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Old 04-05-2010, 21:41   #1
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Post Comfortable 42-49' Liveaboard Cruisers

Howdy all

We're brand new to the forum and not sure how to create a poll... but we are trying to narrow down our live aboard 42-49' boat selection. Lets start with opinions on daggerboards... a simple yes or no and perhaps why will help.

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Old 04-05-2010, 22:08   #2
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Hi Nick…. Welcome to CF.

Like so many things in life, but especially boating, life is not “black or white” with simple answers. It is always a tradeoff that needs context to make any advice valuable, so dagger boards can be good or bad depending on your purpose and priorities.

For example I could show you what I think is a beautiful nose, but without a face, it looses its perspective.

Tell us what you want first and then others can comment on their perspective
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:17   #3
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Thanx - and I don't mean to over simplify, and I am sure that there is no right or wrong and good arguments either way. Its just that the builders I speak to seem to be very committed to one or the other and defend with full conviction. I am just wondering if this should really be a major decision point (like price, comfort vs speed, etc.)...

My wife and I plan to live aboard full time, be coastal cruisers on the Atlantic coast to the Virgin Islands for about 3-4 years - then take off for major crossings. We will spend most of our time moored or island hopping - and only take major crossings occasionally.

My understanding is that daggerboards are really nice to have on those long hauls - particularly upwind, to hold a tighter line and keep her from slipping across the top. - Sounds like a "nice to have" - not a critical decision point.
Sometimes I think - what's the downside to having them? But have heard they take up a lot of storage room, can get in the way, and be a bit loud or noisy.

does that help?

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Old 05-05-2010, 08:27   #4
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I think you have covered the daggerboard pro's and con's pretty well yourself. If you plan on being in a lot of shallow water they are nice or if you are a performance type of sailor that wants to wring out all the speed possible they offer better abilities and possibilities.
If you just want to go from here to there why bother with adjustments, possible stressing the centerboard cases with taking a hit to a board etc?
I think it's more style than real substance over the long run. How much true upwind work do you plan on doing? Seems many just fire up an engine to help the up wind work.

Daggerboard boats tend to be designed to be lighter for the reasons above, so that will need to be factored into your thought process.

Me, I'm lazy and don't want to get out of the helm seat to tweak and adjust but if the right boat came along I would certainly take the boards.

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Old 05-05-2010, 09:00   #5
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I've been addressing this option as well and only a select few boats have the boards. On a 40' +/- Cat they are not a simple raise and lower with your hand but a cable or hydraulic affair, neither I would like to have as maint. items on my list of stuff to do. The shallow draft is appealling but honestly, how many more places can you get into with 3.7' vs. 4.2' of draft?
The more afforadable Lagoon, R & C, Seawind, etc. don't have them and sail quite well upwind for a CAT and since I'm not intending on a race boat but a big ol heavily laden cruiser, I'm leaning towards no boards for now.
the perfect dive boat is one you're on...
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:16   #6
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It is generally not a good idea to have a hole in the bottom of a boat.
Cats have dagger boards to help them to windward because they are shallow draft, but serious cruising boats all have long keels, or at least three quarter keels.
I once skippered a 77 foot Alden ketch which had a hydraulic swing keel, and the owner wouldn’t let us lower it for fear it would drop off. So we never made any headway under sail and the one time I did lower it, it was so noisy, slapping against the enclosure, I pulled it back up because I too became frightened it might drop off.
Who needs ‘em? Just another thing to worry about which might, and probably will go wrong.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:53   #7
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Excellent feedback all. I will consider this a closed subject... I won't make daggerboards a critical deciding point on my perfect boat search - and all things being equal, will likely steer away from them rather than toward. Thanx to all!
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:55   #8
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Several thoughts: Well-engineered dagger-boards provide some significant advantages in terms of performance on all points of sail: yes, upwind you will tend to point higher due to the better hydrodynamic shape and sail faster due to less drag than LARs keels; but even off the wind one can reduce drag by raising them. This is, of course, to say nothing about the advantage of having less draft available for anchoring and docking.

Properly engineered boards should be sacrificial to the extent that they will shear off before causing damage to the trunks, so that the fears expressed about another hole in the bottom are largely unfounded. While they do take up some additional interior space, in the size of cat that you are apparently considering, they should be able to be integrated into the interior without being terribly intrusive. Furthermore, most daggerboards in that size of vessel do not require any complicated hydraulics but rather, a simple block and tackle arrangement. In that connection, unlike a ballasted swing-keel, there is no risk of an unballasted dagger board falling off when deployed.

Lars keels are simple, if properly designed with shoes will tend to assist in beaching the boat for maintenance and if not sacrificial, can hold substantial tankage in an area that will keep the weight down low - where it belongs for stability. I suspect, however, that the principle reason for their inclusion in most low to middle priced cruising cats is cost: it is, I suspect, cheaper to manufacture a boat with them, than to properly engineer and build the boards, two very strong trunks bonded to both the hull and deck in conjunction with the necessary lifting mechanisms.

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