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Old 27-12-2011, 22:48   #1
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Twin-Keels for Cruising?

The subject has surely been broached before. Came across a photo that got me to wondering...



Thoughts? Anybody got experience with one?
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Old 27-12-2011, 23:31   #2
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

Had a twin keeler once. Was great for inland waters and anchoring close to shore! BUT it didn't go to windward well in that it drifted to weather, especially with one keel out of the water. So getting up wind was time consuming in having to tack more often then others. I preferred motoring up wind.

If they made the keels longer, fore to aft, it might help a lot. And sitting on the rudder is not good for some of them.
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Old 27-12-2011, 23:41   #3
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pirate Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

They're ok... as above to windward is their weak point but in all other aspects they are as good as the single keelers... some makes faster than the fins/longs...
I'd be/have been happy to own and cruise in them
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Old 28-12-2011, 00:03   #4
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

Our boat has twin keels when we need them. I haven't tryed it but in big swells and a good breeze you will need them both half way down when the boat is surfing at 18kt's it helps with stability and takes some pressure off the rudders. I could see twin keels on a monohull if the boat has twin rudders.
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Old 28-12-2011, 11:20   #5
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

I'd be curious to compare my heavy, full keel Dreadnought to a boat like the Centaur for close windedness. In the end it may just mean a bit more patience getting somewhere in exchange for what?... an ability for the boat to stand on it's own?
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Old 28-12-2011, 13:13   #6
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

Nearly bought a Moody some years back that had "bilge keels" as they call them. There are definite advantages, but also some drawbacks. As mentioned, compromised windward performance compared to a single, deeper keel. Also, if you run aground, like with a wing keel, you aren't going to get off by heeling the boat over.

Still, if there hadn't been other reasons to walk away from the Moody, I would have bought it. All in all, I think the advantages and disadvantages of bilge keels pretty much cancel each other out. So, in the end, it's a question of other aspects of the particular boat that would make up my mind.
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Old 28-12-2011, 13:43   #7
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

We have a twin keeled Moody 31. With 5 metre tides in Southern UK and 8m in the Channel Islands we dry out regularly on the clubs concrete scrubbing grid with ease but also some of the other drying harbours we visit.

Downside is that to windward there is slightly more leeway than the fin version. However, old sails and naff sailing skills would also cause this. In short choppy weather particularly wind over tide conditions if we are hard on the wind then the higher keel can occasionally slam by catching air underneath it. However, you have to be heeled quite far over and have a short steep chop, larger waves don't cause it. Once off the wind then its all down to the skill of the owner who wins a race or the dash to the next marina berth (we won't be beaten by those French yachts).

The keels are classic wing shaped in section and I think towed in slightly to provide lift. The rudder is clear of the bottom when sits on the two keels. I can stand at each end and she doesn't move in the slightest.

A fellow Moody 31 owner had the chance to sail his own fin and a twin keel M31 over the same weekend in similar conditions. His thoughts were that the difference wasn't very much for cruising sailors.

When the advantage really comes in is with the draft, fully loaded we draw 4 feet (1.2m) now that is a draft to cruise the Bahamas with and allows us to squeeze into locations most can't reach.

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Old 28-12-2011, 13:52   #8
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

That's what they are made for, parking when the water runs away.

I've only seen the ones that sit on the fuller twin keels, not shorty keels using the rudder as a tripod leg. I sure as hell hope that rudder in an unconventional design that won't start to get hairlines and absorb water after being sat on, though.
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Old 28-12-2011, 14:06   #9
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butler View Post
I'd be curious to compare my heavy, full keel Dreadnought to a boat like the Centaur for close windedness. In the end it may just mean a bit more patience getting somewhere in exchange for what?... an ability for the boat to stand on it's own?
I think beating to windward in a strong F5 you would walk away from us but that is more down to the Dreadnought weighing twice our weight. In calmer conditions I think we would be faster but again so much is down to the skills of the owner or if they are in chill out mode, the condition of the bottom paint and sails etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I've only seen the ones that sit on the fuller twin keels, not shorty keels using the rudder as a tripod leg. I sure as hell hope that rudder in an unconventional design that won't start to get hairlines and absorb water after being sat on, though.
The rudder is a standard GRP design but about 6" clear of the bottom when dried out.

Pete
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Old 28-12-2011, 14:10   #10
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
We have a twin keeled Moody 31. With 5 metre tides in Southern UK and 8m in the Channel Islands we dry out regularly on the clubs concrete scrubbing grid with ease but also some of the other drying harbours we visit.

Downside is that to windward there is slightly more leeway than the fin version. However, old sails and naff sailing skills would also cause this. In short choppy weather particularly wind over tide conditions if we are hard on the wind then the higher keel can occasionally slam by catching air underneath it. However, you have to be heeled quite far over and have a short steep chop, larger waves don't cause it. Once off the wind then its all down to the skill of the owner who wins a race or the dash to the next marina berth (we won't be beaten by those French yachts).

The keels are classic wing shaped in section and I think towed in slightly to provide lift. The rudder is clear of the bottom when sits on the two keels. I can stand at each end and she doesn't move in the slightest.

A fellow Moody 31 owner had the chance to sail his own fin and a twin keel M31 over the same weekend in similar conditions. His thoughts were that the difference wasn't very much for cruising sailors.

