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Old 05-11-2020, 16:04   #31
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

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Originally Posted by Spider0804 View Post
Any swing keel owners out there have experience with ocean transits or rough conditions, maybe experienced a knockdown?
I have owned, skippered and sailed my Alubat OVNI 47 since 2002. It has what I think you refer to as a "swing keel" (my understanding is that a "swing keel" is attached to the boat at one point, and raises or lowers around that single point). I sailed my boat across the Atlantic once in mostly benign conditions. (Previously, the boat had crossed the Atlantic 3 times). I circumnavigated the Caribbean for 9 years, and have most recently been sailing my boat in the Mediterranean since 2014. The roughest conditions I ever experienced was in the Mediterranean. My "swing keel" can be raised or lowered hydraulically. The "swing keel" may also be lowered by gravity. On my boat, because the "swing keel" is primarily operated by a large hydraulic ram, when I lower the the "swing keel", I do it by gravity (vs hydraulic power), the "swing keel" comes down very slowly (because of the dampening effect of the hydraulic system). Once the "swing keel" is the desired position I can "lock" it in place by repositioning a valve in the hydraulic system. Furthermore, if the "swing keel" were to hit the bottom while hydraulically "locked" there is a safety blowout disc that will rupture above a certain pressure, thus preventing damage to the "swing keel", the pivot point, and the hydraulic system. I imagine that if my boat were to capsize, and my "swing keel" was extended, and hydraulically "locked", that it wouldn't retract (and that even if it did, it wouldn't retract quickly, unless there was also a catastrophic failure of the hydraulic ram cylinder allowing hydraulic fluid to rapidly escape).

Other posters have suggested contacting Skip Novak, and I'll add another potential name. Jimmy Cornell sailed his "swing keel" Alubat around the world a few times and even visited higher latitudes. He might be an excellent resource for your concerns.
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Old 05-11-2020, 17:15   #32
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

My friends and clients crossed Atlantic three years ago in a smallest Southerly (of the new ones). Unfortunately I do not remember how and if the board is locked down. But I do remember them saying it made stupid noises that they kind of could not get used to.


I also know that Pogo makes similar noises and some owners do not like these.


However, I was on an Ovni some time back and the mechanism there was a hydraulic one, so the board would remain down if humpty dumptied.


You are right if the board is free to move it could damage the boat if the boat end upside down. Get a boat where this is not possible.



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Old 05-11-2020, 18:12   #33
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

[QUOTE=tenchiki;3268964]A point of terminology: if it is unballasted (or only enough weight to drop down), then it is a centerboard. A "swing keel" means that the majority of the ballast moves. /QUOTE]


Well I had read earlier posts that mentioned dagger boards, weighted dagger boards, weighted swing keels, etc. So to be clear, I was trying to convey that my 13 foot centerboard made of fiberglass is not used for ballast or weight that would aid or retard a roll over more than the surface area resistance of the board which swings on a single pin or in my case 1" bar. Centerboard works for me, maybe a swing centerboard would be more appropriate.
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Old 05-11-2020, 20:30   #34
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

I have three sailboats, a fixed full keel ketch for ocean sailing, a swing keel boat which I use on the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi in the USA, i.e, the Flathead Lake and a trailerable boat with a swing keel for remote alpine lake sailing in the summer of Montana. There are two types of swing keels those that gravity drop and those that have a circular cable which will adjust the keel to a thence fixed position be that raised fully [a truly wonderful capability so as to readily go into the shallows or to beach the boat] or partially raised to reduce drag but retain adequate stability and leeward progression, or to fully stabilize and fully lowered to mitigate leeward progression and for full stability. The added capability of adjusting the keel is a dramatic advantage, almost as much as adjusting the wind influence of the foils of your sails. A boat has two foils to which is has the opportunity to adjust one is the sails, the other is the underwater foils which are the keel and the rudder. I greatly enjoy adjusting the heavy swing keel to adjust the fore to aft weight distribution of my "lake" boat with its swing keel. A entirely additional added degree of freedom of control and use of the vessel.
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Old 06-11-2020, 07:13   #35
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

I had a Tanzer 10.5 surveyed though it was many years ago. I also did some research on the keel's construction. If you would like further details you can pm me. Don't want to go too far OT. Short story that boat is not one I would consider for serious offshore work.


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Old 06-11-2020, 11:35   #36
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

We have sailed a swing keel Ben Lexan designed 51’ around the world. In that time we only had one serious knock down with the mast in the water. I must admit at the time I wasn’t going down below to look at the position of the centre board but frantically getting the boat back on it’s feet. I would suggest that the lateral forces are severe in an event like this and this would jam the board against the case with no chance of it sliding itself away. Our keel was on 4” stainless pin and retrieved with stainless cable to an electric winch. If the boat was upside down with no lateral forces it could fall in the case but would probably jam on the stainless cable. We had a further 7 tons of ballast in the case so stability wasn’t dependent on the swing keel itself. The answer to your question is it depends on the individual design of the boat and probably more importantly your faith in your boat.
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Old 06-11-2020, 22:37   #37
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

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Originally Posted by sailor_ed View Post
I had a Tanzer 10.5 surveyed though it was many years ago. I also did some research on the keel's construction. If you would like further details you can pm me. Don't want to go too far OT. Short story that boat is not one I would consider for serious offshore work.


