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Old 09-09-2008, 09:28   #1
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Lake Erie: Full or Wing Keel?

Hello All,

I'm looking into getting my hands on a Catalina 34 to sail, primarily, on Lake Erie. I would like the standard full keel (= 5' 10" draft, I think) for overall performance and the like. However, given the depths of Lake Erie, I don't know much about Erie's shallow depth and the extent of issues I am going to have with the full keel (of course one would have to make sure to know the charts really well regardless). On the flip side, I don't know what to make out of a wing keel with the loss of performance and increased difficulty in getting out of a grounding situation.

I know that there are many boats on Erie that are equipped with a full keel, I just don't know how much problem they have.

Any input on this would be appreciated big time. Thanks!

Mike
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Old 09-09-2008, 09:42   #2
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Originally Posted by sludaddy View Post
On the flip side, I don't know what to make out of a wing keel with the loss of performance and increased difficulty in getting out of a grounding situation.

Mike,

Have had a wing keel for twenty years and been aground many times. I don't think there's any increased difficulty in getting off. My case is exacerbated by my rudder being as deep as the keel. Just wiggling the boat from side to side as you back usually gets her off. In many trips up and down the ICW have only had to be pulled off once, at Bakers Haulover near Miami and a small Hunter did me that favour. As for draft, for Lakes Erie and Ontario the less the better, mainly for getting in and out of harbours. Once you get in the middle it's fine.
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:09   #3
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We draw 9 foot on Lake Erie. No problems to speak of, we go where we can.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:45   #4
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Quick addendum, though I don't think it makes too much of a difference: My question should have been phrased "...Fin vs. Wing Keel".

Just got twisted in my head.

Vasco and Joli, I really appreciate the input, hopefully some others will chime in as well.

Thanks
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:58   #5
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Respected boat designer Bob Perry suggests always going with as deep a draft as you could live with for performance. My boat has a wing keel because of my sailing area though I have sailed next to the same type of boat as my own with a deep fin, I was outpointed by a few degrees. The owner of the deep fin version found my boat to be stiffer than his with its extra 500 lbs of ballast. Theres always a compromise.
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Old 12-11-2008, 18:19   #6
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Erie is shallow (compared to the other Great Lakes, but not THAT shallow! Be guided by where you plan to keep the boat. As long as it is deep enough to get in and out of your slip, don't worry about the rest of the lake. Just watch your charts and depth meter. Not really much difference in performance between the fin and the wing, either.
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