Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Wing Keel- pros and cons
Wing keels fair pretty poorly in a grounding. If heeled over you tend to bury the leeward wing and when aground the boat tries to stand up really planting that wing. If you run aground on the soft gumbo typical of the Carolina''s creek bottom while standing vertical, you develop a lot of suction making getting off very difficult and you don''t have all of the other options that you might have on a conventional keel.
In a recent study of alternative keel types performed by the US Naval Academy looking at the ease of freeing variuos keel types after a grounding, the issue of the more serious consequences of grounding a wing keel was found to be quite serious. Bulb keels did best, followed by simple fin keels. Wings did worst of all types tested.
If I were boat hunting in the Carolinas I would try to find a Scheel Keel, bulb keel, or keel/centerboard boat. (BTW When I lived in Savannah I owned a boat with 5''-6" draft and never ran into problems in Savannah or the area northward to Charleston or south to Brunswick.)