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post #15 of Old 07-15-2010
Jeff_H's Avatar
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It's like I said in both posts, there are a whole lot of factors that determine the safety of a boat in in breaking waves. It is all about the individual boat as a whole and not any one specific trait. The generic keel type really isn't inherently close to being one of the most significant factors.

In all cases and all vessels, there are trade offs and compromises, factors and counter indicators. You need to look at the vessel as a whole. While there are clearly full keeled vessels which make great offshore cruising vessels, there are also full-keeled vessels which are dangerously under-ballasted and whose motions will wear out any crew. By the same token, the same can be said about fin keeled boats. The reality is in the specifics of the boat in question.

If you asked me, I would tell you that full keels are an anachronism. Full keels worked well in the days when the materials and methods of building boats limited the stability and sailing efficiency of the boat, and when small offshore cruising boats were closely based on working watercraft; but somewhat ignored the reality of a typical working watercraft's need to carry a whole lot of load in an inexpensively constructed vessel.

Today, our materials and methods of construction allow us to build boats which are more efficient and easier to handle, and which have tremendous stability relative to their drag. But this is not to say that all modern designs are inherently equally seaworthy or equally capable of providing a safe and comfortable offshore vessel. As I have said to you before, it is all dependent on the specifics of the boat in question.

With regards to the comment from my esteemed colleague Cormeum, I would agree that "forereaching at 5 knots isn't going to leave you in your "slick" for any length of time. (too bad there isn't multiquote here). If you're not behind the slick it'll do no good" but my own GPS observations have been that fin keel boats when hove-to make between a knot and a knot and a half of leeway and that only a small portion of that is forereaching with the slick leaving the boat at 120 to 135 degrees from dead ahead; in other words, approximately varying between 30 to 45 degrees abaft abeam. The angle is not all that different than I have experienced on my previously owned traditional full keel designs (like my folkboat or 1939 Stadel Cutter) but my sense is that the leeway speed is greater and so the slick is larger.

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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
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