 16:35   #6
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

Who cares about eras? I love the concept for solid practical reasons and am presently having a NA look at updating one of the 70's john pugh designs to our needs. The boat is a 60ish foot steel ketch / schooner with a very robust brief. There a millions of good reasons why not to have a twin / bilge keel and only a few great reasons to choose them. We arrived at this solution because of our brief / statement of requirements, not because we fancied them. Like all good boats; if it does what you need then she's perfect?
Most people simply don't need bilge / twin keels. I do suspect however that most entry / first time owners don't yet know what they need and opt for a safe decision of what's around them at the time.
The improvements in understanding materials / construction specifications and the much greater understanding of foil design together added to twin keels makes for some significant improvements over the old "slabs on the hull" of yore.
but alas yes, other than the french, not much action in twin keels at present.
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Old 18-03-2019, 17:03   #7
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pirate Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

Well in spite of everything said here this is what my next boat will be.. Twin Keel and Ketch rigged.
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Old 18-03-2019, 18:25   #8
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

If you watch the series 'Keep Turning Left' you'll see a TON of them. Seems to be loads left in England on rivers and estuaries etc. Not too many of that crowd on this forum though.
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Old 18-03-2019, 18:43   #9
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

I sailed a Westerly for 25yrs on the Chesapeake. Great boats. The shallower draft allowed me to access areas that I cannot today in my single keel CSY. Let alone the issue of being caught on a falling tide.

I was looking for a center cockpit twin keel 36ft - a Solway - but they are beyond rare in this hemisphere. I went to Grenada to look at one, but it was in sad condition. Another in Trinidad looked worse, for more money. Then I found this CSY and fell in love. But Iíve had to give up gunkholing.

I am skeptical of claims of performance suffering vs single keels. When told they are slower I ask, compared to what in what conditions? On a calm surface in light winds a Catalina 27 would readily outpace my Centaur. But in 12kts gusting to 15 and up in a real chop it would be different. The Centaur was designed for the North Sea and would still have full sails up when the Catalina would be steep reefed. The Westerlies liked the stiff breeze and chop.

Once a fellow from the list serve I started came through the bay in a single keel Centaur aka Pembroke. We went out and compared. My conclusion was that in average conditions the quality and condition of sails, skill in trimming, and overall skippering mattered more than a single vs twin keel.

At best, even a potential slight advantage in pointing was of no real value in the typical distances sailed on this bay. We detected no apparent different in leeway. After all, when heeled the leeward keel was near vertical down in the water, much more resistant to being pushed to the side than a single keel at an angle.

I could go two to three years on bottom paint as it was easy twice a season to plant on a bar as the tide began dropping. Then walk around and wipe off the hull. Float off again as the tide returned. And nice to be able to anchor in water where we could go over the side and stand up while swimming, wade to shore.

I love my CSY. But still wish I could have found a Solway.
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Old 19-03-2019, 10:52   #10
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

Advantage; need to check something under the water line, clean the hull, or even doing tasks below doesn't incur haul out fees.
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Old 19-03-2019, 11:10   #11
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

I had always understood that the inherent hull geometry left bilge keelers with less structural support for their keels than more traditional designs.
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Old 19-03-2019, 11:51   #12
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pirate Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

Not really if its a well designed boat.. the central frames take the strain if shes well designed/built.
The main problem comes after many years on unprotected drying moorings where the boat can spend 4hrs a day pounding hard sand as the tides ebb and flow.
25+ years of this naturally will take its toll on any boat.. and a fin with legs would die in less than10yrs under the same conditions.
Some 40+yr old Westerly Centaurs show evidence of this neglect where their hulls have developed a concave along each keel.
Like anything.. Good builds last, poor builds die.
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Old 19-03-2019, 11:59   #13
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

Hi Trekka. still wish I could have found a Solway.

Did you consider a Conway with purpose built beaching legs? 6ft draft though so you cant stand on the bottom alongside until the tide goes out...
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Old 19-03-2019, 12:08   #14
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

twin keeler's will never die out in tidal waters , I have an interest in a fin keel boat in Greece and a bilge keel boat in the uk, .
fin keeler's restrict you so much when you have to contend with a 6 meter tidal range and very restricting as to were you can drop the hook especially around Anglesey were I sail.
the legend 29 I sail is a brilliant safe boat and can sail brilliantly on a beat
fin keelers are not needed in the med with approx. 6inch of tidal range. BWiles.
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Old 19-03-2019, 12:22   #15
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Re: Is the era of twin keelers past?

I've always admired John Leather's 25 ft "Aleutka" design. A double-ended twin-keeler that he sailed 22,000 miles with no engine. You can read all about it in Ferenc Mate's book, "The Best Boats to Build or Buy." '
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