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Old 03-02-2014, 11:24   #16
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Re: Keels

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Originally Posted by msponer View Post
I think a full keeled boat is easier to handle in an anchorage. The wind affects it less so everything happens slower. When you stop, the boat hangs in place longer before blowing downwind or backwards, giving a singlehander time to walk forward and lower the anchor. I've actually had to put them in reverse in order to not dump that chain on top of the anchor, something I only have to do on my fin keel boat in a flat calm.

The same mellowness is also apparent when retrieving the anchor. One can just put her in gear and start pulling up the anchor, in all but the strongest wind she will motor straight ahead without someone on the helm. By contrast, my more modern boat really needs someone at the helm to keep steering and adjusting the throttle to keep us from wildly swinging back and forth on the anchor, and in any case we are not smoothly going straight ahead. Once the anchor is off the bottom on my boat, she immediately starts sailing away under bare poles. Which is annoying in a crowded anchorage, to have the chain still coming up but the boat wanting the bow to blow off and accelerate in some direction. My experience on a full keeled boat is that their bow will slowly fall off to one side and then they'll drift downwind slowly, in an approximation of being hove to or laying ahull, once the anchor is up. This made it easy to feel confident sailing on and off the anchor.

Of course, at sea I love how our new fin keel boat goes fast without even trying. In the Caribbean trades we are usually near 7.5 or 8 knots with little attention paid to sail trim. And she is as easy to control going backwards as she is forwards.
Mspooner, you bring up some very interesting points that I had not considered. The speed of your new boat would make quite a difference on a long journey compared to a full keel. Thank you for your insight.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:35   #17
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Re: Keels

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A full keel boat is simple enough to maneuver in close quarters once you get to know her.. think of reversing a car into a space.. then hook a caravan on the back.. still easy once you get used to how things respond...
Its not speed one needs.. its burst of thrust at appropriate moments to get momentum forward or back then hitting neutral and giving the rudder a chance to bite.. use the prop walk to advantage..
Also.. you do not need a 40+ft boat to cross the Atlantic safely.. unless your taking the whole family.. along with the cats, dogs and kitchen sink..
Boatman61. Thanks so much for your pointers; they put things more in perspective.
Most of the boats I have been researching have been in the 30' to 35' range.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:38   #18
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Re: Keels

Sat and watched a 50 plus foot full keeled ketch entering Harbortown Marina last week with bow thruster thrashing away - managed to take the stbd nav light off going into a slip (at an angle) and the port light off reversing out. So, full keel with bow thruster still has steering issues
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:51   #19
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Re: Keels

I think it is most unwise to choose a boat that you eventually plan to cross the atlantic with based on how easy it is to maneuver at the dock. That's a little bit like choosing a car to go cross country in based on how small a parking space you can squeeze it into.

The fact of the matter is that whatever boat you buy, you'll learn to maneuver it, learn what it can do well and can't do well and how to take advantage of the first and accommodate the latter.

You didn't mention how new you are to sailing. Assuming you've not been on a lot of cruising boats, I suggest that you make an effort to get on as many as possible, preferably with them underway, before you make a decision about which boat to buy. The more experience you have with different boats the more educated you'll be about design, features, operation, and equipment and the better a decision you'll be able to make about which boat to buy. If it's the last boat you're going to buy, you want it to be the right one.

Hunt around for sailing groups in your area, including Meetup groups, to find opportunities to sail on other people's boats. Most boat owners who are not cruising but like to get out on their boat a lot are usually looking for crew with some frequency.
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Old 03-02-2014, 16:53   #20
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Re: Keels

OK, now for a curveball.
Had a full keeler many years ago, many, many years ago, sold it and bought a fin keel boat with a really dep, really short fin keel. The fin keel boat would move in any wind from 5 to 50 knts when set up right, it was a bit more work to sail straight though and a bit exciting in a large following sea, it liked to yaw. But was a monster upwind, a joy to sail.
The full keeler was steady and went straight with little or no work at the helm, even with poor sail trim, but was awkward in tight quarters, also a bit slow in light wind.
My current ride is a modified full keel/extended fin keel, with a skeg hung rudder, depending on how you like to define it. It has good sea manners, will sail straight with minimum effort and points relatively well, not the best in light wind but I'm looking for a big asym to remedy that. Since it's an encapsulated lead keel it's also pretty rugged.
My needs dictated a bigger, more stable cruising boat but I didn't want to loose the performance my fin keel had, it's a fair compromise, it's steady at sea but still can be manuvered in a tight space, a little bit slower but not as much so as a full keel.
On the second day I had sailed it I had to get into a service dock by going around the back of the dock and doing a J turn, there was 25' between the end of the dock and a sea wall, with just enough space between the dock and the boat to the port side to fit it in. Did I mention it's 47' with no bow thruster? By using the prop and the rudder and spinning the boat I was able to get it into the dock.
It turns well enough, not like a fin keeler, but better than a full keel boat, because of the longer keel it's steadier and reacts slower but can still be turned and handled in a tight space.
It's a good compromise, so you don't have to go to either extreme, it might be another choice to consider.
When I bought it I considered adding a bow thruster but I don't feel the need to now.
Modified full? Modified fin? Depends on how you look at it.
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Old 03-02-2014, 17:43   #21
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Re: Keels

