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Old 25-10-2011, 22:03   #1
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Swing Keel

just starting to look into sailing and i was wondering, if a boat has a swing
keel does that mean it definatly can be launched off of a boat launch using only a trailer and a pickup truck? and if a boat has a fixed keel does that mean it must be placed in the water with a crane?
thanks for your help
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Old 26-10-2011, 14:34   #2
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Re: Swing Keel

Aloha,
Swing keels (or daggerboards) are design to be hauled on a trailer and to be launched at most boat ramps using a pickup or a car depending on the size of the boat.
Some fin keels can do the same but they must be used on boat ramps that are deep enough with the trailer tongue long enough for you to get the hull of the boat in enough water to float it off the trailer.
Generally fin keelers on trailers need a crane but not always.
kind regards,
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Old 26-10-2011, 15:04   #3
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Re: Swing Keel

of course some are not designed to be trailed see. Pelagic Expeditions Fleet Overview. guess though you weren't thinking this big.
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Old 26-10-2011, 16:02   #4
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Re: Swing Keel

There are also the swinging keels which swing athwart - like on an Imoca or a Mini. These can be removed for transportation.

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Old 26-10-2011, 16:25   #5
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Re: Swing Keel

Most any boat can be launched off a trailer as long as you can get the trailer into deep enough water to float the boat off. Of course, getting the trailer back from a 1/4 mile offshore could be an issue.

There are a couple ways of successfully launching boats with relatively deep draft. One, mentioned above, is an extendable trailer tongue. With the tongue extended, you can get the boat at least 10' and possibly further out in the water with it still attached to the above water truck. Many boats here are launched with extendable tongues.

Another way to do it is with wheels on the tongue near the hitch and a stout rope. A Hobie 33 regularly launches his boat that way when he can't won't crank the keel up. He backs the boat down the ramp, disconnects the trailer tongue from the truck and then pushes the boat and trailer out until it's in deep enough water to float the boat. He then pulls the trailer up the ramp with a rope until he can reattach the trailer to his truck. Does the reverse to retrieve the boat. He's added two non-steerable wheels to the tongue to make it easier to launch and retrieve the trailer. Another guy with a smaller boat doesn't have wheels on his toungue and just skids it up and down the ramp.

There are swing keel, keel centerboard, drop keel and shallow keel designs for trailerable sail boats. A swing keel is a weighted keel that is swung up into the hull for launching/shallow draft needs like on the McGregor boats. A keel center board has low draft ballast keel with a non-ballasted center board to minimize leeway like a Tartan 27. The Hobie 33 has a ballasted keel that is retracted into the hull vertically for trailering. Last but not least are the shallow draft fixed keels like the Columbia 24, IIRC.

I'm not a fan of swing keels because they are dangerous. In a knockdown, the keel can retract throwing the boat into a negative righting situation and the boat turns turtle. It's happened a number of times with some loss of life. Like the drop keel and keel centerboard boats cause they don't have the drastic changes in stability and have good sailing performance to windward. The shallow draft keel boats also don't suffer the stability issues of the swing keel boats but have crappy windward performance because of leeway.
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Old 29-10-2011, 16:41   #6
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Re: Swing Keel

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Old 29-10-2011, 18:20   #7
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Re: Swing Keel

Quote:
Originally Posted by floater81 View Post
just starting to look into sailing and i was wondering, if a boat has a swing
keel does that mean it definatly can be launched off of a boat launch using only a trailer and a pickup truck? and if a boat has a fixed keel does that mean it must be placed in the water with a crane?
thanks for your help
Pretty much yes. There are a few exceptions. But swing keelers are usually trailer boats. As are most Drop keelers. 99% of fixed keelers are always kept in the water with the exception of some 20-30ft racing classes which are usually kept on cradles at a yacht club. The club will have its own hoist to raise and lower the boat. Etchels, J24 and a few others.

There are some larger boats with drop and swing keels. but they are in the minority.
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