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post #23 of Old 07-22-2009
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Hi Jeff
Thanks for the information regarding comparing the Westerly’s, I would expect a fin keel to be slightly faster than a bilge keel due to the extra wetted surface (extra drag) and on a cruising boat that shouldn’t be much of an issue, I am sure that the Bluebird’s would have been faster if they were a fin keel configuration, I also agree because I had a conversation with Robin Riverdale about the fact that the modern bilge keel boats were a traditional boat with slight modification and two plates just stuck on, they didn’t necessarily have the angles and toe in as the boats Robin had produced.
I haven’t sailed in the more recent Bluebird’s they were more along the lines of the moody etc.
Its interesting what you said regarding the fact you couldn’t keep up with the fin keeled boat when in the bilge keeled boat, but could when the other way round, how much time/distance were you loosing/making??

It probably was a radical new design in the 1920’s and when Robin built the first one and he must of thought he could better with the design, that was why he built the successive ones. Another fact is that they still build bilge keelers (well they do in the UK) now however it’s quicker, less work and less expensive to build a fin keel as a bilge keel and at the bottom line this is what the customer wants. This is why they aren’t too popular in non tidal waters (well minimal rise and fall). I would not like to pay to have a hand built steel boat built now, it would be prohibitively expensive. If I took you out sailing and didn’t tell you the boat was a bilge keeler I doubt you would think the boat was slow…
Life would be very boring as Mitiempo says if we all stood by a standard fin keel, he brings up a few good points. Also having a boat with a bit of character, history makes for some of the fun, after all that’s why we sail……
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