This is a long debate; the brands that are using it (Catana, Swisscat, Outremer
, etc)are doing it because they believe in it.
The ones who make the cat with a fixed keel (FP,Lagoon, Nautitech and many others) are obviously saying the opposite..
Like many other things on boat design (fixed vs. rotatif mast
, alu mast
vs. carbon, etc..)there are cons and pros.
I've sailed with both of them (Catana 581, O 51, GB 62) with dagger board and almost full range of FP and some Lagoons without.
The pointing ability with dagger board is superior but the difference is not huge. Most of these cats are already better upwind anyway because of their hull
shapes, weight, sail plans, etc. If you add a dagger to Lagoon
450, her pointing ability would only improve marginally, if at all..Vice versae, we tried on O 51 to not the use the dagger boards
at all upwind and we couldn't feel the difference. But again, Outremer
had a beautiful laminated sails
, rotatif mast and slim hulls...
To me, the biggest advantage of dagger boards
are in giving much less leeway; that makes a lot of difference, more on choppy seas and or lighter winds.. Everybody is talking about the upwind performance but as Barra said, they are clearly faster downwind as well. (less friction, less wetted surface when the boards are pulled off)
The biggest downside is initial cost and the loss of payload (app 500-600 kg fo 45-47 ft cat). It's also true that the galley
becomes significantly narrower. Hitting something when the board is lowered can also be more dangereous compared to a sacrificial fixed keel.
Dagger boards are something that I would definately consider if I plan to sail in high lattitudes; with the boards up such cat can skid away with big waves from the beam whilst the cat with a fixed keel can be tripped over. Also higher mileages on long passages would make a lot of difference.
I know Mr Voisard and we discussed this high lattitude issue with him, he also disagree with this scenario.
Back to Nauthitecs, they are beautiful catamarans, slightly overpriced but they are faster than FP or Lagoon
. I have heard that they are now preparing a new 46 footer.