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Old 04-11-2010, 11:48   #1
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Winged keel - 4'8" draft

My search for a vessel continues. Currently interested in a Beneteau 40' with winged keel, draft is 4'8". Does this relatively shallow draft hinder close hauled performance? thanks, bb
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:53   #2
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I have a Hunter with a 4'11" winged keel. Despite the absence of battens (in mast furling) and the resulting low aspect ratio, I am always surprised at how well it does point. Of course a deep keel and high aspect ratio sail would sail higher, but in my opinion, not more than another 5-8 degrees. Of course, if you are making long windward passages, 5-8 degrees is a lot...
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:38   #3
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Windward ability is a fetish carried over from the racing nuts. In real life, windward ability is very very seldom an issue on a cruising boat. Going to weather may be fun and a challenge for a daysail but gets really really old when you are doing it 24/7. It gets especially painful when there is any kind of a sea running which there almost always is away from land. Almost everyone plans a cruise to have the winds at a close reach at worst. Doesn't always work out but the few degree difference between a boat optimized for windward work and a typical cruiser just isn't that great. It's especially not that great when you take crew fatigue into the equation.

For coastal cruising windward ability has a bit more relevance but it depends on where you sail. If you have long slogs hard on the prevailing wind to get to your favorite anchorage or cruising destination, a few degrees of pointing ability can make you feel better about not having to tack to lay it. Then again, turning on the engine and running it at low rpm motor sailing will let you outpoint even the closest winded boat and burn very littel fuel doing it.

A shallow draft wing keeled boat won't point as high as a deep keel boat. But for all practical purposes in the real world, it ain't no big thing. You may never have occasion to take advantage of the few degress higher pointing ability of a deep keel. You may regret a lot more having the extra draft of deep keel boat if you sail in thin water.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:41   #4
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Thanks for both comments - - quite reasonable. bb
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:53   #5
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actually, they're both the same comment...
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Old 04-11-2010, 16:49   #6
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The short answer to your question is that, basically, yes, the shallow draft will have an adverse effect on windward performance. Take the same boat, with the same rig, but deeper keel and it will point higher than the draft version.

But, having said that, ability to point should probably not be particularly high up your list of priorities when choosing a cruising boat... or, to put it more elegantly: A proper gentleman never sails to windward
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