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Old 09-27-2007, 11:47 PM   #1
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Hello again all,

I was hoping for some input on this topic from the more experienced.

I was wandering what everyones thoughts were on the pros and cons with full keel boats vs. fin keel and twin keel etc. I have heard that the full keel boats are more stable in rougher waters and have better pointability while underway, however I am finding that alot of the newer boats I've seen have fin keels. Can a fin keel boat have enough stability to be considered a safe cruiser? Also I was wandering how much ballast a boat should have depending on its size, displacement and so on.

Again, thank you for your replies, every bit of insight helps.

Mike
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:37 AM   #2
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The answer must be one of the following :-

a. It depends

b. Full keels are better

c. Fin Keels are better

Wrong ! the correct answer might read a.,b. and c.. The answer to this question really does depend on what is the purpose for the boat's design : - ie Cruising; Racing- off-shore; Coastal racing; etc..

What also must be considered is :- how is the keel attached to the hull ? eg . part of ; bolted on; etcc

Fin keels also come in many shapes and designs - nowadays you will have bulbs and wings attached to shorten the draft and improve performance.

Bilge Keels allow beaching

Centre board keels also allow beaching

Full Keels are not always full - some only extend 3/4 the way forward.

If I understand the gist of your question; it relates to safety, in which case again, it depends on the strength of material, the strength and method of attachment to the hull, the draft, the design relative to use.

Therefore I suppose the best way of determining which will be best for you in terms safety and going to wind is first to decide on your intended use. Then research that type or group of boats.

Sorry not to be more definitive - but its one those cruising conundrums.

Keep on asking those questions !

Regards

Richard
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:57 AM   #3
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Hi Mike, Your questions about design criteria are very similar to the questions we all have when choosing a wife, partner or husband (you missed out multihulls) (lol).

Within each design there are good and bad examples and you have to judge by the performance of the whole package as opposed to the size of her keel, how much sail she carries and ballast (were talking boats now!)

What is often forgotten when choosing is the actual Ergonomics of the design. How easy is she to sail? Does she balance and point well in various conditions? Line of sights for the lookout? Bale capacity? Static and dynamic stability? Performance and maintenance costs?

All of these quickly become a compromise when some lady steals your heart!
(Were talking both now!)

Good luck with your research!
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:00 AM   #4
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Thanks for your input Richard, I'm looking at a boat for offshore cruising and passage makeing and will definently do more research.

Thanks again, Mike
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Old 09-28-2007, 05:01 AM   #5
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Ahoy Mike!

I'm certainly no expert, but...

As with lovers - everyone has a personal opinion on what makes the perfect boat... for themselves.

Me? I prefer blondes with a robust, encapsulated fin keel and a skeg mounted rudder.

Other guys may prefer fat women.

From personal experience - fin keel'd boats point better and can tack like a rabit. Full keels can run like a greyhound and take groundings much better. I would steer clear of winged keels for cruising as they can cause serious problems when stuck in the mud.

I've always ridden a BMW but I still drink with those on Harleys & Yamahas.

To each, his own. I like them ALL!

It all boils down to getting to know each-other well enough to be comfortable when things get exciting, trusting enough to be comfortable when your backs are turned and forgiving enough to make it through another storm.

Try 'em ALL while you're still young! Do some undercover research! Go to the Hawaii Yacht Club and make yourself available to crew on the beer can races every Friday afternoon! That way, you'll get a a personal idea of the pros & cons of a variety of boats, meet some experienced & knowledgable people, have a great time socializing after the sun goes down... and you might even get lucky! ... enough to find a great deal on a great boat! Just remember - the sexiest boat rarely makes a loyal wife when it comes to the long haul of crossing oceans. But sometimes you do get lucky...

I think I've had too much champagne... and should sign off.

To Life!

Kirk

PS - thanks for serving our nation in these extra turbulent times. I Salute You. And wish you happy hunting in your search for the perfect boat and the biggest sense of freedom that comes with it.

Carry On.
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:05 AM   #6
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Hi Mike,

I just found this web site & registered to use it. The subject you brought up is one I have struggled with also.

I tend to agree with the other responders. "It depends."

