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Old 17-09-2014, 23:17   #1
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Sailing with a Swing Keel Half Way Down?

Could I buy a swing keel boat for lake sailing and for example lower a 5ft draft keel down only halfway ? How safe is this ? How bad in theory will it effect the sailing ? Too much stress on the boats rigging etc ? I'm just cruising , no racing. I like the idea of having the deep keel in case I ever moved it to the ocean.

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Old 17-09-2014, 23:50   #2
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Most drop keels rotate around a point at the front of the box, as they go down, so a half dropped one will be in the wrong place, too far aft. Might produce some weird handling upwind. Downwind, I used to do this all the time in my Wayfarer.
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Old 18-09-2014, 00:07   #3
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captrhino View Post
Could I buy a swing keel boat for lake sailing and for example lower a 5ft draft keel down only halfway ? How safe is this ? How bad in theory will it effect the sailing ? Too much stress on the boats rigging etc ? I'm just cruising , no racing. I like the idea of having the deep keel in case I ever moved it to the ocean.

Thanks
Let's get our terms straight first: A swing keel is a weighted appendage that pivots at the front and acts as ballast as well as a foil to generate lift and minimize leeway. They are typically found on cheap daysailers like McGregors intended for use in protected inland waters. They are unsafe even in those waters as a knockdown can cause the keel to retract and the boat turn turtle. Hopefully, if that happens you are close enough to swim to shore.

A keel center board boat has a fixed, shallow draft, ballasted keel with a hinged center board that can be lowered to reduce leeway. The centerboard is usually only weighted enough to sink into position. Most are fiberglass foils though they have been made out of bronze and other metals. The board has little if any effect on stability. It is there to counteract leeway. Stability is handled by either internal ballast or a ballasted keel. On some boats sailing with the keel partially lowered can have beneficial effects on boat trim. The Pearson 35, Tartan T34C, and Hinckley Bermuda 40 are examples.

Last but not least is a drop keel. The keel can be raised vertically for shallow water and/or trailering. The keel is usually locked in position, either up or down. It works the same as a fixed deep keel for stability and resisting leeway. The Hobie 33 is the most common boat with this kind of keel.

Please do not call a keel centerboard boat a swing keel. They have almost nothing in common with those POS SWING KEEL BOATS.
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Old 18-09-2014, 00:39   #4
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

The answer is no. A swing keel (un-ballasted, pivot at the front of centrecase) is designed to be up or down. Part way up it will move the centre off lateral resistance, and effect the handling of the boat. Possibly severely.
A drop keel may seem better, but the stability of the boat will be effected without the keel fully down - it may no longer self right...
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Old 18-09-2014, 00:47   #5
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Let's get our terms straight first: A swing keel is a weighted appendage that pivots at the front and acts as ballast as well as a foil to generate lift and minimize leeway. They are typically found on cheap daysailers like McGregors intended for use in protected inland waters. They are unsafe even in those waters as a knockdown can cause the keel to retract and the boat turn turtle. Hopefully, if that happens you are close enough to swim to shore.

Please do not call a keel centerboard boat a swing keel. They have almost nothing in common with those POS SWING KEEL BOATS.
Interesting how much you know about POS.
I'm sure there are swing keels without locking bolts, but the couple I'm familiar with do have lock bolts including the POS MacGregors. I don't think they're offshore boats, Macgregor does not claim they are offshore boats. The vast majority do not sail offshore, would not go out in strong conditions and don't need or want a heavy offshore POS that needs 20 knots of wind before it can sail. (Now I'm generalizing.)

I'd probably never buy a MacGregor or equivalent, but I have met many people that are extremely happy with their POS trailerable boats.

Macgregor Venture series, from: http://www.macgregorsailors.com/manu..._25_Manual.pdf

Lower the keel until the hole in the top of the keel lines
up with the lock hole in the keel trunk. Insert the 3/8 x 3 1/2" lock bolt through the keel trunk
and the keel,

The boat is self-righting only with the keel locked down. The lock bolt will assure that the keel
angle is proper, and that the keel stays down in the event of a severe knockdown.
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Old 18-09-2014, 00:57   #6
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

I have a "POS swing keel" 20' that sailed from New Zealand to Australia so your generalisations and put downs sound like you are talking about stuff that you are ill informed about. It is also JOG rated and a similar model has crossed Bass Strait.

Coops.
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Old 18-09-2014, 06:17   #7
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Can anyone name a boat in the 21-28ft range with a keel that's 3ft or less while down ?


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Old 18-09-2014, 06:23   #8
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Several people mention that a centerboard half-way down can affect handling. Yeah. That's the point! Sometimes you WANT it to affect the handling in a certain way.

So, absolutely nothing wrong with lowering the keel partially, assuming you understand what you are doing and why.

I used to own a San Juan 23, which is one of those keel/centerboard boats that roverhi was talking about. Depending on the point of sail I would let the keel down part-way, all the way, or not at all. This is a very common way of adjusting your boat's trim for boats with that sort of system.

Currently I own a small sailing dinghy with a swing keel. On it, too, I will put the keel down to different depths, depending on how I want to affect the boat's trim. As for the keel suddenly retracting in a knockdown... Yeah, that can happen. That can happen as easily when it is all the way down as it can when it is half-way down. When it happens I pull it back out, right the boat, and go on about my sailing. Not really a big deal, which is one of the reasons that this kind of small sailing dinghy is excellent for learning how to sail, and the various effects of sail trim and so on.

Good luck.
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Old 18-09-2014, 06:49   #9
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Let's get our terms straight first: A swing keel is a weighted appendage that pivots at the front and acts as ballast as well as a foil to generate lift and minimize leeway. They are typically found on cheap daysailers like McGregors intended for use in protected inland waters. They are unsafe even in those waters as a knockdown can cause the keel to retract and the boat turn turtle. Hopefully, if that happens you are close enough to swim to shore.

