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Old 18-02-2010, 12:39   #1
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Mini-Keels vs Boards - Opinions ?

My wife and I are in the process of narrowing down our choices for a retirement cat. This move should happen in the next 2-3 years. We spent last weekend at our first boat show (in Miami) and went away, confused, excited, disillusioned, committed, but mostly asking a lot of questions of ourselves about what we really want.
Our plans are to spend the first 1-2 years on the rum and palm tree circuit but eventually head offshore, both east and west and spend some serious time in blue water so I am looking for suggestions on a compromise when it comes to a cat. A mini-keel cat in the 40-45 foot range could potentially give me more room than my first house; the trade off, performance especially up-wind. A cat in the same size range with boards will potentially give me the performance I loved in my beach cat (well sort-of) and would allow me better up-wind performance, maybe sacrifice some living space, but at a higher price point then the mini-keel boats (this is based on the Catanas, Dolphins, and Main Cats I have seen out there). So I am seeking opinions on perhaps a board boat I over looked or a mini-keel boat with “near” board performance. A new boat is not necessary, maybe not even desired, but not excluded.
Thanks in advance for your opinions.
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Old 18-02-2010, 16:02   #2
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Seems like you pretty well understand the pros and cons - boards will be a bit faster, and better to windward, but will cost some room, and maybe dollars.

If you're going to have sail drives, then I'd suggest mini-keels. They'll offer protection for the legs, and should also allow you to beach the boat.

Good performing mini keel boats? Maybe have a look at some of the Seawinds, or Fusion 40's?
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Old 18-02-2010, 20:16   #3
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I'd recommend your taking test sails on as many different cats as you can.
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Old 19-02-2010, 08:40   #4
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Thanks for the input. We have been chartering several models, Lagoons, Island Sprit, Main Cat so we are getting a feel for at least those.

We looked at the Seawing 1160 in Miami and was hoping a Fusion had been there; sounds like time for a trip down under. The other detail i left off my original post is the fact i am 6'7" tall so the skin on the top of my hrad is a consideration. Oh well, if it were easy it wouldn't be any fun, right?
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Old 21-02-2010, 17:55   #5
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I asked the same question on many occasions. I have received different answers. I owned a Leopard 46 with mini keels and I found that it went to windward very poorly. If you are ever spending time in an area where your navigation requires going to windward for long periods of time you will be running your engines a lot. When I took her from southern Florida to the Virgins, I just took 10 extra 5 gallon cans of fuel and I made it under power most of the time. On the other hand, no matter how well you construct the water tight box around the center board, if you hit something and the integrity of the box is compromised, your hull will likely sink! Tough decision. The admiral has categorically said......No center boards!
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Old 21-02-2010, 19:37   #6
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When you outfit your boat with typical live aboard gear, move all your personal stuff aboard, load up with food, fuel and water and take off upwind into the trades and seas, the centerboard vs mini keel debate will seem quaint. And a waste of time.

Don't fret it.

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Old 21-02-2010, 20:13   #7
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a loaded multi will not do well board or not-think trade winds and down wind sailing in multi-The main advantaes of the multi are at anchor shallow draft -wide cockpit-and the light and airy upper deck and salon areas.When it comes to passage performance up or down wind I believe the modern(not old tech compare apples to apples)) mono has a significant edge-there are now many monos designed for ocean passages and live aboard that can do the 200 mile day. Down wind with modern sails and handeling gear these boats can surf along in the teens with good safe contol short handed. up wind the multi cruiser(ususally overloaded) is a piggy compared to these modern monos. The reason multis can thrash monos in races is a mater of weight,weted surface and sail carring ability and none of these advantages of racing multis are pertanent to the average loaded liveaboard housamaran. Your choice I believe comes down to style and what appeals to your honey.
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Old 22-02-2010, 13:41   #8
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Rubbish. I watched a fully loaded, full time liveaboard cruising catamaran repeatedly beat a RACING mono on the windward legs in a local regatta recently.

The mono was faster downwind purely due to being able to use it's spinnaker (racing division) only to be caught and overtaken again on the windward legs.

It depends on the design.
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Old 22-02-2010, 14:49   #9
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Yeah, my PDQ is no racing machine, but it passes cruising monohulls handily.

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Rubbish. I watched a fully loaded, full time liveaboard cruising catamaran repeatedly beat a RACING mono on the windward legs in a local regatta recently.

The mono was faster downwind purely due to being able to use it's spinnaker (racing division) only to be caught and overtaken again on the windward legs.

