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post #1 of Old 02-28-2011 Thread Starter
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Newbie: Centerboard / Swing keel distinction

As a newbie to both sailing and this forum, I apologize if I am duplicating a thread here, but a brief search through the forums didn't answer my questions.

I am teaching myself to sail on a 1969 Newport 16, which displaces 800-900 lbs empty with a 4 ft 200-300 lb lead swing keel. (Finding the specifics for this particular year are difficult).

Most of the literature I have been reading suggests partially lifting the "centerboard" in many situations such as when sailing downwind, or to quickly relief excessive heel at the expense of leeway, but I am never sure if the term is meant to refer to a non-ballasted hydrofoil or a ballasted swing keel. In either case, It makes sense to retract it heading downwind, but what if you jibe(accidentally or otherwise)? I have read that the centerboard should be at no more than 1/3 of its full extent when jibing. That makes sense for a non-ballasted hydrofoil...I can imagine a boat yawing significantly when the boom snaps against the mainsheet to leeward, and the resulting angle of attack on the board might cause some extreme heeling. With a heavy swing keel though, retracting it also reduces your righting moment, and I am not sure which effect is more significant.

I am probably just overthinking these things. When I first got the boat, I just naively assumed the keel was only raised to trailer or motor over shallows. It just seems to me that "centerboard" is often used to mean two things, and I am not sure how much of that would be relevant to my boat.
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