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Old 02-28-2011
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As I've always understood it, the reason for pulling up a centerboard (or swing keel, or daggerboard for that matter) when sailing off the wind is so as to reduce your wetted surface area and thus drag, with the result being that you go faster. You can get away with this off the wind because you don't have as much leeway to contend with, nor are you in need of righting moment.

I am not aware of any particular harm to come from leaving your board/keel down off the wind -- just more wetted surface area.

That said, I know of one swing-keel class (SJ21) where the class rules require that the keel be pinned in the down position when racing, even off the wind. I think the concern here is that if the boat does broach, besides the righting-moment issue, the momentum of the un-restrained swinging ballast could damage the trunk.
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