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Old 04-19-2007, 07:29 PM   #1
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So we have been looking at boats and reading every book and magazine we can get our hands on. Two boats we have looked at seriously one has a fin keel and the other has a full keel.

I have read that with the full keel they steer bettter and are a little more stable but you cant point as high into the wind as with other styles of keels.

Anybody have any thoughts or share their stories about what type of keel their boat has and how it has worked for them. Thanks

Dave & Jenn

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Old 04-19-2007, 11:01 PM   #2
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Hi Dave and Jenn,

The keel question is perennial and will promote answers from proponents of each type of underwater profile. I have owned a multihull, a bilge keeler, a fin keeled yacht and am now on my third full keeler. My opinion clearly supports the full keel for comfort in a seaway, directional stability, especially when running in a largish sea, lower heel angles when reaching or close hauled and good protection against prop fouling. The full, moulded keel also makes for a far stronger, total structure.

I do not notice the marginal difference in pointing ability (I am a cruiser, not a racer....(unless there is significant inducement ie: Rum and a BBQ)).

The main drawback I experience is in the marina. Manoevering a boat with a full keel as compared to a fin keel is the same difference as exists on the road, between a large truck and a sedan. It takes much more room, reaction to the helm is much slower, reversing can be positively hilarious (for the spectator) especially when you are trying to pull a reverse turn into a mild current, against propwalk ( #@%/**#!!) and finally, it costs a little more to antifoul.

Hope this is of some help


"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 04-20-2007, 03:49 AM   #3
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I think Auzze has actually summed it up 100%.......We've had a number of yachts over the years, mostly for racing, and all except one had a fin keel. The issues with manouvering a full keel in a tight situation probably provide enough negatives to stop me ever having one.

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Old 04-20-2007, 02:38 PM   #4
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I've got a Beneteau 440 Oceanis and it has a fin keel and exposed rudder. Yes it can be a bit twitchy as the wind picks up. Found I have to reduce sail to stop pointing to much into wind.

Also Auzzee's comment about steerage underway is reasonable. But most of us as he says are not racing. I tend to do a lot of day sailing and 3- 5 day trips round the island (Seychelles) so there is a reasonable amount time spend mooring etc and indeed congested when mooing. In that respect she performs very well indeed and is easy to maneuver. In fact my home port ( La Digue) only has about 100 meters width in which to moor and thats with an anchor and line run to shore. Given all the charter boats being around these days being able to squeeze in stern too in such crowed conditions is a necessity and I am sure having the fin keel is a benefit.

I am still planning the long haul so cannot add to that aspect as yet. So plenty more to discuss on this topic I am sure.
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Old 04-20-2007, 06:30 PM   #5
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I like the stability and since of security that my full keel gives me when winds hit 30+knts. I also enjoy the tankage.

It is a bear to manuver in tight quarters, however I have learned to utilize the prop walk to my advantage and can back into my slip without touching the dock.

Nonetheless, my next boat will probably have a fin keel.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:11 AM   #6
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I'd be interested in opinions about the protection a full keel offers. I was talking to a guy at our club. His boat has a full keel and he said that he didn't realize it at the time but the full keel offers great protection to the boat, especially if the leading edge angle is shallow.

He admitted that at night he once ran up on a reef at about 4kts. He said heard the scrape and the boat just rose up about a foot. Once he realized what he had done he was able to easily back down with the motor. He dove over the side and found only a nasty "scratch" on the keel.

He thinks a fin boat boat would have gotten off a lot worse. Especially one with a sharp angle.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:48 AM   #7
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There can be no doubt about the protection offerred by a full keel. Running up on a solid structure is just plain stupid...But unless we have never been sailing we have all done it *. But the protection involves the whole structure. A full keel is almost always moulded into the hull, not bolted on. The strength this gives the entire structure through the ends, the chain plates, the bilges, even the deck, is profound. The sections through the turn of the bilges are s-t-r-o-n-g. The boat sails stiffer, there is less racking (therefore a lower chance of future failure) and there is even less slapping noise when at anchor.

The propellor is enclosed and will not foul as easily, will not strike the bottom or become hung up on a moving object such as a log.....and the shaft is better protected as a result. As previously stated the drawbacks mainly concern low speed manoevering in a marina.

* In my case directly opposite the clubhouse/bar of the Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association. Of course, the drunks at the bar did not appreciate I had merely wanted to do a spot of careening.....so I turned off the VHF and got on with my work.

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Old 04-25-2007, 03:31 PM   #8
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David wrote: The sections through the turn of the bilges are s-t-r-o-n-g----

Just how strong we discovered when a previous owner of Sea Venture contacted us and related the story of a water spout off the coast of Central America. They were not aboard the boat at the time, but saw the spout pick up Sea Venture. They knew that was the end as she went twirling up into the air. (I wish I could have seen it. The image boggles the mind--was the anchor trailing, swirling? The chain broken? SV is 50' on deck and HEAVY!) To their surprise and great relief, the spout coughed Sea Venture out about a quarter of a mile from the anchorage and plopped her down next to another boat in a marina so that she sustained some bent stanchions and the loss of part of the stern caprail. The belly, keel, rudder, and all appendages were fine. They didn't divulge the condition of the other boat....

She's been many a mile since that time, and the only reminder of her trauma is a new partial caprail on the port side.


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