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Old 01-03-2009, 17:35   #1
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Replacing deep keel with shoal keel?


I'm a relative new to caring for a boat. I've sailed a fair amount, but I don't know much about maintenance since I've never owned a boat previously.

I'm in the market for a boat now, and I've found one that I like. Unfortunately, it has a 6'+ keel. I'm going to mainly sail in the Chesapeake bay, and I'd prefer a shoal keel. The seller of the boat has indicated it is "easy" to replace the deep keel for a shoal keel. I'm a bit worried that such a change will lessen the integrity of the hull. The boat is relatively new and still under warranty.

Can anyone help me out here on the pitfalls of replacing the keel?

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Old 01-03-2009, 17:50   #2
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$ = reason Even if it's a bolt on keel it's still VERY expensive. Plus you would need modify the rigging (mast height) most likely. the seller is lying to you!

my boat is 5ft draft (4' 11") and I've sailed on the upper bay with very few problems. Dobbins Island anchorage was iffy however. As you gain knowledge of boats and gain more Sailing experience keep depth becomes less of a concern. Knowing where you are on the water is the best way to avoid running hard aground. (charts, gps, etc) What make and model boat are you looking at? On the light hearted side.. you could be the one that finds the biggest rock in bay someday! If there's any to be found!
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Old 01-03-2009, 17:55   #3
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Without knowing what sort of boat, it is hard to be accurate, but in general terms it is never easy and perhaps even foolhardy in many cases.

It will almost certainly blow the warranty unless the manufacturer is involved and does (or supervises) the work - assuming it is possible.

It the seller thinks it is easy, ask him to do it as a condition of sale .
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 01-03-2009, 18:12   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies. The boat is a Dufour and the model has a deep or shoal keel option so I'm not sure the rigging needs to be modified. The seller would have the dealer involved to keep the warranty intact. I just don't know enough about the potential impact of such a change.

I've thought about keeping the keel, but near 7' is a bit much for the bay I fear. The most I've gone out with on Chesapeake has been 5'. I'm going to check the charts, however. I'm not really a gunkholer, but I'm still worried 7' is too deep.
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Old 01-03-2009, 18:54   #5
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7 ft on the Bay means you watch the tides but I always do any way. We had 5-3 for several years and I never found it that bad. 6-0 isn't that hard to deal with either. At closer to 6-9 it gets trickier to get in and around. I'm hard pressed to think swapping a keel is worth the trouble. Dufour's are OK boats but how can this be such a great deal that it's worth swapping out the keel? I'm sure it can be done without a problem, but why buy a boat that requires such a modification?

I don't think you can find too many people that sail the Bay that won't say 7 ft is going to pinch your style it does depend on your style. I could get in and out of my slip at 7FT low tide might require a little plowing.
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 01-03-2009, 19:06   #6
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My intuition was that it wasn't worth the trouble either. But, I wanted to ask just to make sure! Back to looking now......
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keel, shoal keel

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