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Old 09-07-2003
NJW3 NJW3 is offline
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Keel Lift

Hello out there.

I''m new to sailing and I''m confused. Maybe someone can give me a "dumbed-down" explanation of keel lift.

If I understand what I''ve read, when sailing on the wind the keel produces lift which offsets the heel of the boat caused by the leeward lift of the sails. The two opposing forces are what "squirt" the boat forward.

What I''m having trouble understanding is how a keel moving through the water, being symmetrically-shaped, would cause lower pressure against its leeward side. Since the front-to-back distance the water molecules must travel across both sides is equal, where does the lift come from?

I understand how the sail produces lift -- it''s wing-shaped and the lift comes from the lower pressure of the air having to move faster over the curved side (leeward). But I can''t grasp how the keel would do the same.

Thanks.

Jay Wardlaw
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