Join Date: May 2006
Location: FERNDALE, WA USA
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I would second Valiente's post. I cruised off shore on a fin keel boat, and spent many years racing them. One of the things I made sure I had on my next blue water boat, was a full keel. Do I want to sail it into my slip? No. Is it a joy to back up? No, unless you want to back to starboard. Would I buy a full keel boat as a boat for just day sailing in and out of a tight marina? No. However, in my experience, off shore
cruising is about moving in straight lines for a long time, and the less squirrelly your boat moves the better. What ever helps the self steering do the work for you makes the passage so much sweeter.
I love racing boats, I just don't want to go offshore in one without a really good crew, and even then the goal is to get off the water as fast as possible.
Full keel boats track wonderfully, and take much less effort, in my experience, from the helm. My whole philosophy, and I don't think there is only one right answer, is to be comfortable with as little stress to the boat and crew underway as possible. So for me, full keel, ketch rig, center cockpit, and pilothouse are all parts of the same puzzle. So spread the load and enjoy the trip.
And as Valiente also points out, tons of storage space.