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post #6 of Old 03-01-2001
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Best type of keel

As far as centerboards go, it really depends on what your''re doing with the boat. I''ve had two centerboard boats (a Tartan 27 and a C&C 37, my current boat), and there are annoyances and advantages to them.

Both boats grew lots of critters in the centerboard shaft area. You can put paint on a brush or cloth on the end of a stick and put it up there, but it''s not easy, pleasant or neat to do. Nor does it guarantee a critter-free centerboard anyway. Taping a razor to a stick to scrape the beasties out is no fun either (you have to squint or wear goggles, to minimize the chance of them falling in your eyes while your bent under the boat in an awkward position, and they will fall in your mouth too unless you can do this without breathing or wear protection).

On my T-27, the pennant once pulled out from the centerboard when the Fiberglass rotted away. It wasn''t a huge problem for me that I couldn''t get the thing back up, but I did have to get the board pulled out and have a new pennant glassed in eventually the next time she got pulled out of the water. It''s just one more moving part to break.

On my newer boat, the C&C 37 K/CB, there are again plusses and minuses. My gripe now is completely self inflicted. Simply put, after getting a better performing boat than the T-27 I started club racing for the first time, and loved it. So, with 20/20 hindsight as I am trying to re-do the bottom this year I realize that the centerboard will be a constant source of annoyance to me. We''re going to have to put the boat on a TravelLift just so we can wet sand the fool thing, never mind keeping it clean and fair during the season. With the complete clarity of hindsight I know my next boat will have a fin keel.

I can not complain about the performance of either boat as a coastal cruiser & weekender, which is still the primary reason we bought both boats. The C&C is a solid performer and a pleasure to sail, even to windward. You can feel it go faster and point better when you drop the board.

If you''re coastal cruising and gunkholing a centerboard can be nice too, and you can''t complain about having an extra margin of safety in the shallows.

Just don''t get hooked on racing.
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