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Old 25-09-2006, 11:04   #1
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retractable keel question

I'm new to this forum. I've been looking at different sites that have sailboats for sale, what are the pros and cons of having a retractable keel? Is this pretty much only to get in shallow water??
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Old 25-09-2006, 11:18   #2
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Cons:
1-More stuff to break
2-More expensive
3-Moving parts where you can't reach them (under the boat)
4-More useless weight on the boat
5-Performance probably inferior upwind to true fin keel
6-When in doubt, see #1. "KISS".

Pros:
1-You can retract the keel to get into shoal water
2-Performance *might* be better downwind, without the drag of a keel
3-When you run aground, you'll be really close to shore.<G>
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Old 25-09-2006, 12:52   #3
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Depends also on the size of the boat .......

Trailer sailers twix 20 and 26 foot are a great way to get into sailing with moderate costs. If they did not have a swing or retractible keel then you'd find it very hard to tow them around behind your car or truck - and even harder to launch from a trailor. Can be a great way to sail in multiple locations economically.
On bigger yachts there have been lots of successful swing or retractible keel designs also - but the advantages of getting into shallow water are as others have said, usually outweighed by lack of sailing performance.
Good luck with whatever you choose
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Old 27-09-2006, 16:25   #4
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Many of the Joe Adams designed 40' yachts have a lifting keel. In Australia, the centre-cockpit, steel, lifting keel Adams 40 is seen as the "perfect" blue-water cruising design for a couple. I have spent a bit of time sailing one, and, given the steel construction, it's sailing performance seemed quite reasonable to me.
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Old 27-09-2006, 19:23   #5
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If you sail in shallow waters your opinion changes a lot. I don't have one but here in the Chesapeke where the waters do get shallow a lot they are more popular with a great many people.

When you have deep water you get the pointing ability but when you are in close the shoal draft is welcome. It's more about where you go. Nothing is a free lunch as they take extra work to keep them working properly and when they fail they can be a lot of trouble.
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Old 28-09-2006, 11:57   #6
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Personally not a real big fan of centerboard or swing keels, for the reasons already mentioned, however when it comes to a trailersailor I think the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. If you plan on mooring it then I would say the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, even if you are shoal bound boat, i would prefer a shoal draft fin over a swing or centerboard, but that's just personal preference.

Of course there are also the disadvantages with a centerboard of having a keel with limited ballast.
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Old 28-09-2006, 12:32   #7
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Southerly have been making superlative lift keel yachts for a long time and their upwind performance has little to be embarassed about. They are true blue water boats as well.

main advantage - ability to get into shallow places.

Main disadvantage - space taken up in saloon by lift keel gear.
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Old 28-09-2006, 16:04   #8
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IMHO the perceived disadvantage of a retractable keel/centerboard are far out-weighted by the many advantages.
Advantages:
When you run aground (not if you run aground) damage to the boat is minimal is any at all.
Shallow water cruising is a joy
If you are looking for a quiet anchorage, shallow draft wins out all the time.
Downwind performance is brilliant, if in any type of a seaway there is little tendency to broach or trip
The lifting mechanism can be as simple (KISS) or as complex as you want.
If you plan on sailing in tidal areas you can beach the boat and do maintenance on the hull.


Disadvantages:
If you have habit of sailing in triangles you may not beat the latest racers
Takes up interior room, however a well designed interior will mitigate that somewhat
There is a potential that the centerboard could be jammed in the retracted position if after a beaching, the right size rock got caught in the right place at the right time
PITA to apply anti-fouling
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Old 28-09-2006, 16:47   #9
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Ah Yes - but not as good as a fixed keel.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weyalan
Many of the Joe Adams designed 40' yachts have a lifting keel. In Australia, the centre-cockpit, steel, lifting keel Adams 40 is seen as the "perfect" blue-water cruising design for a couple. I have spent a bit of time sailing one, and, given the steel construction, it's sailing performance seemed quite reasonable to me.
We had a GRP Adams 40 for three years - and it was very much a cruiser with a racing attitude.

We even luckily won the Freo Harbour Race (on handicap) against Farrs, Davidsons etc etc.

Jo Adams was was super designer and its good to see his style carried on by Lidgard, but IMHO the fixed keel would leave the swing keel miles behind.

And on a 1000 mile leg that would maybe translate to 3 more days at sea.............

Cheers
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Old 28-09-2006, 18:29   #10
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I beg to differ!!

Only if going hard to weather does a fixed keel boat have a an advantage. Even then it may not be so much if Ted Hoods Robins are any indication. Off the wind, the reduced form drag and wetted surface of a C/B or lift keel boat comes into it's own. Yes you do give up some stiffness but it's not as critical once you crack off. I've got a P35 that is fairly new to me so don't have a ton of experience with it. On impromptu contests she seems to point almost as high as the deep keel boats but is faster off the wind.

After more than 10,000 miles of ocean sailing, windward performance doesn't really mean squat. Hard on the wind is very uncomfortable, hard on the boat, sails and equipment and not very fast in the typical ocean swells. Not something that you do for day in/day out sailing. Only the racers are crazy enough to do it and they usually don't do it for more than an hour or two. Long distance ocean races like the Bermuda and Transpac are mostly reaches or surfing runs so the advantage of a deep keel isn't all that big. The ultra short bulbed keels aren't giving away a lot on wetted surface. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be ready for prime time judging by the number that are resting on the bottom after departing the hull.

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Old 29-09-2006, 04:21   #11
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Another disadvantage is that you may find yourself in places like this, way too quiet. How can one get any rest without hearing your neighor's genset running all night.



Not only that you may find youself getting all types of unwanted attention.

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Old 29-09-2006, 04:48   #12
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I'll bite ~ where are these pics taken ?
I wanna guess the inner pond (airstrip) & pig beach at/near Staniel Cay, but ...
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Old 29-09-2006, 19:11   #13
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Those pigs are TOO funny!

Buddy of mine had a B25, 25' overall 2,000 lbs displacement. Really fun little ULDB racing boat. What they did on that machine was design in a dagger board. It dropped straight down and bolted to the well inside the cabin. (Big rubber gasket) There was a small hole in the cabin roof that you dropped the main halyard thrugh to pull the dagger board up and down. Simple simple simple and it sailed well to weather.

The idea was that, pulled up, it made the boat much easier to trailer. It wasn't designed to be adjusted underway.

Just another option to think of..

-jim lee
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Old 29-09-2006, 19:39   #14
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I like the idea of retractable keels.

Providing that you can get one that is easy to get to to make repairs and such.

I know that if I built a boat that had that design drawn on a bluprint. I would confer with a marine designer. To set it up to make it easy to repair over the ones that are out there sailing today!!
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Old 29-09-2006, 20:53   #15
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Hi K, great to see you back.
There is no easy way to get to any retractable Keel. They are designed to come right out of the boat to be worked on. In saying that, it is reasonably straight forward.
To add to the other comments, the only major issue I see with lifting keels is the room they take up inside and the apparatus used to lift them. There are also issues if the thing gets jammed, and it can happen. But then, a long keel can fall off, so hey...... It just comes down to what you want to do where you want to go and the rest is just working around the compromises.
My 6'9" draft means I am greatly restricted and I have to be doubly careful.
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