Camper Nicholson 58; 15'-7" beam; 36 tons. The smaller CNs are mini-me. We have the swing CB but rarely use it. Draft is 6'-8". Realtively shallow draft is another advantage of a long keel.

The normal turn radius under way is about 120 feet, however, it can be maneuvered in much tighter space.

Our slip is a 180 turn from the main channel in a 90 ft wide water way. Often there are big yachts parked at the restaurant sea wall behind us. I drop the speed to about 1/4 knot at the end of the main channel and start the helm over. This converts the forward speed into rotation. Practice lets me have the boat die while spinning slowly. Adjustments with the prop walk and rudder, forward & reverse let me line up the bow. A slight cross wind is useful. Plan for the maneuver to end slightly upwind of the slip and let the breeze make the final adjustment. The last 50 yards sometimes take us 5 minutes.

Patience, don't let the water way traffic rush you. If We can get this tank in our skinny slip you can do it too. I really like the advice - don't buy the boat based on how well you can park it. I was pleasantly surprised BTW on how well our boat goes to weather and its top speed. I was prepared for a dog.

If you are interested, there is a double ender I can send photos of one in our yard that is for sale. Well cared for. (or call Torresen The Sailboat Specialists Since 1965 | Torresen Marine Inquire regarding Maggie O'Kattie)

CURRENT LISTINGS: (I am have no connection to Torresen or used boats)
Torresen Marine, Inc. - The Sailboat Specialists (Muskegon, MI)

Boats that spent their lives on fresh water with very short seasons have a lot of useful life left in them.
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Old 03-02-2014, 22:05   #22
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Re: Keels

Nicholson58.
Nice boat. You know I am so glad that I started this thread. I have gained a lot more understanding and knowledge from every single poster that took the time to write and share their knowledge and expertise with me, yourself included.
I would appreciate viewing the photos of the boat for sale at your local yard.
Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2014, 22:20   #23
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Re: Keels

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Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
OK, now for a curveball.
Had a full keeler many years ago, many, many years ago, sold it and bought a fin keel boat with a really dep, really short fin keel. The fin keel boat would move in any wind from 5 to 50 knts when set up right, it was a bit more work to sail straight though and a bit exciting in a large following sea, it liked to yaw. But was a monster upwind, a joy to sail.
The full keeler was steady and went straight with little or no work at the helm, even with poor sail trim, but was awkward in tight quarters, also a bit slow in light wind.
My current ride is a modified full keel/extended fin keel, with a skeg hung rudder, depending on how you like to define it. It has good sea manners, will sail straight with minimum effort and points relatively well, not the best in light wind but I'm looking for a big asym to remedy that. Since it's an encapsulated lead keel it's also pretty rugged.
My needs dictated a bigger, more stable cruising boat but I didn't want to loose the performance my fin keel had, it's a fair compromise, it's steady at sea but still can be manuvered in a tight space, a little bit slower but not as much so as a full keel.
On the second day I had sailed it I had to get into a service dock by going around the back of the dock and doing a J turn, there was 25' between the end of the dock and a sea wall, with just enough space between the dock and the boat to the port side to fit it in. Did I mention it's 47' with no bow thruster? By using the prop and the rudder and spinning the boat I was able to get it into the dock.
It turns well enough, not like a fin keeler, but better than a full keel boat, because of the longer keel it's steadier and reacts slower but can still be turned and handled in a tight space.
It's a good compromise, so you don't have to go to either extreme, it might be another choice to consider.
When I bought it I considered adding a bow thruster but I don't feel the need to now.
Modified full? Modified fin? Depends on how you look at it.
Your experience with the different keels has been an eye-opener for me, thanks for sharing.