When the advantage really comes in is with the draft, fully loaded we draw 4 feet (1.2m) now that is a draft to cruise the Bahamas with and allows us to squeeze into locations most can't reach.

Pete
A very pretty boat and i agree with your comments, it's all to do with compromises to be able to explore shallow bays and creeks opens up some lovely areas.
Wetted surface area is the downer but i agree totally cruising is not racing, there's many more areas and issues that slow our boats down than the keels that your handy yacht has!! Sail trim the number one... Cheers Frank
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Old 28-12-2011, 15:11   #11
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

Although great (in tidal regions) for cheap (free?) hull cleaning / antifouling, to be honest I wouldn't buy one just for that. Nor even for the ability to run aground (unexpectedly!) and then remain upright.......only really makes sense if your own mooring or intended cruising grounds dry out (as per the Photo by OP).....my mooring does . I could park her in a Marina, but would cost around 3k pa, my own (drying) mooring costs around 80pa (plus I pay for and maintain the 4 chains etc).....that pays for a lot of bits!

Also just to say that Bilge (or Triple) Keels are not a licence to park the boat anywhere or in any conditions - and expect her to survive unscathed. Over here a few Westerly Centaurs have had a keel fall off (actually more about being driven up through the hull), and that on there own (drying) moorings! (too exposed to weather)........and nothing wrong with the Westerly........on an exposed beach the process may be quicker!......basically as the tide comes in (and goes out) there is a period where the boat will be lifted (by the sea) and then dropped onto the seabed (as the sea retreats)......the more swell / waves the bigger the drop!......and no boat is really designed for that - except maybe Catamarans which have a pass on Physics. and Gravity.


Tide half in (or out!) - moorings in the crook of the Harbour wall are fore and aft (inc. mine) - the others (less protected) are swinging moorings (and mostly smaller boats = less weight crashing down, and less expensive if it sinks!).............For ease of singlehanded mooring I would have much preffered a swinging mooring, but even my boat with triple keels not up to being somewhere that bit more exposed to the weather (indeed that's where / why one of the Westerly Centaurs lost a keel - it was a g/f of my Father's).....in the winter (and at the moment) my boat is moored in the adjacent harbour, as in winter gales from the East would be too unprotected even in the lee of the Fort.

The above a bit of a ramble but just trying to get accross that going for a b/k yacht is not without it's compromises on the drying out side.

Sailing performance wise, I don't really have the comparative experiance to say - but my understanding is that in general terms there is a performance penalty, but that varies between boat designs from negligible to being a dog - earlier designs (60's / 70's?) were more about keeping boat upright than performance under sail (and were often attached to more sedate vessels), whereas in later years more thought went into the design of the keels.

FWIW one of the best boats I have sailed on for seaworthiness was a 30' Westerly Pentland (with B/k's) - looks a bit like a Caravan!, but sailing performance belies her looks - apparently not much (if any) difference in performance to the fin keel version.
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Old 28-12-2011, 15:47   #12
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

If the area you are cruising calls for a bilge keeler, then do get one. A lifting keel like on an Ovni is another option.

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Old 29-12-2011, 12:42   #13
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

Bray Yacht Design and Research Ltd. - The Advantages of Twin Keels
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Old 29-12-2011, 13:06   #14
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

I owened a Westerly Centaur 26 twin keeler for several years. I cruised it through the Great Lakes, Southern Florida and the Bahamas.

Overall, I thought it was a great cruisier for the price. It had more interior space and better headroom than most boats in it's size ranger. The 3 foot draft was great for the shallow waters of the Bahamas and Florida Keys.

It didn't point great and took a pretty good wind to get it up to hull speed, but that's true of most shallow-draft heavier displacement boats.

I always felt good about leaving it on the hard knowing it would sit there even without jack stands.

One notable difference between twin keel boats and center keel boats is that the draft will respond in the opposite way when heeling - The leward bilge keel will move towards center, taking up more draft as the boat heels. For similar reasons, if you get both keels grounded, kedging off isn't likely to work.
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Old 29-12-2011, 14:29   #15
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Re: Twin-Keels for Cruising?

If I could have a second boat (and having two sailboats at the same time is almost as insane as having two wives at the same time, and with similar consequences - namely bankruptcy and insanity), it would be a bilge keeler.

As David pointed out, it's not exactly a license to park anywhere. However, it certainly makes drying out at least 10x safer and more comfortable. It opens up all kinds of possibilities to explore places you can't go near to in a fin keel boat. A fantastic thing in a place with a large tidal range like the English Channel.

As others have said, there is a price to pay in terms of performance upwind. The size of that penalty varies depending on the quality of the design. The Bill Dixon designed Moody bilge-keelers like Pete's are supposed to be outstandingly good -- to such an extent that well-sailed with decent sails they can stay with average fin keelers. Of course you can also simply motor upwind -- as I did in my previous boat, which with her long keel couldn't go up wind to save her life.

I saw a French bilge keeler dried out in Normandy -- afraid I didn't catch the name -- with extremely high aspect bulb keels -- two of them, very long and very thin. Now that must be something. I bet it goes upwind like a bat out of h*ll. The tidal range is in Normandy and Northern Brittany is the greatest in all of Europe, so bilge keels will be particularly useful there.
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