Ed
I would appreciate that information.
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Old 13-11-2020, 08:12   #38
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

One of our original test boats for deploying para-anchors and storm drogues in rough to severe weather was a Catalina 25. The pin on the swing keel was changed out by our research team to make sure it was strong. The keel tends to slam back in forth when heading into 12 foot seas or when the boat is traveling too fast down wind. It eventually starts to crack the fiberglass inside the boat.

The boat handled knockdowns very well. The advantage of a small boat is it pops back up faster when knocked down. The team eventually chose a wing keel replacement from Catalina Direct. It stabilized the Catalina better and it increased boat speed by approximately half a knot. Overall, they did not care for the swing keel.
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Old 13-11-2020, 08:15   #39
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

I do have a Southerly though I have not taken it across an ocean

There is a big fat stainless steel locking pin that you can lock the keel either up or down

The keel housing is a very robust piece of kit.

It is recommended that you lock the keel down in the owners manual when in offshore conditions

The boats are very strongly built and plenty of Southerlys have done TransAt

Someone mentioned Distant Shores ...the Shards have done quite a few crossings in theirs.
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Old 13-11-2020, 08:45   #40
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

I have a Beneteau 323 with a swing keel which lets me handle shallow water very nicely. I have not done any terribly difficult offshore work, but we have had the boat for 14 seasons now, and have neither found it to be noisy or to bang on the trunk, not a terribly difficult maintenance problem. The boat does have a wide beam, so considerable form stability as well as ballast in the hull beside the keel. I do find that the keel down does provide some extra righting moment upwind, but would probably raise it in extreme conditions to avoid the boat tripping over the keel. This is based primarily on feeling, not scientific study.
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Old 13-11-2020, 09:46   #41
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

We took our Southerly 42 across the Atlantic and up and down the US East Coast between 2015-17. Thankfully no knock downs or even seriously bad weather ie >F8. Felt safe and secure and, as others have said, there is a lot of ballast in the grounding plate alone which should right the boat. In principle if you have the keel up you should just slide sideways and not get knocked down! Never wanted to test the theory though...
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Old 13-11-2020, 12:37   #42
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

Did an intended passage from the Bahamas to the Chesapeake on a Tartan 34 Centerboard yawl. Had weather issues in the Gulf Stream, following seas and wind and dropped the centerboard for some stability.
Woke in the middle of night,off watch below, and heard water sounds, turned out we had water two feet above the cabin sole.
Almost lost the boat before it was discovered that the centerboard pin had punctured a side of the keel. Dove the boat in the morning and saw how the pin protruded the hull and added, with sharks as my friends, added additional stuffing and underwater epoxy from outside the boat to reduce water inflow to the boat.
The previous night, upon finally finding where the water was coming in, we stuffed rags and wood splints around the pin to stabilize the pi and was able to arrest the water inflow and with buckets and a hand stirrup pump to keep the boat from sinking. Batteries were shorted out and had no electric bilge pumps.
A lot more to the story that involves C130 Coast Guard Planes, Super Tankers and Coast Guard Cutters but the good news is that we saved the boat.
So the moral of my story is,be careful if you take a centerboard swing keel boat offshore.
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Old 13-11-2020, 13:31   #43
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

I thought Southerlies had hydraulically controlled, raised/lowered, keels with a locking pin advised for long deep sea passages.
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Old 14-11-2020, 20:19   #44
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

Check out Distant Shores on YouTube. Very experienced Canadian documentary videographers for decades and on their 2nd or 3rd Southerly and have sailed across oceans numerous times.

Sailing Ruby Rose are a Brit & Australian couple who just sold their beloved Southerly to go to a Catamaran. They too have crossed the Atlantic, cruised the Eastern US, Bahamas, Med, & Europe in their 38-40' Southerly.

Chevk them out...BOTH are very knowledgeable and enjoy sharing boat specs etc. with other sailors.
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Old 15-11-2020, 20:07   #45
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Re: Anyone have ocean/offshore experience with swing keels?

We have sailed our Garcia Passoa 47 centreboarder about 50,000 miles and like the concept.
One great advantage is that with the board up, as it should be when the wind is far enough aft for a cruising boat to set a spinnaker or gennaker, she is VERY unlikely to broach and line down. (I refuse to day "impossible" to broach) The bow just skids off and she remains steerable.
We were once hit with a major gust out of a Norwegian fjord while running at 12 knots with our big spinnaker up. We heeled about 50 degrees, but did not round up or get caught with the wind abeam and broach. We turned downwind and ran away from it while dealing with a wrap round the inner forestay
We have been in three other situations when I think a keel (or a centerboard down) would have caused a mast-in-the-water incident, and had no trouble
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