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Old 02-28-2011
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I'd first point out that a centerboard is usually an unballasted foil which is designed to allow the boat to resist leeway and point higher, where a swing keel is ballasted and designed to help the boat point higher but also to help keep it upright.

While you are learning, leave the swing keel down all the way. After you get some experience, you can start experimenting with raising it. Raising a swing keel or centerboard will also affect the boat's Center Of Lateral Resistance, and can change the amount of weather/lee helm the boat experiences. Retracting it completely can reduce wetted surface area and drag.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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