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Old 08-07-2001
JeffH
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To Jeff H

Swings keels are a good compromise for shoal draft and trailer sailing. In the full down they are pretty efficient and a lead swing keel should provide reasonable stability. I have never heard of one being done in lead. Most that I know of are cast iron. (You might check yours with a magnet.)

There are some negatives. I don''t recommend them in really rough conditions. I have been out in the Atlantic at the mouth of the Wilmington River in a small Venture with a swing keel, when we were hit by some particularly big waves and rolled onto beams ends far enough that the swing keel slammed shut. It did damage to the boat and certainly didn''t do our nerves any good. Some boats the swing keel can be locked down but this is not always the case. Depending on the design of the pivot they can bang around quite a bit in sloppy conditions and when on the hook. On boats with cast iron swing keels the keel needs to be maintained to prevent rust. Inspecting the pivot area of the swing keel for deterioration should be routine maintenance; as should replacing the lifting cable.

Used properly swing keel boats offer a lot of options for explosing shallow corners of the world that their fixed keel bretheren can''t get to, but like so many aspects of sailing, this comes with some compromises.

Congratulations on your new boat.
Fair winds and great sailing,
Jeff
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