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Old 14-12-2014, 11:51   #1
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Retractable keel vs. 2 meter fin

I'm planning a voyage in a couple of years from BVI to Australia through the Panama Canal with many stops along the way. I own a Beneteau 50 that is coming out of the Sunsail fleet. I'm debating between adding the necessary equipment to it to make it proper for that kind of water sailing">blue water sailing (AIS, watermaker, windvane, solar, hydrogenerator, etc.) or selling it and buying something like an Ovni with a retractable keel/centerboard and adding the necessary equipment to it. The Beneteau is an extremely comfortable boat with enormous tankage and storage capacity, but it has a 2 meter bulbed keel that will probably give it a 7 foot draft by the time the boat is fully loaded. I'm concerned that this draft will give me problems in some shallow anchorages and especially in places like the Tuamotus. I'm interested in the opinions of experienced cruisers.
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Old 16-12-2014, 12:45   #2
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Re: Retractable keel vs. 2 meter fin

I personally own a 45ft sailboat with a 2.5m keel. With my brother, we are engaged in a cruise around the world, via Cape Horn. This was a deliberate choice: not only you achieve much better performances under sail, but a retractable keel is for me an additional area to watch as potential problem source, especially for a long trip.
As usual, this is a matter of compromise: decide what exactly you really want...
A 2.5m keel will definitely not allow you to beach! But in terms of performance at see, there is no comparison: 180 NM per 24h is quite standard for us, even when wind is coming from ahead...
We are now 12000 NM from home (France), crossed Atlantic and went around Cape Horn, and the channels of Patagonia, and never regretted our choice.
Again: everything is a matter of compromise. No bad choice: just decide where you are ready to compromise...

Note: excuse my english (not my mother tongue!).
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Old 16-12-2014, 12:58   #3
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I'd go for the Ovni..
Not saying the Bene's no good.. just really like Ovni's, Garcia's and their kin.. great downwind sailers and not bad upwind.
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Old 16-12-2014, 16:24   #4
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Re: Retractable keel vs. 2 meter fin

The Ovni's are a true go anywhere boat that have been out there and done it. The Beneteau is not in the same league. Should do okay for the voyage you contemplate but wouldn't want to go to high latitudes or sail the southern ocean in one. Also wouldn't want to take any deep fin, bulb keel boat anywhere where there are things that will latch on to it like lobster traps or kelp. Of course, the Beneteau doesn't cost nearly as much as a similar sized Ovni.

The Ovni is a centerboard(s) boat, not a drop keel. There is some hardware that goes with the centerboard(s) but they don't require the engineering and heavy stuff to lift that a drop keel does. A deep keel has an advantage going to weather but once you crack off, you are just dragging around a lot of deadweight and keel depth that will limit your inshore venturing. Have averaged over 140nmpd on my short waterline boat with only a 3'10" draft.
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