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Old 31-07-2011, 08:53   #1
M-D
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Keel Modification

Hello All,

Has anyone have any experience or advice making a long keel into a shoal draft? We're shopping for our next boat and have found a beauty, but she drafts 6'10". Would like to see if it's plausable to shorten it to say 5'6", which would be better for our home waters and future Caribbean cruising.
I know a bulb would have to be added, but is it worth the effort with out giving up much performance. The boat in question is a Catalina 400.

Cheers,

Marty
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Old 31-07-2011, 09:09   #2
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Re: Keel Modification

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Originally Posted by M-D View Post
Hello All,

Has anyone have any experience or advice making a long keel into a shoal draft?
Talk to Mars Metal / Marskeel, right in your neighborhood:

http://www.marskeel.com/
http://www.marsmetal.com/

You might (will) find it too expensive, but it gives you an idea what needs to be done.

Dirk
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Old 31-07-2011, 09:49   #3
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Re: Keel Modification

You have to take a serious look at time + money. Is it worth it? What kind of boat were you looking at?
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Old 31-07-2011, 10:35   #4
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Re: Keel Modification

Don't know much about Catalinas(other coast for me), but didn't they offer some boats with wing or fin.
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Old 31-07-2011, 13:32   #5
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Re: Keel Modification

If the boat has an external bolted on keel, changing the keel isn't a biggy. You can do almost anything to a boat given enough money and time. You'd be way better off finding a boat with shoal draft, however. I's be willing to bet that Catalina offered the boat with shoal draft keel.

6'10" draft won't keep you out of most cruising grounds. Even shallow water areas like the Bahamas can be cruised with deep draft boats. You just have long dinghy rides from having to anchor farther out. Know there are areas on the East Coast where marinas have pretty shallow water at low tide so deep draft can limit the times you can get in and out of the slip. Other than that, deeper draft is more of a nuisance than a show stopper. With the exception of the Bahamas, for most other cruising areas of the world, even 8 or 10' draft isn't a serious deterrent.
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Old 01-08-2011, 14:56   #6
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Re: Keel Modification

Peter,

Your posting confirms my thought that if I purchase a Catalina 445 that I will go with the 6-11 fin keel. The alternative is a 5-0 wing keel. This is how I thought about it.

I'm hoping to set off to cruise from California to Panama and then to the Caribbean over a 5 or 6 year period.

Here in California, kelp is a major issue. With a fin keep it can be dislodged farely easily without diving. I suspect that is not the case on a wing keel.

Every instructor I've had says that eventually you will run agound. So while a wing keel will help you not run aground, if you do it will be much harder to get off. And I suspect that with a wing keel that one will try to go into shallower waters.

Not having sailing the Caribbean, it was great to hear that you think that a longer fin keel will be fine. That was my biggest concern. Thanks.

Marcus
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Old 01-08-2011, 16:34   #7
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Re: Keel Modification

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Peter,

Your posting confirms my thought that if I purchase a Catalina 445 that I will go with the 6-11 fin keel. The alternative is a 5-0 wing keel. This is how I thought about it.

I'm hoping to set off to cruise from California to Panama and then to the Caribbean over a 5 or 6 year period.

Here in California, kelp is a major issue. With a fin keep it can be dislodged farely easily without diving. I suspect that is not the case on a wing keel.

Every instructor I've had says that eventually you will run agound. So while a wing keel will help you not run aground, if you do it will be much harder to get off. And I suspect that with a wing keel that one will try to go into shallower waters.

Not having sailing the Caribbean, it was great to hear that you think that a longer fin keel will be fine. That was my biggest concern. Thanks.

Marcus
G'Day mate,

IMO your analysis is spot on. Our two Insatiables have each drawn 7'2", and this has had fairly little impact on out 125K+ miles of cruising from SF through Mexico and years in the South Pacific. Yes, we have run aground... but as we tell all those who exult in their shoal draft boats, we just run aground a little farther off the beach than they do. Seems that no matter what you draw, sometimes you push it a bit too far!

So, why not enjoy the improved sailing abilities of a deeper keel?

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 01-08-2011, 16:46   #8
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Re: Keel Modification

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Every instructor I've had says that eventually you will run agound. So while a wing keel will help you not run aground, if you do it will be much harder to get off. And I suspect that with a wing keel that one will try to go into shallower waters.]
Have had a wing keel (Hydrokeel) on my CS36Merlin for 23 years. Have run aground many times too. It is no more difficult to get off than a straight fin keel.
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Old 01-08-2011, 18:07   #9
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Re: Keel Modification

Thinking in the money and time spend in such a modification just to save ? lets say,, half a foot of keel, i dont think its a good idea, i mean , i dont know how deep is your home waters , but me , with 6.6 draft i made the caribbean up and down with no isues at all, include the bahamas, exumas, the banks etc... Cheers...
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Old 01-08-2011, 21:58   #10
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You can get the shoal draft keel from Catalina , the total draft will be 5', and you can also use a mars metals bulb. The 400 is a beautiful boat and not cheap, so it might be worth the investment. I'll prefer to sail with a bulb keel than a winged keel, so, check pri es and get quotes. I have a C38 witha deep keel and will love to replace the keel for the shoal draft, but the hull is totally different. Lucky for you, that' not the case on the 400. You have homework to do!!! Las quote for the bulb for my boat was around $3000.. Again, if the boat is in great shape, go for it and deal with the keel later. You do have options!!
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Old 03-08-2011, 17:02   #11
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Thank you all for the advice and ideas. My home port is Frenchman's Bay on Lake Ontario. Some of you may know that it gets real shallow in the fall. With our 5'3" draft Hunter 33, we had to stop our season last year mid way through September. Already with the SE winds we've been getting the channel has been silting up and we barely have 6' in some spots already. The city isn't too quick to dredge so getting stuck can become routine, and tiresome.

We are toying with the idea of the next boat and a proper shoal draft as opposed to something modified would be prudent. No sense getting a good deal on a boat, only to spend the difference on such a significant modification. The search continues...

Cheers,

Marty
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Old 03-08-2011, 18:00   #12
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Re: Keel Modification

Too bad they are so expensive but those French aluminum center boarders from AluBat, Garcia, etc sure seem the answer for the shallow water sailer. 1985 Garcia Nouanni Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 03-08-2011, 18:38   #13
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Re: Keel Modification

Wow...if a shoal keel is only 3k..... Some people spend that on a max prop. I sailed the caribe with 6ft5 keel and wished I had less.
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Old 09-05-2017, 15:10   #14
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Re: Keel Modification

Does any one know company in Florida who can do draft reduction ? I can order bulbs from marssteel, but who will do a job in Florida ?
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