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Old 29-11-2015, 16:30   #1
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Shoal keel vs Standard

I am looking at a Hunter 35.5 with a winged keel. What is the performance difference between that and a standard fin keel? I realize it is better for shallow waters but what are the pros and cons of it besides the shallow draft.? I'm sailing in the Ventura / Santa Barbara area.

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Old 29-11-2015, 17:21   #2
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

Those little wings turned up at your angle of heel do almost nothing, they look cool. Another neat feature is when you do go aground, you have this great flat plow feature on the bottom of your boat. It holds you upright so you can't pull yourself off.
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Old 29-11-2015, 18:18   #3
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

Quote:
Originally Posted by rick bertram View Post
I am looking at a Hunter 35.5 with a winged keel. What is the performance difference between that and a standard fin keel? I realize it is better for shallow waters but what are the pros and cons of it besides the shallow draft.? I'm sailing in the Ventura / Santa Barbara area.

Rick
I raced a 33.5 with wings for a while. It sailed quite nicely. Pointed well etc. You will get a little more leeway, especially when not under sail, as there is a smaller surface area on the keel. Thus less lateral resistance. Thats something you learn to deal with as you learn the personality of the boat.

While hunters are often criticized as boats not to cross oceans, my experience is they are a good all round pleasure boats for coastal hops and booze cruising.

As far as the above comment about running aground is concerned, yep, it will be a little more tricky to get back into deeper water when grounded. Though the draft will actually decrease when upright. In theory, if you run aground while healing, the draft will decrease if you ease sail and flatten the boat quickly.
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Old 29-11-2015, 19:59   #4
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

You can also bring home dinner with the crab pots and kelp you'll collect. Sailing, you'll hardly notice the difference unless you are a hard core racer.
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Old 29-11-2015, 21:59   #5
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

Look at the differences of the PHRF rating between the deep draft vs shoal for various Hunter models here PHRF New England - Handicapping - Base Handicaps
Smaller number is faster and the delta between two numbers is seconds per mile.
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Old 30-11-2015, 09:34   #6
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

As mentioned, you'll get a bit better upwind performance with the non-shoal version of the Hunter. If you're limiting your sailing to Santa Barbara and Southern California, shoal water is almost a non-issue. With regard to kelp and lobster pots, the standard keel and spade rudder are still vulnerable to these obstacles, but they're usually easily avoidable. You'll do well with either option, given your sailing area.
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Old 30-11-2015, 10:26   #7
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

I owned a Hunter Legend 35.5 with the winged bulb keel.

My understanding is this: Hunter match raced their own boats against each other...one with the standard deep keel, and another with the shoal draft winged bulb. The results were that there was no discernible difference in performance, so they stopped making the deep keel.

I don't know how much of that is true, and how much is urban myth.

However, my hunter performed very well on all points of sail, and had a reasonable draft.

I definitely recommend the winged bulb shoal draft keel.

And the Legend 35.5 in general was a pleasure to own and sail...no hesitation to recommend it. Get the later model with sugar scoop stern...there were many small design improvements you will appreciate, such as the transverse aft cabin bunk (much bigger), the electrical panel, the showers, and the extended use of wood below on cabinetry instead of lexan covers.
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Old 30-11-2015, 10:37   #8
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

Like everything in life, it's a compromise. because a keel goes deeper, you get a lower center of gravity and therefore better performance when heeled over. However you are limited to where you can go because of a deeper draft. We have a wing on our bene 35 and the boat "rounds up" when over powered by the Wind ( which may be a result of the wing keel or the single rudder vs. A dual rudder set up or a combination of the both)But we thoroughly enjoy going to our favorite spot which requires the 5' draft.. as correctly mentioned its theoretically easier to get yourself off if grounded.. I've gotten myself off simply throwing the motor in reverse and backing out of the shoal. Take opinions with a grain of salt, there's a lot of Hunter haters on here. In my opinion you get a lot of bang for your buck with production boats.

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Old 30-11-2015, 10:49   #9
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

I owned a Hunter 35.5 for five years. It is still one of my most favorite boats that I have had (I bought 10 new boats over the years--five Hunters). It had the wing/bulb keel and I enjoyed that configuration quite well. I raced a lot in those days and we didn't point as well as similar boats with deeper keels. But once we figured this out, we'd go charging off in a slightly different direction--our goal was to keep the boat moving well, don't pinch. And when we got to the windward mark, we'd be one of the five first boats there.

Downwind we were amazing. We'd pass boats left and right with our spinnaker up and it drove the rest of the fleet crazy with one other skipper saying our engine was on. I'm sure our big smiles didn't help the situation.

Just for the record we won "Boat of the Year" in racing in Bellingham bay against about 35 good sailed sailboats. I'm proud of that accomplishment. We had the best percentage winning of any sailboat in the fleet. With a winged/bulb keel. I think the 35.5 was one of Hunter's best designed sailboats, part of the golden age.

I also put a Hunter 35.5 (with the wing/bulb keel) on the mud in the Swinomish Slough almost in front of LaConner so that everyone could see. I was a charter skipper helping take the boat to Seattle. I first did the usual by hanging out on the boom. Nothing happened. Then after some thinking, I put all the crew and the owner on the stern, raised the bow and powered off without a problem. A deep keeled boat would have stayed there until the tide rose.

I really liked the 35.5 and look at the trophy from time to time with good memories. The head was small which made the shower hard to use. The aft bunk was large enough, not much space above. The worst thing about the 35.5 was the battery placement in the stern. It was very hard to get to them to service them. PITB. I shoulda moved them into the main cabin somehow. But overall, I rank the 35.5 right behind my H380 and my H27. All good boats.
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Old 30-11-2015, 11:38   #10
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

I can't answer as to the Hunter 35.5. But I have a Hunter 34 shoal draft keel and it does just fine. Unless you are planning on sailing a lot to weather I don't think it makes much difference. There are many more factors IMO that contribute to optimal sailing performance than the keel depth or shape.
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Old 30-11-2015, 11:59   #11
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pirate Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

Looking at the photo the bulbed keel is a copy of the keel designed by Professor Scheel after much research at Stockholm University.
I had that keel on my Moody 38 and it was great, particularly at powering through/over muddy bottoms, or reversing off.I sailed that Moody for some 20,000 miles.
The wings are so small I think their main use is cosmetic/marketing.
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Old 30-11-2015, 13:22   #12
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

I have a legend 37.5 and love how she sails as well as how much room we have down below. She sails well in low wind, too. I have run around a few times, once real good at low tide. I was able to drive off twice, and kedged off once. I recommend the Legend series.

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Old 30-11-2015, 16:14   #13
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

I don't know if the little wings affect performance much, but a Scheel Keel or beaver tail keel makes a good difference. I have sailed tender and stiff boats - stiff is better, and a Scheel keel makes a boat stand up much better.

I sailed for 15 years on the West coast and always had deep keels. you are in 600' feet of depth just outside the marina for heaven's sake! then I moved to the East coast and discovered thin water. I've had shoal keels on both my boats here, and both (Tartans) had a Scheel keel. combined with the hull shape the Tartans go upwind like crazy and stand up to big wind pressing full sails. my 5.3' scheel is just as stiff as my 8.5' fin was.

still, in SoCal and Mexico you won't be running into much shoal water. years ago you might have had an advantage getting close in at Catalina Harbor but I can't imagine they let anyone up in there anymore.
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Old 30-11-2015, 19:12   #14
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

Agree, with previous comments, you have a very nice CQR keel, so stay off the bottom . . .
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Old 30-11-2015, 19:38   #15
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Re: Shoal keel vs Standard

Thanks for all of the input.
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