I started sailing about 9 years ago. Kinda late in life, I took sailing lessons on 32ft fin keeled boat and listened to the pluses & minus' about keels & boat construction expressed in the classes, by the local boat brokerage, and anyone I could find with an opinion. I only knew a couple people that sailed. Soon after the classes I bought a 30 ft, 6 year old boat of the same brand of fin keeled boat that I was on in the classes. Familiarity with the rigging, etc. gave me confidence in my ability to handle the boat. It was a good boat and served me well. I sold her ~4 years later and about 4 years after that I bought a 39 ft, 28 year old fin keeled, pilot house sail boat. My wife & I are still learning about this boat, but think she is perfect for us now.

As one would expect, both times I put much thought into what boat was best for me. My decision was based on the information I gathered & the type of sailing I expected to be doing. Another person with the same information may have come to a different conclusion. The fin keeled, 30 footer was good when I was planning on mostly single handed, coastal cruising and I felt it gave me the possibility of offshore sailing. My class instructor's opinion was that fin keeled boats are faster & have a better possibility of getting out of the way of oncoming bad weather if you keep up with the forcasts. Some other opinions were that a full keeled boat is better for offshore.

My wife & I went boat shopping a couple years ago with a desire to have a strong boat with a piolt house (to get out of the cold & rain here) that would be good for sailing in the Pacific Northwest, could take a beating if bad weather caught us in the Gulf of Alaska, and could be used as a world cruiser if we so choose. After a year of looking we found a boat that met our criteria and we could kind of afford the price. She is built with thicker fiberglass than new boats, is cutter rigged, has a newish mast that is a little on the short side, has heavy (3/8") standing rigging, a full keel, 54hp diesel, pilot house with steering in the PH and cockpit, classic lines, 4 sails, and the only working electronics was a VHF. She was almost perfect based on the criteria we developed. Even though the cost for electronics was going to be outrageous, I didn't mind adding electronics because we got to choose what we wanted and it kept the boat price down.

That was the gist of the thinking for my two boat purchases. There really is no perfect boat. They are all compromises. I hope this helps.

Good luck with your search.

Sail On,

Pat

KL1PA

S/V Three Quarter Time

Home port Seward, Alaska
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:16 AM   #7
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Welcome Pat,

What is Port Seward's Lat/Long?



KL1PA

S/V Three Quarter Time

Home port Seward, Alaska

Richard
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Old 09-29-2007, 03:10 AM   #8
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I have always favored yahcts with long keels because I have had tradewind dreams, and the directional stability provided by a long keel makes it easier to steer a boat downwind in the trades with quartering seas. You don't get knocked around as much because of the enhanced directional stability.

When I had my Westsail 32, it performed in an awesome manner running downwind.On the other hand, my Westsail didn't perfom well to windward. That was the price I paid for enhanced directional staility when sailing downwind.

As far as I'm concerned, the area that you sail should dictate to some degree the type of keel that you have on your yacht. If you are in a location where you are going to be doing a lot of windward sailing, I would lean in the direction of a fin type keel because of enchanced windward performance. If you are crusing downwind across oceans, I would be more interested in the directional stability provided by a long keel.

Similarly, we did our circumnavigation in a catamaran in the low lattitude in the trades around the world, and the cat worked well for that type of voyage. But if was going to do a high latitude circumnavigation, I would do it in a monohull.

What I am going to do with the yacht, and where I am going to sail it answers the question for me.
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Old 09-29-2007, 10:34 AM   #9
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thanks for your input everyone. It really helps to gather other opinons. I'm noticing that all the schools that I'm finding are using fin keeled boats, which brings about my next question. Are fin keels more forgiving to novice mistakes or is it just the opposite?
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:14 PM   #10
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I think the reasons the schools are primarily using fin keels are:

1 Cheaper production boats for classes and rentals.

2 Tacks easier, especially in light winds, which helps when teaching basic sailing.

3 Will be faster which helps promote their weekend racing program.

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Old 09-29-2007, 08:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
What is Port Seward's Lat/Long?

Richard
The Lat/Lon is:

Seward, Alaska60.7N149.27WThat is where the boat is. We live in Anchorage which is about 120 from Seward.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:14 PM   #12
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Mike,

The keel type will matter for the reasons others have posted, directional stability, manueverability etc. There are certainly plenty of safe fin keel boats, and at this date I doubt there are any unsafe full keelers left.

For your purposes I would be asking more about displacement and design. These will affect your cruising more than the keel style. Heavy boats often have full keels, so there is a relationship.

There is a lot to learn, get out there on as many boats as you can.
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