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Old 23-08-2011, 04:27   #1
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Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

I'm wondering if I should be soending any more time worrying about the differnece between deep versus shoal keel versions of the same boat...given what I plan to do which is: buy Bavaria 44 or 46 in Greece or Croatia and sail the med, then cross the Atlantic, cruise the West Indies then through the Panama and across the Pacific back to Australia.

I croseed the Atlantioc in 1989/90 in a Prout 37 catamaran which couldn't point to save its life. I never raced or cared about degrees of difference in pointing ability one boat versus another.

So am I really going to notice the difference?
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Old 23-08-2011, 04:56   #2
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Re: shoal versus deep keel concerns

It seems that most long distance cruisers caught on a beat these days point very high all the time - with a simple turn of the key. But mostly they wait till the wind does the right thing - because "gentlemen don't sail to windward".

The amount of boat in the water, keel depth and shape and the distribution of weight in the keel can all have a bearing on point, but so can rigging and sail handling etc. Shoal draft will always provide more destination options and, if you're not racing or don't have to be somewhere tomorrow, would be my choice.
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Old 23-08-2011, 12:08   #3
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Re: shoal versus deep keel concerns

You probably won't mind having a deep keel because where you are going is largely deep water. I would take the "deep keel" option.

For windward efficiency, the deeper and steeper the leading edge of the keel, the better. High aspect ratios really matter.

For stability, you should know where the curve of positive stability crosses below the axis into negative territory; acceptable values can vary depending on size of boat, area of service, and so on. You should insist that Bavaria provide the curves for the shoal and the deep keel. (Just remember that loads of cruiser junk on deck will decrease stability more than you think.) Then get expert opinion if this remains a concern.
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Old 23-08-2011, 12:13   #4
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Re: shoal versus deep keel concerns

I've gone with the deep keel option on the last two boats I purchased, and have not regretted that decision. The higher you can point, the less likely you are to resort to motorsailing.
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Old 23-08-2011, 12:33   #5
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Re: shoal versus deep keel concerns

When cruising, it is amazing how many anchorages seem to suit around a 6ft draft . any more than that and you can't tuck-in close enough to the shore to be out of the roll. Only if you plan to cruise waterways and canals would it be worth thinking about shoaller draft/centreboard boats. But the BIG thing is that the boat MUST be able to point. There is nothing worse than a boat that cannot get into the wind. IMO, of course! Catamarans when loaded with cruising gear are no faster nor more comfortable than mono's. Do some sailing on both before deciding whether you're a mono or multi person.
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Old 23-08-2011, 12:34   #6
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Re: shoal versus deep keel concerns

Oh, - and you're a SAILOR, right? So that means you only use diesel when you absolutely have to. !
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Old 23-08-2011, 12:41   #7
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Re: shoal versus deep keel concerns

Yeah, my cat out pointed everything undersail.... you ARE supposed to run the lee engine in gear for charging batteries and making water going to weather right? (stay to leeward of the boat you're passing... he cant see your exhaust and it drives mono sailors nuts!)

Seriously, however your boat points you'll get used to. The kind of boat you are talking should do well to wx compared with many of the heavy cruisers out there.
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Old 23-08-2011, 14:51   #8
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

FWIW,

We have been cruising for 25 years now in two boats, both with 7'2" draft (+/- loading). Our routes have covered SF to Australia, with lots of zigs and zags and spirals and so on. There have been very few times that I even wished for less draft, and nearly zero when it seriously interfered with our sailing/anchoring. Of course, like all cruisers who go far, we have run aground a few times. In most of these cases, we would soon have run aground in a shoal draft boat... just a little closer to shore!

Where has it been a problem? The entrances to some mangrove creek cyclone holes are shoal, and a 5 foot draft would get one into a few more of them. The inshore passage between Moreton Bay and Southport (Qld, Australia) has a shoal spot that requires a passage at local high water and somewhere near springs at that. The entrance to Aitutaki (northern Cooks) is only about 6 feet, and I would have liked to go in there. May be a few others that I have forgotten...

Where has it been a benefit? Everywhere else!

As far as anchoring depth, anchoring so close to the beach that a 6 foot draft would be a problem is IMO a bad choice. You are nearer lots of undesirable things: mozzies, smells, noise, swimmers, potential thieves, the shore break, the unremarked bommie and so on. We consciously avoid anchoring in less than 15 feet or so, and usually opt for closer to 30. Keeps us away from undesirables in cats who all want to be on the beach (just joking).


And those that say "Gents don't sail to windward" either run their engines far more that I like to do, or they have missed out on lots of the many places of interest that lie to windward of where you happen to be. Good windward performance is a must have in our definition of a cruising boat.

I think you can guess which one I'd be looking at!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 23-08-2011, 15:49   #9
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

I have had no keel (a cat) shoal keel, full keel, mid keel and deep keel boats. The deep keel boat (admitedly a J/32) pointed better than any of them, easily 5 degrees better than the mid keel and lots, lots better than the cat.

As another poster said, since you are mostly going to be in deeper waters, order the deep keel version.

David
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Old 23-08-2011, 16:45   #10
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

Thanks for the thoughts.

The B46s I'm looking at all seem to have standard draft of about 1.85metres (6 feet 1 inch).

The B44s have standard draft of 1.65 metres (5 feet 5 inches).

These boats are 2004-2006 vintage.

There is the odd boat with 2.00 meter draft (B44 2002, and B46 1999 and 1997).

Does 1.85 metres qualify as shoal keel? Or is 1.85 metres on a 46 foot boat kind of average?
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Old 23-08-2011, 22:56   #11
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

Interesting how definitions change. Shoal draft, back in the days when boats used to have to creep into protected creek anchorages, was about three feet or less. These days, when everybody just parks their vessel in well-dredged marinas, the definition changes to 5.5 feet. Marinas change the parameters of need.

Re long distance cruising designs, the Hereshoff H28 was the boat of choice for decades. It drew just 3'6" and was pretty ordinary to windward, but then most circumnavigators spend only a smallish portion of their time on a beat.

Reflecting on change further, the H28 is these days intolerable to most folk because it has sitting headroom only. Funny how that never was a bother to sailing folk a few decades back. I guess we're all gettin soft... and enjoyin it
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Old 23-08-2011, 23:29   #12
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

So much better to sail than to motor sail and pointing adequately helps do that. Do any sailors in this forum not relish the moment we turn off the motor and begin to sail? Deep keel for me every time, I just spent some time in the Florida Keys and Intracoastal with a 6ft keel, it was a limitation sometimes, but never an issue.

For long distance cruising, deep keel, stiff boat, good pointing ability would be my choice.
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Old 24-08-2011, 00:05   #13
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

I only have one comment. If you buy a deep fin keel boat, make sure it is well built, cause your going to try and shear if off whether you like it or not!

There is always that piling or rock that sits just below the surface at mid to high tide, everywhere. And a full keel once plowed upon the shoal, it's stuck good.
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Old 24-08-2011, 03:22   #14
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

What I'm gathering is that 6 foot displacement is going to be generally okay....pointing, dredged marina's etc?
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Old 24-08-2011, 04:32   #15
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Re: Shoal vs Deep Keel Concerns

I had a 5'4' draft boat and now have a 6'4" boat. Both seem to point about the same but, the deep draft really handles sailing sailing upwind better as far as standing up to gusts etc. Also the "shoal" draft boat had a big wing and when it was aground in the mud it was aground.

Overall I like the ride of my current deep draft boat better than my last boat. I doubt that 1' draft is really going to prevent me going anywhere much and the other 99.9% of time is a plus.
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