Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Thanked 20 Times in 20 Posts
Rep Power: 10
My first boat was a swing keel (Helms 25) and I have mixed feelings. I loved the shallow draft and trailerability that the swing keel allowed. However, I didn't like the extra holes in the hull for the cable and pivot bolt. I also didn't care for the extra maintainence of the winch, cable, pivot bolt, centerboard/swing keel, etc.
Depending on the hull design, some swing-keelers won't point to windward nearly as well as a fin keeler. My boat was also (obviously) quite tender without the board down. However, when broad reaching or running you can bring the swing keel up and eliminate some wetted surface (drag) to gain a bit of speed.
Many swing keel boats also have kick-up rudders, which is something to be aware of.
I'm glad I experienced a swing keel design and had the chance to beach the boat, enjoy some gunkholes, etc. However, I probably won't ever own a swing keel boat again. I just prefer the stability of having a fixed keel.
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