I have a swing keel (78 Chrysler 26) that I’ve owned since last year but have sailed on since 1994. I bought the boat from the previous owner who is a close friend of mine. He had owned the boat since 1981. The boat is a large trailerable pocket cruiser.
He has replaced the cable for the keel once. The present cable has a couple of frayed strands and I’m thinking of replacing it again this winter at haul-out. Not bad for 28 years.
This spring after I repaired the interior and rebedded the deck hardware and thru-hulls, I put the boat in the water to check for leaks, and found that the thru-hull for the keel cable was leaking. It was a pain to replace since I didn’t have a crane to lift the boat, ended up putting the trailer on jackstands and removing the axels to swing the keel to get to the thru-hull. It ended up being one of those plastic ones and had broken part of the head. I replaced it with a bronze and have had no problem this year.
I do lake sailing, so am not sure of the depth yet of the bottom in all areas of the lake (Lake Kerr). Even with a depth sounder I have grounded twice this year. (got to move that transducer to the front of the boat!) Just go down and crank up the keel and we were on our way.
The boat sails well, although it doesn’t point as well as some I’ve had. Some of that is rig tuning, some of it the lack of a traveler for the main.
This brand of boat has a slight history of the keel pin failing. Considering the number of these boats out there it’s not a major problem, just one to be aware of. I inspected it last winter and will make a habit of inspecting it every winter. Better safe then sorry. The pin has never been replaced on this boat and looks good.
From what I know the boat has a large displacement for its size, 5000 lbs. 1900 of that is the keel. This makes the boat very stable in heavy air and a slug in light air. The boat just gets its legs in 15 knots of wind and we don’t reef until 25 knots.
Most of my sailing experience was in Puget Sound where I have sailed C&Cs, SanJuans, J-boats, Columbias, Hunters, Chryslers and others. I favorably compare the stability, quality, and comfort of this boat against any of the others in the same size range. Not the fastest, not the most comfortable, not the highest quality, but up there in all categories that mater. But then again, I’m biased, it’s mine.