A keel center board boat has a fixed, shallow draft, ballasted keel with a hinged center board that can be lowered to reduce leeway. The centerboard is usually only weighted enough to sink into position. Most are fiberglass foils though they have been made out of bronze and other metals. The board has little if any effect on stability. It is there to counteract leeway. Stability is handled by either internal ballast or a ballasted keel. On some boats sailing with the keel partially lowered can have beneficial effects on boat trim. The Pearson 35, Tartan T34C, and Hinckley Bermuda 40 are examples.

Last but not least is a drop keel. The keel can be raised vertically for shallow water and/or trailering. The keel is usually locked in position, either up or down. It works the same as a fixed deep keel for stability and resisting leeway. The Hobie 33 is the most common boat with this kind of keel.

Please do not call a keel centerboard boat a swing keel. They have almost nothing in common with those POS SWING KEEL BOATS.

The swing keel is also signature feature of some excellent, very expensive, blue water cruisers...


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Old 18-09-2014, 07:02   #10
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Are you looking for something that is easily trailerable?

Coops Sunmaid 20 draws 3' 3" with the board down, close to your requirements.

Less easily trailerable,

In the keel-centerboard line I know of the Shaw 24, which apparently the Dolphin 24 is derived a bit from. They draw less than 3 feet with the board up and can be sailed that way with reduced windward performance.

Our club had a Bristol 22 Caravel that has a fin keel (fixed) that draws 3' 6".

Bayfield 25 full keel draws less than 3'.
Lyle Hess's full keel Falmouth Cutter 22 draws 3' 6".
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Old 18-09-2014, 07:12   #11
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coops View Post
I have a "POS swing keel" 20' that sailed from New Zealand to Australia so your generalisations and put downs sound like you are talking about stuff that you are ill informed about. It is also JOG rated and a similar model has crossed Bass Strait.

Coops.
I too raise my hand and am not afraid to say I LOVE MY POS!!!!
(thanks for standing up first and taking the pressure off coops)
Oh... and my fully encapsulated keel... and my lead bulb keel...
THEY ALL SERVE DIFFERENT PURPOSES!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captrhino View Post
Can anyone name a boat in the 21-28ft range with a keel that's 3ft or less while down ?

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Cap'n... Different stroke for different folks, and opinions from some who know, and some who have KNOW IDEA (I just coined that... pretty funny eh?)(anyone here a trademark attorney?)

You're 3 hrs away... you can come ride on my POS that works awesome for the SHALLOW LAKES AND RIVERS IN OUR REGION any day... And ya know what??? We'll do something crazy... and actually sail with the board 1/2 way up... Darest I say further up on a public forum?? I've disabled the alarm on the boat that screams through a PA system.... WARNING! BOARD UP! IDIOT SKIPPER ABOARD!

Remainder of answer below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Several people mention that a centerboard half-way down can affect handling. Yeah. That's the point! Sometimes you WANT it to affect the handling in a certain way.

So, absolutely nothing wrong with lowering the keel partially, assuming you understand what you are doing and why.

I used to own a San Juan 23, which is one of those keel/centerboard boats that roverhi was talking about. Depending on the point of sail I would let the keel down part-way, all the way, or not at all. This is a very common way of adjusting your boat's trim for boats with that sort of system.

Currently I own a small sailing dinghy with a swing keel. On it, too, I will put the keel down to different depths, depending on how I want to affect the boat's trim. As for the keel suddenly retracting in a knockdown... Yeah, that can happen. That can happen as easily when it is all the way down as it can when it is half-way down. When it happens I pull it back out, right the boat, and go on about my sailing. Not really a big deal, which is one of the reasons that this kind of small sailing dinghy is excellent for learning how to sail, and the various effects of sail trim and so on.

Good luck.
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Second time in recent history DenverDonualSon give very wise info...

Anybody that EVER raced FJ's, Lasers, 420's ANYTHING with a board... move it all the freakin' time.... (yes... I raced these and more) NOoooooooooooooo..... these are not heavy ballasted swing keels... YESSSS... You have to be aware of what you're doing with the ballasted swing keel and...... conditions/point of sail/canvas up etc....

Buy your dang swinger, and have some fun... Don't let the vanilla sailors make you feel ashamed of yourself and your dirty thoughts... (they wish they had a swinger too)
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Old 18-09-2014, 07:17   #12
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleWhisky View Post
The swing keel is also signature feature of some excellent, very expensive, blue water cruisers...


Attachment 88384


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Good one DW!

Cap'n Rhino...

This is not what my swing keel boat looks like.... Leave your smoking jacket at home...
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Old 18-09-2014, 09:11   #13
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Good points. One thing I learned with our swing keel C22 was to always leave it all the way down. Many folks suggest pulling it up when running, but sometimes you just don't know when you may want to or need to turn up very quickly, in which case that keel becomes a necessity. Quickly.
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Old 18-09-2014, 09:30   #14
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

Provided that the mechanism isn't designed to have the keel either up or down there's nothing wrong with having it half way. It will move the centre of lateral resistance aft, which will generally make the boat track better down wind (and go faster due to lower wetted surface area). However, some mechanisms (hydraulic ones for instance) don't like to sit like this as it puts a lot of pressure on things. Your best bet is to ask the manufacturer.
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Old 18-09-2014, 09:43   #15
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Re: Sailing with a swing keel half way down ?

The first sailboat I owned was a swing keel Harpoon built by Boston Whaler.. in the booklet that came with the boat it refered to the keel to be adjusted on a downwind run, to the point the boat started to slip sideways and then drop it another couple inches.. It had duel lines for pulling it up or down..
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