The one thing that seems consistent throughout this thread is that everybody has good things to say about full keels, even those that have said that it needs a fair share patience to back up or get into tight corners.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:06   #24
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Re: Keels

The one thing that seems consistent throughout this thread is that everybody has good things to say about full keels, even those that have said that it needs a fair share patience to back up or get into tight corners.[/QUOTE]

No matter what boat you get you will need to practice maneuvering with it, size, keel, rudder, windage and weight all come into play.
High school physics helps to understand some of the dynamics.
Practice, practice, practice, until you feel comfortable with the boat, with experience you'll gain confidence. The one thing you don't want to do is get into a situation where you have no backup plan (no pun intended) and get into a panic. No matter what the situation just stay calm, take a deep breath and think it through, you'll do fine.
I've learned much more through my mistakes than I ever did when everything went smoothly, that's what most people call experience, as long as no one gets hurt.
Buy the boat that fits your needs, don't get too wrapped up in the technicalities, there are a lot of strong opinions here, mine included but in the end it's what works for you. so many good boats, and a few stinkers, it's a tough decision, good luck.
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Old 04-02-2014, 16:39   #25
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Re: Keels

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Originally Posted by achil View Post
Nicholson58.
Nice boat. You know I am so glad that I started this thread. I have gained a lot more understanding and knowledge from every single poster that took the time to write and share their knowledge and expertise with me, yourself included.
I would appreciate viewing the photos of the boat for sale at your local yard.
Thanks.
The boat is Maggie O'Katie. Glass boat, wood masts, ketch. Well cared for but out of the water for about 3 years now.

A larger, older boat in need of lots of work is Learnt. Pierson 54

Inquire at Torresen Marine Brokerage in Muskegon, Michigan. They list a lot of boats on their site and the yard is full of boats in the 30 to 45 foot range. I suggest to anyone boat shopping to take a road trip to the yards all around the Great Lakes. There are a lot of lightly used boats whose owners need to sell due to the poor economy. No rust, no blisters. These boats spend 9 months/year on the hard and sail on nice weekends only. Just make sure the interior and decks were kept dry.
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Old 04-02-2014, 17:09   #26
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Re: Keels

Each boat is different regardless of keel design. An underpowered monster full keeler will not be your friend in a tight slipped marina. It won't be anyone else's friend either. You need to decide if you'll be at anchor, on a mooring or tied to a dock. You also need to experiment with different boats, crew and talk with owners so that you can decide.

I've had both and by far my fin keeler was much easier to handle in a marina and would tack easily. My full keeler took a lot more patience and experimentation. It would also be very hard to tack in a light wind and did not like sailing in less than 8 knots. The fin keeler would sail in any wind, even the lightest.

Other people here obviously have had different experiences with different boats and its best to gain your own experience with a boat you may intend to buy.

I think the best combination is a cutaway fore foot keel. It'll track straight and turn when you want it to.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 04-02-2014, 17:17   #27
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Re: Keels

it's not been a problem for me at all. Just learn your boat idiosyncrasies. Frankly fin keel and spade dont steer that well until you get them moving anyway. Unless you lan on steering in reverse where you are going then dont worry-be happy.
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Old 04-02-2014, 20:37   #28
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Re: Keels

Undercutter:
I have never heard of a full keel dropping off or breaking when run aground, and you will probably run aground at least once, or more as I have. I would suggest looking at what I call a modified full keel that is...well just what it sounds like. It is not a fin (like Beneteau), it is part of the hull structure like a full keel (like Island Packet), only less mass than the full keel. Also keep in mind where you intend on arriving, and that may make a difference on what draft you have. I sail mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, East Coast, Bahamas and Carribbean and I would not want more than 6 foot draft, 5 being optimal. Anything less than that on a 35-40 footer would under-perform beating. Some ideas for older, proven lower-cost cruising boats are Morgan 38, Pearson 424, Irwin 43. Just a thought.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:42   #29
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Re: Keels

Codgers coidgering.
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:02   #30
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Re: Keels

The one thing that seems consistent throughout this thread is that everybody has good things to say about full keels, even those that have said that it needs a fair share patience to back up or get into tight corners. (Quote)
A full keel is not your friend in a tight space, at sea it's a plus but in a bay or coastal sailing upwind it's not as effective, it won't point as high or tack as easily, especially in a light wind, for the most part, of course there are exceptions.
Even though people like to say "gentlemen don't sail to wind" the reality is that you will from time to time.
Figure out the type of sailing you will actually be doing in the next 5 years, then buy the boat best suited for that type of sailing.
I'll send a picture of the old boats keel (7.5' draft, narrow trunk, and the new boats keel (6' modified full with cutaway forefoot) to illustrate the marked difference.
The new boat is a bit slower to tack, a little slower in light wind but good in moderate winds, points decently and tacks acceptably well, it's also steadier in a straight line and good downwind. It's a good all arounder. It also works well with my monitor windvane steering. You don't need a full keel boat to cruise comfortably. Just remember there are a lot of choices out there.
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