It depends on the design.
Just as I would not compare a 32' cat with a 32' cat on price or space, I would not compare them on speed. If you compare them to a 36' monohull on all fronts, then it is more similar. Perhaps a 40' monohull off the wind in any breeze at all, since I consider 8-9 knots a very comfortable everyday reaching pace.

My last cat had boards (Stiletto) and it was certainly faster, but I don't think the boards were the reason; 27' and 1300 pounds vs. 32' and 7500 pounds. It was much quicker, but didn't point too much higher or tack any more certainly. I think the newer mini-keel boats can do well.

I should also note that I broke boards 2x on submerged logs over a 15 year period.
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Old 26-02-2010, 00:30   #10
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........I should also note that I broke boards 2x on submerged logs over a 15 year period.
I think you've put your finger on the differences with that statement. It's not only performance vs maintenance. There can be a twofold safety issue here. First, as you pointed out, striking and breaking a board, 2nd, getting caught in a squall with your boards down ( turn turtle). Lastly, those dagger board towers make great oyster beds as we remember that just about every boat made spends >95% of it's life at anchor or at the dock.

Over all, I'd say that Gentlemen never go to windward anyway , as our Admirals would have our heads if we decide to beat our brains out for days on end.
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Old 26-02-2010, 04:29   #11
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If you have the right cat designed with some load carrying capability and good engine performance and adequate fuel capacity (without lugging jerrycans) motor if you need to go to windward badly enough.
Many production vessels both cats and monos have totally inadequate fuel capacity for crusing. There are some new designs starting to come available with that capacity and not available 2nd hand.

One advantage of some minikeels is the boyancy they provide. some vessels would have up to 500kg boyancy in the minikeels giving an increase in load capacity.

For crusing I doubt the lack of boards is a issue. I don't want the complication.

fbchristo,

If you are going to come to aust to look at boats the Santuary cove boat show in on at Gold Coast on 20-23 May 2010 is the best boat show in Aust. Will be some new designs on show including Seawind 1250 and first of the new Montebello 12.5 which is a big 40ft vessel and will give the new seawind and Fusions a hard time.

http://www.montebelloyachts.com/ - a Roger Hill (NZ designer)

Would be good to see a 44C Oram there 44ft crusing cat !!!!! If you came out you would want to look at some of the Orams even if there are not at the show and the FreeFlow 40 and 46 under construction.

Cheers
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Old 26-02-2010, 12:56   #12
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I think you've put your finger on the differences with that statement. It's not only performance vs maintenance. There can be a twofold safety issue here. First, as you pointed out, striking and breaking a board, 2nd, getting caught in a squall with your boards down ( turn turtle). Lastly, those dagger board towers make great oyster beds as we remember that just about every boat made spends >95% of it's life at anchor or at the dock.

Over all, I'd say that Gentlemen never go to windward anyway , as our Admirals would have our heads if we decide to beat our brains out for days on end.
Hitting a submerged object with a minikeel can do damage too. But it will be the hull of the boat, not just a removable appendage.

The risk of being "tripped over" by daggerboards left down is probably only slightly greater than that of being tripped by minikeels. And with boards there is the option of raising them, thus eliminating that risk. In reaity if the wind is much over 20 knots, you won't have a lot of board down anyway.

And sometimes you really do have to sail to windward.
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Old 26-02-2010, 18:55   #13
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Thanks for all the input. I am never disappointed on the variety of opinions when a question is thrown out. I think for us it will all come down to if the right boat is available at the time we are for what we can ay at the time. Downunder, won’t make it to the Santuary cove boat show but will give the Oram a look on line. In the mean time we’ll keep chartering and learning and asking questions. Downunder, won’t make it to the Santuary cove boat show but will give the Oram a look on line.
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Old 26-02-2010, 19:57   #14
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I would agree with 44C - we have boards on our cat. A big advantage is that they allow us to get into very shallow water, less than a metre with boards up and still float. We have found that they are very difficult to adjust when sailing to windward due to the side/fore/aft loads holding them in the cases.
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Old 26-02-2010, 21:55   #15
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Chances to hit something with boards are generally bigger since the surface area is or sticks deeper, on a cat with mini keels a draft of 1.10 ( 3 ft 8 in )to 1.30 ( 4ft4 in) is the norm wile with dagger boards this is more like 2.00 ( 6 ft 4 in) to 2.40 meter (8ft )
A dagger board costs inside spaced and it happens that the casing leaks. there is more work involved with a dagger board . The real advantages slightly higher pointing and less draft . I do not see a higher speed with dagger boards over mini keels, on the contrary dagger boards have a higher weight and the slot in the up position also creates drag.
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